US European Command Chaplain Office sponsored and conducted its 12th Annual NATO Chaplain Operation Course at the NATO School in Oberammergau from 15-19 June. This year’s class was the largest attended to date with 37 students from 14 nations, including NATO nations, Partners for Peace, and non-NATO nations including Ukraine, Australia and South Korea.
Since the initial course, over 400 Chaplains have recieved the training. One NATO Chaplain stated, “It was a wonderful week of learning about NATO interaction, chaplaincy issues, and especially learning from each other's National Chaplaincy practices and policies.”
The role of a Chaplain extends beyond that of just providing weekly religious services and spiritual care. Engagement with religious leaders, partnering with other nation chaplains and advisement to Commanders are essential skills for Chaplains. The NATO Chaplain Course focuses on educating NATO and Partner military chaplains and/or religious advisors on issues affecting their ability to perform cooperative ministry, religious support operations (RSO), and religious advisory duties in a multi-national or combined joint theater of operations. Course scope includes Joint & Bi-Lateral/Multi-Lateral Operations, Ethics, Just War Theory, Asymmetric Threats, and operational ministry skills enabling uniformed chaplain professionals and religious advisors to support the service members, commanders and the mission. The planning for the 2016 NATO Chaplain Course has already started with dates scheduled for May 2016.