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The Military Chaplaincy as a Discussion and Cooperation Partner in Personality Development Training for Military Personnel

By Dirck Ackermann

Dirk Ackermann begins his article with a resume of the development of Innere Führung as a concept that embeds the Bundeswehr in democratic society. “In critical solidarity”, the Protestant Church influenced the rebuilding of the armed forces and their guiding values, while the military chaplaincy – as an independent institution – was responsible for teaching Lebenskundlicher Unterricht (LKU). From the outset, LKU was designed to be a more comprehensive “imparting [of] social orientational knowledge”. According to the author, in the wake of discussions at the start of the 21st century about a further development of ethical education and how LKU should fit into this context, the focus shifted back onto “a comprehensive ethical reflection on the professional and life situation” of military personnel, the significance of a hierarchy-free space, and the importance of the independent military chaplaincy. The special features of LKU make it an indispensable complement to Innere Führung, an essential contribution to personality development and the development of conscience, and therefore an educational format that goes beyond aspects of professional ethics. Now, in the context of devising an independent Joint Service Regulation for ethical education, these features are being re-examined in the German Ministry of Defense. Ackerman points out that although the described special nature and relevance of LKU are still recognized, they should also be given due attention. LKU should not compete with other ethical education formats; instead, these should draw on an already proven concept and the valuable practical experience of the military chaplaincy as a cooperation partner in the area of Innere Führung.

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