Department of Defense Policies on Religion

View the most current official DoD Directives and official DoD Instructions.


Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.17, Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services.
10 Februrary 2009 [Updated 22 January 2014]

Primary document guiding all military services in their interactions with religion.

Of note, from paragraph 4.b:

“Unless it could have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline, the Military Departments will accommodate individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs (conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs) of Service members in accordance with the policies and procedures in this instruction.”


Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 1304.19, Appointment of Chaplains for the Military Departments. (Government Site)
11 June 2004

Continues the educational and ecclesiastical requirements for appointing military
chaplains.

From Section 4:

It is DoD policy that the Chaplaincies of the Military Departments:

4.1. Are established to advise and assist commanders in the discharge of their
responsibilities to provide for the free exercise of religion in the context of military service as guaranteed by the Constitution, to assist commanders in managing Religious Affairs, and to serve as the principal advisors to commanders for all issues regarding the impact of religion on military operations…


Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 5100.73, Major DoD Headquarters Activities. (Government Site)
01 December 2007 [Updated 12 June 2012]
Identifies major DoD activities.

Paragraph E3.2.26 defines a “DoD wide functional area:”

Religious Affairs. Management of religious affairs, counseling, and related moral welfare activities.”


Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 5500.7-R, The Joint Ethics Regulation. (Government Site)
Change 7, 17 November 2011

Governing document guiding ethics in the Defense Department.

Includes discussion on endorsement, fundraising, preferential treatment, airline upgrades, receiving money from outside agencies, political activity, and other sometimes controversial topics.


Joint Publication (JP) 1-05, Religious Affairs in Joint Operations.
20 November 2013

Sets doctrine and guidance for US Armed Forces regarding joint force religious support

“US military chaplains represent specific religious organizations and work together within the pluralistic context of the military to ensure freedom of religion within the joint force…

Military commanders are responsible to provide for the free exercise of religion of those under their authority as directed by Joint Publication (JP) 1, Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States.”


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