January 22, 2014
The Defense Department today released a new instruction that details its updated policy on making religious accommodations requested by service members, Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan J. Christensen said today.
A DOD instruction implements a policy or prescribes the manner or plan of action used to carry out a policy, operate a program or activity, and assign responsibilities.
“The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members,” Christensen said, “unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline.”
When a service member requests such an accommodation, he added, department officials balance the need of the service member against the need to accomplish the military mission. Such a request is denied only if an official determines that mission accomplishment needs outweigh the need of the service member, Christensen said.
Requests to accommodate religious practices will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the spokesman noted.
Updated DOD Instruction Regarding Religious Accommodation: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/130017p.pdf