As the U.S. Special Operations community is battered by scandal after scandal of misconduct and unprofessionalism, its leadership has been brainstorming solutions to this quandary. The Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), from which rank’s most of the scandals have come, has already initiated a back-the-basics directive to be adhered by its subordinate Navy SEAL Teams.
The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), however, is looking for additional, more structural in nature solutions that would ensure the long-term health of the force. And one of the potential solutions is quite simple but could go a long way in ameliorating the situation and improving morale within the ranks of America’s tip of the spear.
According to a Special Notice published on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the venue which the federal government uses to post contract opportunities, SOCOM “intends to negotiate and award a sole source, firm fixed price contract with Merit Leadership, Inc. The purpose of this award is to provide a Special Operations Forces (SOF) Ethics Field Guide (EFG). The EFG will contain content previously published and owned by the intended awardee.” SOCOM’s intent is to issue the specially written EFG to its Chaplains.
Merit Leadership is the publisher of “The Business Ethics Guide,” a companion for effective leadership when an organization is faced with a conflict between individual and organizational values.
NEWSREP reached out to SOCOM about the initiative. According to Navy Lieutenant Phillip Chitty, the Special Notice was made “in order to purchase intellectual property (IP) rights for an existing business ethics guide. This was the first of a series of steps in the acquisition process. Purchasing the IP rights will allow the USSOCOM Chaplain’s Office to legally use the material in the business ethics guide to write a version tailored to the needs of Special Operations Chaplains.”
The Geneva Conventions provide special status to Chaplains, to include among other benefits neutrality and immunity from becoming a prisoner of war in case they are captured.
According to Article 2 (1864 version) and Article 9 (1906 version) of the Geneva Conventions, “Chaplains, shall have the benefit of the same neutrality [as military medical personnel] when on duty, and while there remain any wounded to be brought in or assisted. [Additionally], the chaplains attached to armies shall be respected and protected under all circumstances. If they fall into the hands of the enemy, they shall not be considered as prisoners of war.”
As of now, there isn’t a set date for the publication of the SOF Chaplain EFG. SOCOM, however, has been working on the project for approximately a year.