Sidebar

The U.S. Military Index: Looking for Leaders

One of the cornerstones of modern democracies is that civilian, not military, leaders make the strategic decisions regarding both war and peace. But that doesn’t mean military commanders always agree with or have confidence in those decisions. When asked how much confidence they have in other U.S. government institutions and departments, the index’s officers report ...

One of the cornerstones of modern democracies is that civilian, not military, leaders make the strategic decisions regarding both war and peace. But that doesn’t mean military commanders always agree with or have confidence in those decisions.

When asked how much confidence they have in other U.S. government institutions and departments, the index’s officers report low levels of trust nearly across the board. For instance, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means the officers have a great deal of confidence in the department or institution and 1 means they have none, the officers put their level of confidence in the presidency at 5.5. Some 16 percent express no confidence at all in the president. The index’s officers gave the CIA an average confidence rating of 4.7 and the Department of State, 4.1. The Department of Veterans Affairs received a confidence rating of just 4.5 and the Department of Defense, 5.6. The officers say their level of confidence in the U.S. Congress is the lowest, at an average of just 2.7.

These negative perceptions of U.S. agencies and officials may stem in part from the fact that a majority of the officers polled for the index do not believe that the United States’ elected leaders are very well informed about the military they oversee. Sixty-six percent of the officers say they believe America’s elected leaders are either somewhat or very uninformed about the U.S. military.

How can the military’s perception of elected leaders be improved? In part, the officers say, by electing people who have served in uniform. Nearly 9 in 10 officers agree that, all other things being equal, the military will respect a president of the United States who has served in the military more than one who has not. The people we trust most are often the ones who remind us of ourselves.

Download the complete U.S. Military Index data:

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola