Competencies of the Military Chaplain

The applicant for military specialty certification shall demonstrate mastery of 28 professional competencies, both experientially in the applicant’s practice and in the knowledgeable application of the military’s regulations, requirements and expectations. The demonstration of competencies should reflect the advanced and specialized work required for military care, beyond the skills and knowledge of the Board Certified Chaplain. Some of the competencies are unique to military care; others may appear in the certification process for BCC, but it is expected that the applicant for BCC-MC will demonstrate the advanced practice of these competencies, beyond the level of the BCC. The committee will be looking for advanced practice and the special understandings, sensitivities, supervisory behaviors, and unique concerns of the supervising military chaplain. 

Note: These competencies should be addressed in a holistic, integrated manner in the major essay. They should not be addressed individually. See the Application Guidelines for guidance on this and all other requirements.

Section I: Integration of Theory and Practice Competencies

The candidate for certification will demonstrate the ability to:

MCITP1: articulate a history of the military chaplaincy.

MCITP2: be aware of the history and mission of the chaplain’s particular military component and branch as well as the place and mission of chaplaincy within that service’s institution.

MCITP3: be conversant with Joint-Service policies concerning religious support and expectations of chaplains in a joint environment.

MCITP4: demonstrate a working knowledge of the chaplain’s role as advisor to command on issues related to moral, ethical, diversity, confidentiality, religious/spiritual issues and/or on individual and unit morale taking into consideration one’s advice as it may relate to a working knowledge of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

MCITP5: integrate learning from the chaplain’s appropriate level of Professional Military Education and Chaplain School Training into a personal theory of chaplain leadership.

MCITP6: be knowledgeable about, and able to articulate, the importance of confidentiality and privileged communication by chaplains in a military environment.

MCITP7: demonstrate the integration of theories from the behavioral sciences, the chaplain’s faith tradition, and appropriate military traditions and expectations with the chaplain’s theory of supervisory practice.

MCITP8: incorporate a working knowledge of the unique aspects of group process and organizational behavior within a military environment.

Section II: Professional Identity and Conduct Competencies

The candidate for certification will demonstrate the ability to:

MCPIC1: use one’s chaplain authority, supervisory authority, and military rank in differing situations while maintaining the necessary tension between one’s chaplain and officer roles.

MCPIC2: incorporate an awareness of, and respect for, pastoral and personal boundaries with others: command staff, subordinates, military and family members.

MCPIC3: distinguish between what religious/spiritual support the chaplain’s subordinates might be able to personally provide and what to do about religious/spiritual needs that the staff cannot personally provide for others. (This may be demonstrated with a current, past or hypothetical staff)

MCPIC4: function as a mentor for subordinates professionally and personally with sensitivity to their personal and professional developmental stage.

MCPIC5: function as advisor to command on moral, ethical, and religious accommodation issues within the military unit in which they serve.

MCPIC6: model the ability to cooperate with diverse populations, especially but not limited to a diversity of culture, race and faith positions, without compromising one’s own beliefs and traditions.

Section III: Professional Practice Skills Competencies

The candidate for certification will demonstrate the ability to:

MCPPS1: provide effective administration and leadership of a chapel section/department. MCPPS2: effectively supervise staff and volunteers.

MCPPS3: provide coordination and oversight of chaplaincy care during mass-casualty, real-world or exercise situations.

MCPPS4: articulate an understanding and methods of assessing spiritual and moral implications of policies and actions on military personnel, populations within the chaplain’s sphere of influence, and larger communities; frame and present such assessments to other professionals, command staffs, and senior commanders.

MCPPS5: articulate an engagement plan of ethical & moral challenges that might arise within the military environment while maintaining one’s personal integrity, beliefs, values and the mission of the military.

MCPPS6: demonstrate a working knowledge regarding when to seek professional consultation, when to refer to others and when to recuse oneself.

MCPPS7: articulate the unique professional role as a chaplaincy care leader to command staff, in deployed situations and international arenas.

MCPPS8: develop and implement a sabbatical plan for subordinates.

MCPPS9: mentor subordinates’ professional training, development and professional credentialing.

Section IV: Organizational Leadership Competencies

The candidate for certification will demonstrate the ability to:

MCOL1: demonstrate organizational and family systems theories incorporated into the practice of supervision of subordinates and the administration of a chapel section/department.

MCOL2: demonstrate the ability to work as a team member in liaison with command and other military units, specialties and personnel.

MCOL3: demonstrate the ability to interact effectively with community government and faith group leaders in humanitarian, charity, and/or religious/spiritual events that involve both military and community members.

MCOL4: apply culturally appropriate, evidence-informed strategies and practices for communicating and interacting with community faith leaders for the purpose of supporting the spiritual and practical needs of military/family members.

MCOL5: integrate chaplaincy care into the military environment through appropriate measures, such as policies & procedures, special projects, use of evidence-informed chaplaincy care, and education of others concerning the role and utilization of a chaplain.

MCOL6: describe the role of the chaplain in a quality improvement project(s) within the chapel section and/or military community and its impact on the military environment.

MCOL7: demonstrate situational awareness concerning the level of severity of incidents within the chaplain’s sphere of influence; determine what and who needs to be informed and what communication means is appropriate with respect to tactical, operational, and strategic level impact.