WAR AND VOLUNTARY MILITARY SERVICE: EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OPINION REGARDING WAR AND REGULAR ARMY ENLISTMENT AND RETENTION, 2000-2007.
Abstract: This dissertation addresses the lack of interdisciplinary research
and understanding about how opinions regarding war related to service in the United
States' all-volunteer Regular Army during the Afghan and Iraq Wars' early and middle
years. Why study the relationship between opinions regarding war and military service?
Although a concern at least since the end of conscription in 19... read more73, even the most recent
public opinion studies only consider the electoral or political implications of mass
opinion regarding war. Some research considers the effects of veteran service or wartime
casualties on public opinion, but none studies the relationship between opinions regarding
war and military service. Similarly, the most recent civil-military relations research
considers differences between military and civilian beliefs and demographics, but none
consider the relationship between different beliefs and the population of Regular Army
recruits and reenlisting soldiers. This dissertation addresses these significant
shortcomings in existing research. This study draws from prior research on wartime public
opinion, person-organization fit, and sociopolitical representation in the armed forces.
It includes original empirical analyses of three significant datasets: public opinion
regarding war between 2001 and 2008, Regular Army recruitment between January 2000 and
September 2007, and Regular Army retention between July 2003 and September 2007. The
recruitment and retention sample population is practically the entire population of
Regular Army recruits (over 500,000) and reenlisting soldiers (over 100,000). This study
proposes and tests a model of the relationship between public opinion regarding war and
Army service as measured by Army recruitment and retention rates. The literature review
and empirical analysis of three datasets builds and tests the model. Person-organization
fit theory argues that belief differences between people and organizations explain and
predict whether people pursue work with an organization and whether they choose to remain
in the organization. Except for the wealthiest counties, the US counties with more people
who expressed favorable opinions regarding the Iraq and Afghan Wars also provided the most
Regular Army recruits and reenlisting soldiers. The opposite was also true. This study
found that opinion differences regarding war should and do predict different Army
recruitment and retention rates. This study found a large and significant difference
between communities who produced the most and least recruits and reenlisting soldiers, an
indication of considerable social distance between much of the nation and its
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Diplomacy, History, and Politics.
Advisor: William Martel.
Committee: Robert Pfaltzgraff, and Suzanne Nielsen.
Keywords: Military studies, Political Science, and Sociology.read less