Americans less tied to military

Nov. 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A survey indicates fewer U.S. citizens are serving in the armed forces, resulting in younger Americans losing a family connection to the military.

Throughout the past decade, 0.5 percent of the U.S. population has been on active military, the survey indicated, compared to the 9 percent of Americans who served during World War II, The New York Times reported.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found as a result, the military is far less connected to the rest of society, particularly younger Americans.

About three-quarters of Americans at least 50 years of age have an immediate family member who served in the military, whereas only a third of Americans 18 to 29 have a family member who have been on active duty.

Some experts have warned that fewer connections between the military and the rest of the nation could lead to less-informed decisions about whether to go to war because the people who fight them are not in people's everyday lives.

"What we have is an armed services that's at war and a public that's not very engaged," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. "Typically when our nation is at war, it's a front-burner issue for the public. But with these post- 9/11 wars, which are now past the 10-year mark, the public has been paying less and less attention."

Pew's findings were drawn from two telephone surveys, conducted Sept. 1-15 and another July 28-Sept 4. A total of 3,642 people were surveyed.

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