Editor’s Note: The relationship between soldiers and civilians is a fundamental question for any democracy. In the United States, the military has long been respected, but only recently has it been idolized—far more so than any other American institution today. Not surprisingly, politicians increasingly bring military officers into their administrations. Raphael Cohen of RAND finds that the civil-military gap is growing, in large part due to the shift toward an all-volunteer force and the decline in the percentage of Americans with military experience.
Raphael S. Cohen is a senior political scientist and the director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program, Project AIR FORCE at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
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Editor’s Note: The U.S. Army and the military as a whole seem to have fallen on hard times: polls, studies, and tragedies like suicides and drug abuse all suggest an institution in crisis. Raphael Cohen of RAND questions this picture, pointing out that while the military has real problems, some are exaggerated and a few are even improving. Rather than focusing on benefits or other issues, Cohen argues the morale problems stem in part from concerns over the military’s accomplishments.