5–6. Accommodating religious practices
a. The Army places a high value on the rights of its soldiers to observe tenets of their respective religious faiths. The Army will approve requests for accommodation of religious practices unless accommodation will have an adverse impact on unit readiness, individual readiness, unit cohesion, morale, discipline, safety, and/or health. As used in this regulation, these factors shall be referred to individually and collectively as “ military necessity” unless otherwise stated. Accommodation of a soldier’s religious practices must be examined against military necessity and cannot be guaranteed at all times.
b. The DCS, G-1 will establish policy on the accommodation of religious practices within the U.S. Army.
c. The following will ensure that every enlisted (to include reenlistment), warrant, cadet, and commissioned officer applicant is informed of the Army’s religious accommodation policy as set forth in this regulation and, furthermore, that applicants acknowledge in writing that they have been so informed:
(1) Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command (for initial enlisted and AMEDD officer accessions).
(2) Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) (for all Reserve Officer Training
Corps cadets, warrant officer candidates, and officer candidates).
(3) The Judge Advocate General (for all judge advocate officer accessions).
(4) The Chief of Chaplains (for all chaplain officer accessions).
(5) Superintendent, United States Military Academy (USMA)(for all USMA cadet applicants).
d. The Chief of Chaplains will serve as advisor to the DCS, G-1 on matters pertaining to religious accommodation and formulate and disseminate education and training programs regarding religious traditions and practices within the U.S. Army.
e. The Commanding General, TRADOC, will ensure that training on the provisions of this chapter is provided for commanders, chaplains, and judge advocates.
f. Unit commanders will approve/disapprove requests for accommodation of religious practices. If a commander determines partial or complete denial is appropriate, he/she shall prepare a memorandum specifying the basis for denial and provide a copy of the memorandum to the soldier. Commanders who rescind a previously approved religious accommodation shall prepare a memorandum specifying the basis for rescission and provide a copy of the memorandum to the soldier. Denial or rescission must be based upon one or more of the criteria discussed in 5-6a.
(1) Requests for religious accommodation generally fall into five major areas:
(a) Worship practices.
(b) Dietary practices.
(c) Medical practices.
(d) Wear and appearance of the uniform.
(e) Personal grooming.
(2) Requests for accommodation which are religiously based, but do not fall into one of these areas, will be handled IAW paragraph 5-6h of this regulation.
(a) Worship Practices. Some religious groups have worship requirements which conflict with the soldier’s normal availability for duty; for example worship on days other than Saturday or Sunday, a 25-hour Sabbath, or special holy days or periods. These will be accommodated except when precluded by military necessity. If the time required for religious worship falls within normal duty hours or duty rosters, the soldier may request exception from those hours and rosters. The soldier, however, must be prepared to perform alternative duty or duty hours. Commanders may grant ordinary leave as an option to soldiers who desire to observe lengthy holy periods or days.
(b) Dietary Practices. Some faith groups have religious tenets which prohibit the eating of specific foods, or prescribe a certain manner in which food must be prepared. A soldier with a conflict between the diet provided by the Army and that required by religious practice may request an exception to policy to ration separately. Religious belief is grounds for granting such an exception. The soldier may also request permission to take personal supplemental rations when in a field or combat environment.
(c) Medical Practices.