The Hoover Institution Press today released Warriors and Citizens, an extensive analysis of the most comprehensive survey of American public attitudes about military issues since 1998. With less than one half of one percent of the American public currently serving in our military, coupled with the high pace of deployments for our fighting forces, this thought-provoking book helps readers understand the cumulative effect of having a military at war when the great majority of American society is largely unaffected.
“Public support for the military continues to be high, yet the public’s knowledge of military issues is extremely low forty years into having an all-volunteer force,” said Hoover research fellow and coeditor Kori Schake. “America’s civil-military relationship is fundamentally healthy. But every author in this book worried about the effects of that disconnect: on the sustainability of policies, policy makers’ ability to craft strategy or suspicion of military advice, the public’s tolerance for military policies that differ from civilian society.”
The analysis uncovers how public attitudes are less a constraint on making strategy than civilian leaders believe and how, by failing to engage the public on strategy, civilian leaders may be creating the public disapproval that they argue is determining their policy choice. The contributors offer a variety of recommendations to shore up important elements of American civil-military relations, including attention to politicization of the military by politicians’ and veterans’ groups. The editors caution against policy changes that reduce the war-fighting ability of our military.
“With national security priorities constantly evolving, complacency about military requirements could lead to terrible outcomes for our country,” said coeditor and Hoover distinguished visiting fellow, General James Mattis (retired). “Our recommendations for remediation of this gap between civilian and military attitudes fall mostly on civilians and elected leaders. All of them seek to fortify the traditionally strong bonds between the American military and the broader public.”
Warriors and Citizens ultimately seeks to foster a familiarity that will ensure that our military organizations are braided tightly to our broader society, thus keeping alive America’s experiment in democracy.
Contributors: Rosa Brooks, Matthew Colford, Thomas Donnelly, Peter Feaver, Jim Golby, Jim Hake, Tod Lindberg, Jim Mattis, Mackubin Thomas Owens, Cody Poplin, Nadia Schadlow, Kori Schake, A. J. Sugarman, Lindsay Cohn Warrior, Benjamin Wittes
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About the Hoover Institution: The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is a public policy research center devoted to the advanced study of economics, politics, history, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. With its eminent scholars and world-renowned Library & Archives, the Hoover Institution seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity and secure and safeguard peace for America and all mankind.