Statement of Problem 

Literature Review 

Rationale and  
Research Questions 




     This study's objective is to establish a better understanding of the military's presence in local communities, therefore creating an atmosphere of greater acceptance of the military in the same communities.
Study number one:  
    The initial study is a pre-test, post-test treatment with a random sampling of 25 % of community members living within a 10-mile radius of a military installation.  Surveys will be mailed to 25 % of available households within the 10-mile radius of the installation.  The actual number of surveys mailed will depend on the size of the community surrounding the installation.  Our desired return rate is 10 % of the actual number mailed out, or 2.5 % of the community.  Surveys will consist of 35 questions (see Appendix A).  The questions will focus on noise levels experienced at homes/businesses, how much of a disturbance the noise is, if the noise has caused damage or physical harm, and if the reason for the noise is understood.  Additional questions will concern perceptions of the base, its purpose, personal connections to the base or the military, and perceived community impact of the base.
Study number two:
     This study will be a post-test only.  It will also include a random sampling of 25 % of the community members living within a 10-mile radius of the installation, with a desired 10 % return rate.   Selection will be made to insure there is no overlap of the previous 25 % sampled in the first study group.  Once this group is selected, since it will be different than the first, in actuality 50 % of the local community will have been surveyed.  It will consist of the same 35 questions given to study group number one. 
Study number one:
    This group will be a cross-section of the community, and will be randomly chosen to participate in the initial survey, with a duplicate follow up 8-12 months later.      During the 8-12 month period, participants will be invited to town hall meetings and installation tours.  Though we will not be able to control media coverage, we will be working through the local media to get our messages disseminated, and it is anticipated survey participants will see these messages.  Surveys will be distributed through the mail.  Surveys will be sent to homes/businesses and will include a self-addressed stamped return envelope.       Surveys will not be anonymous due to the necessity of a follow-up survey with the same participants.  This is to accurately measure attitudinal changes due to manipulations.  The dependent variables in the study: 1) perceptions, and 2) acceptance of the military, will be measured in a t test comparison of the pre- and post-test survey results.  Prior to the first survey, ads will be placed in local papers telling people to be aware of the questionnaires arriving in the mail, their importance, and requests for quick responses.  Surveys will request a two-week turnaround.  Follow-up letters to non-respondents will be necessary, and will be mailed twice to encourage participation.  The second survey will also include ad notices in papers, and self-addressed envelopes for return.
     The survey consists of 28 Likert-type scale questions and 7 demographic questions designed to give installation officials an understanding of how noise from the installation impacts the local community, and how the overall military perception within their local community.  This survey will be used in the pre-test, post-test treatment and the post-test only.
     The independent variables of this study are town hall meetings, installation tours, and an increase in media ads and stories portraying the military members as part of the local community.  Participants who responded to study one will be invited to the town hall meetings, and installation tours.  To prevent suspicion from the community, there will be a necessary latency period, approximately four months, between the first survey, and the invitations to the town hall meetings and the installation tour.  The town hall meetings will be held in the installtion theater with the installation commander serving as the primary spokesperson.  Also included will be a panel of subject matter experts, (local mayor, local Chamber of Commerce representative, installation representatives from environmental, operations, support, logistics, safety, and medical).  As attendees enter and exit the theater they will be able to view table-top exhibits, and displays concerning the installation and its flight paths, training and firing ranges, environmental compliance programs, and community involvement.  During the actual meeting, attendees will be given the opportunity to voice concerns about the installation and its operations.  Local media will be invited to cover the event with dedicated time after the meeting for interviews with the commander.  
     Participants will also be invited to installation tours.  These tours will begin at the Officer’s Club with a greeting by the installation commander, and a video presentation on the installation’s mission.  After the mission briefing, attendees will be used to the installation’s operations hub for service-specific briefings.  Attendees will be given the opportunity during the tours to ask questions, and at the end of tour, folders with installation and service fact sheets, as well as call back number for follow-up questions will be provided.  
     In both instances, the tours and town hall meetings, every attempt will be made to assure exact duplication from meeting to meeting and tour to tour.  Tours and meetings will be conducted in exactly the same fashion each time, to include location, itinerary, officiators, and group size.
     Local media will be invited to a media day for an inside look at how the installation operates.  Upon arrival at the installation, the commander will meet with the media, and present a mission brief similar to the one presented to the general public followed by a question-and-answer session.  In doing so, we will discuss in a non-attribution forum topics of significant interest to the military and the media, such as, training, education, retention, economic impact, community involvement, and recruiting.  This media day effort is designed to give reporters a greater understanding of the military, and its people so that future stories will be more accurate.  Media members will also be teamed up with perspective military members from highly visible career fields to give the media members “a day in the life” of a service member.  
The data received can help installation commanders, public affairs representatives and local city officials understand how the installation is perceived within the community.  This information can then be used to set up town hall meetings, change training hours if needed, begin a public awareness campaign, establish new flight paths, or, in an optimum situation, not change anything.
Projected Results
     This study will use the independent variables of town hall meetings, installation tours, and increased media emphasis, which will conceptualize the idea of the military installation as a vital part of the local community.  
     The 35-question survey will be used in a pre-test, post-test treatment design for study one and a post-test only design for study two.  Information obtained from the pre-test through analysis of mean, mode, and range will be coded to determine the local communities perceptions of: the military, the installation, and the military member’s role in the local community.  
     Specifically, results from questions 29-32 will be combined in a sub-scale, to attain a composite “acceptance of military installation” score, and will be used as a dependent variable for the post-test.  Changes in perceptions will be noted in the quantitative results, noting if the overall perception changed either positively or negatively after the manipulations.  
     Another sub-scale, calculated from questions 25-28, 34, and 35, will assess overall perceptions of the military as opposed to specific attitudes about the local installation.  These questions will determine not only if the local community is aware of the installation, and the level of noise, but if they understand why the military is there, if they perceive the military to be an important part of the community, and why noise is inherent to their business.
     Questions 1-7, which are not Likert-type scales, will be used to assess demographics of the local community.  Though question 5 is not a Likert-type, it will be correlated with question 35.  Together they will also determine if the local community is aware of the installation’s economic impact to the local community.
     Other sub-scales will be noise specific questions, such as 11-16, 20-24, some will deal with noise effects, such as 17-19, and other will deal with satisfaction of home location in relation to the military installation, such as 8-10.  Though some of these results, like the demographic specific answers, are not expected to change from pre-test to post-test, acceptance is projected to increase after the manipulations, therefore changing the perceptions and acceptance of the military installation.
     To determine if the manipulations were successful, comparisons of the pre-test, post-test results, and the post-test only results of study two will be measured and compared to results from study one. 
     Projected results are hypothesized to show that once the local community is brought within the gates of the local installation and the “us and them” factor is reduced, their awareness, perceptions, and then acceptance of the military installation as a part of the community will change in a positive fashion.