Military Recruitment

[Patrick Appel]

This survey of officers' feelings on how to improve recruitment has some staggering data. Here's Matt's breakdown:

Only 22 percent of 3,400 officers holding the rank of major or lieutenant commander and above support the idea of allowing openly gay or lesbian Americans to serve in the military as a means of boosting recruitment. Fifty-eight percent support lowering education standard, 78 percent supporting offering citizenship to foreigners willing to serve (this sounds like a terrible fall of the Roman Empire idea to me), 38 percent support a draft. This suggests that even if shifts in public opinion have taken some of the sting out of the gays in the military question as an issue of electoral politics, a President Obama or a President Clinton would still face significant resistance from within the armed forces to implementing a changed policy.

One of Kevin Drum's commenters makes this counterpoint (a good one, I think):

Allowing gays and lesbians to serve has many points to recommend it, but depending on the wording of the question, increasing recruitment may not be among them. You could be all for gays and lesbians in the military and think it wouldn't help recruitment because 1) it's a marginal population, and 2) it may simultaneously depress recruitment elsewhere.

I'd just be leery to jumping to the conclusion that the officers are bigoted on the basis of this response.