America's views on US military

Most Americans welcome the increased number of women in the armed services and say they think women should have access to more jobs - such as jet fighter pilots and missile gunners - that now are closed to them, according to a survey by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

The survey results also showed that most Americans found the ratio of blacks in the armed forces (about 22 percent) and in the Army (33 percent) ''about right.'' Most, and particularly blacks, also argued that Hispanic representation in the military should be increased.

''The military is probably the most thoroughly desegregated institution in the United States,'' says James Davis, senior author of the report and chairman of the Harvard University Sociology Department. ''On the one hand, there is pride that it is a bellwether, but there is also enormous concern in some Washington circles that the ethnic mix could one day lead to an all-black military. . . . This survey suggests the American people might not be unhappy about what disproportion there is and would be satisfied to go further before it stops,'' he says.

Most Americans say they think the all-volunteer system is working well or fairly well. They strongly oppose a return to the draft except in a national emergency. If there were a draft, however, most Americans say women should be included. One-third, especially working women as opposed to men and housewives, favor hand-to-hand combat duties for women.

Although the American military establishment has taken a verbal battering from its critics over the years, the military as an institution ranks a high fifth in the NORC survey - well ahead of the Supreme Court and most other Washington fixtures.

''With the exception of Vietnam, there has hardly been a historical situation where the military has come off badly in popular thinking,'' Professor Davis notes. ''This survey suggests no evidence that Americans have become cynical.''

NORC's annual public opinion survey for the first time included questions on the military. Those data have just been analyzed with the help of special Ford Foundation funding.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK