Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

War and voluntary military service: Exploring the relationship between opinion regarding war and Regular Army enlistment and retention, 2000-2007
by Schnack, Troy A., Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), 2012, 239; 3539938
Abstract (Summary)

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 1973, 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 Army.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Martel, William
Commitee: Nielsen, Suzanne, Pfaltzgraff, Robert L.
School: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)
Department: Diplomacy, History, and Politics
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Political science, Social structure, Military studies
Keywords: Civil-military relations, Enlistment, Military enlistment, Military recruitment, Military retention, Person-organization fit, Public opinion, Retention, United States Army, War
Publication Number: 3539938
ISBN: 9781267644756
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