Review of Literature

     Many studies have been conducted on the perceptions of the U.S. military.  It is apparent that this research has been accomplished in hopes of discovering a solution to the drastic decline in recruiting. It has been said that recruiting and retention has been a problem within the military since the draw down of the “Cold War” (Collins, 1998). This year the Army will need 74,500 new soldiers; the Navy will need 53,234; the Air Force 33,800; and the Marines 35,000 (Galloway, Strobel, & Tharp, 1999).  
In 1997, the Army increased bonuses and lowered expectations to achieve their recruiting goals (Collins, 1998). This year the Army will miss its goal  by 6,000 to 10,000 recruits (Moniz, 1999). Recruiting shortfalls are felt in officer  
commissioning programs through the termination of programs. College Reserve Officer Training Programs (ROTC), one of four ways of receiving a commission as an officer, have dropped almost two-thirds of their programs across the nation (Moniz, 1995). If recruiting goals are not met, the services may have to lower their entrance standards even further, an option feared by senior officers who lived through the crime and drug ridden post-Vietnam military (Moniz, 1999). 
      In 1998, the Navy’s shortfall of recruits totaled 7,000 (Moniz, 1999). Army Secretary Louis Caldera suggested hiring 2,000 high school dropouts who have GED certificates as a test program in an attempt to reduce the Army’s recruiting woes. However, Congressmen did not approve of this possible solution to reduce recruiting deficits. Senator John McCain of Arizona and Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania consider the plan a mistake, mainly due to the advancements in technology, but also because it sends the wrong message to young Americans that they can, “quit school and the Army will pick you up” (Galloway, Strobel, & Tharp, 1999, p. 14). To help combat the possibility of recruiting high school dropouts, the services are paying millions of dollars in advertising campaigns and beefing up its recruiting offices. The Air Force is buying $17 million worth of television ads this year and $37 million for the year 2000. All services are adding recruiters and in the Navy’s case, more than 1,000 recruiters have been assigned to man 200 reopened stations (Galloway, Strobel, & Tharp, 1999). 
Collins (1998) talks about how the military is faced with dangerous decisions.  America is faced with a military that may evolve too far and become “civilianized” and less ready for combat. Since 1989, we have reduced our active all-volunteer forces by 700,000 people, about one-third of the active force… In terms of combat structure, the Navy went from 566 ships to 354, a reduction of 38%…The Air Force went from 36 to 20 fighter wings, a reduction of 45%…These facts all support one conclusion: the force structure today is being worked to its capacity, especially when we consider the requirements for training that precede or come after lengthy operations or engagement activities (Shalikashvili, 1996). 

Current Perceptions 
Collins (1998) talks about a military which is so isolated that the service members lose the values of society. Moniz (1995) claims that the American public is not interested in the military. Many Americans question the reasoning behind the numerous deployments and wonder what vital interests the United States has in these deployments (Moniz, 1995). 
With the Bush administration’s change of focusing from “deter and fight” to one of shaping the environment to prevent wars, the U.S has seen more than 40 military operations from 1993-1997 (Collins, 1998). This is a pace of three to four times that of the Cold War (Collins, 1998). The average soldier spends 140-180 days a year deployed from home and in 1996 American soldiers served in 100 countries, the largest number in history (Gergen, 1997). 
With this significant increase in operational tempo, a force reduction of 36% was introduced and passed in 1994 (Collins, 1998).  Collins (1998) continues to talk about the “all-volunteer, mostly family-oriented force - whose  
pay never seems able to keep up with civilian wage scales - is feeling pressure from a civilian-military value gap” (p. 215-216). 
     Growing concern for the services perception of what the public considers fundamental values has prompted a reshuffling of what the military holds as its beliefs. The Army’s core values are “Duty, Honor, Country” (Collins, 1998, p. 217).  The Navy’s has been “Honor, Courage, and Commitment” (Collins, 1998, p. 217).  A study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies lists new values for the 21st Century military.  The list, which includes “self-sacrifice, discipline, obedience to legitimate authority, physical and moral courage, a merit-based rewards system, loyalty to and respect for comrades, unit and nation” (Collins, 1998, p. 217) shows that the military is trying to limit the cultural gap. This is very difficult to accomplish when 76% of American men between 70 and 74 are veterans, but less than 10% of men younger than age 30 have ever served (Moniz, 1995).  
Although Collins (1998) talks about how the military is attempting to narrow a gap with U.S. society, he addressed the issue that the American military  
is “overworked, underpaid, and over there” (p. 219). Collins (1998) continues to say that for many Americans, our military responses to international issues have been unsettling and unethical. The new focus on peace operations rather than combat operations has surfaced clashing values within Americans. This idea of  “what are we all about” (Collins, 1998, p. 220) along with a booming economy, has dampened recruiting and retention. Due to many pension and health care  
cuts, retired military families may no longer openly endorse a career in the service (Moniz, 1999). 
Every day, more and more service members leave the military.  Some because they feel there are better opportunities outside the military and some because they are disillusioned with the service. Moniz (1999) thinks young adults have been conditioned to expect to have five or six jobs in their lifetime, not one or two. In recent decades, the armed forces have consciously promoted enlistment as a way to invest in training relevant for later life (Barley, 1998).  
Collins (1998) states that an Army-wide survey showed that 50% of the respondents felt that their noncommissioned officers would lead well in combat and only 40% thought their officers would do the same.  Much of these ideas can be attributed to the reduction of expectations, which can be attributed to recruiting and retention issues (Collins, 1998). Senior leadership in the Pentagon cite two factors to explain why young people are far less inclined to join the armed forces than they were five years ago: the services have slashed recruiting  
budgets, and many civilians believe the shrinking military is not hiring (Moniz, 1995). Since 1989, the percentage of males aged 16-21 who reported they were likely to join the Army dropped 35% and black males of the same age group fell 42% (Moniz, 1995). 
Researchers claim that the 1960’s anti-war generation is the cause for much of the mistrust and dislike for the armed forces (Moniz, 1995). Parents and  
teachers today grew up in the 60’s and are leery of the military (Moniz, 1995). Additionally, high school students do not have the desire to serve in the armed services because they, “don’t like to be bossed around” (Moniz, 1999). “The resistance to leadership exhibited by this generation that was never spanked undermines discipline and the rank-authority system” (RAND Corporation, 1997). 

Theoretical Approach 
 “Communication is an important part of life in organizations” (Byers, 1997, p. viii).  Organizational communication theories look at many aspects to assist the organizations in becoming more successful.  This idea of organizational communication looks at areas such as culture, leadership, and conflict within these groups and how communication helps to make them stronger (Byers, 1997).   
 Byers (1997) describes an organizational culture having seven elements; metaphors, rituals, stories, heroes, cultural artifacts, performances, and values.  These seven elements are all present in the military, therefore one can say it  
contains an organizational culture.  The functionalist perspective to a strong culture is characterized by organization-wide consensus, consistency, and clarity of ideas where all share the same values, understanding, loyalty, commitment,  
and productivity (Byers, 1997).  This idea also states a need to provide members with the knowledge of who they are and what they are doing (Byers, 1997).  The  
need for this strong cultural idea is justified because members of organizations with strong cultures usually do not work solely for economical reasons.  Their loyalties stem from a deeper personal significance which can be attributed to the culture of the organization (Byers, 1997).  One good example of this idea within the military could be the statement, “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” an idea used by the Corps to ensure a strong culture within their organization. 
 According to Byers (1997), a review of recent literature shows that effective leadership is key in organizational performance.  Byers (1997) also talks about a review that was done by Day and Lord (1988) where they found a 20-45% difference in success and failure which was correlated to effective leadership within an organization.  How a leader perceives a problem will usually determine the solution chosen to alleviate the problem (Byers, 1997). Because it is stated (Reis, 1994) that perceptions change within distinct groups, it is important that leaders connect to their workers in order to understand the reality of the problem. Byers (1997, p. 134) states, "it doesn't really matter which theory of leadership effectiveness you adopt," the important factor being the  
development of an adequate communication skill, so that the leader can relate and understand the subordinate.  
      Organizational communication also looks at conflict within an organization.  According to Pondy (1967), there are four different types of definitions for conflict.  The first is antecedent conditions (scarce resources).  Affective states (tension  
and anxiety), cognitive states (awareness of conflict), and conflictful behavior (resistance to overt aggression) are the other three categories within Pondy’s (1967) definition.  From these definitions one can see the conflict within the military by the lack of resources and lack of trust in leaders and military from the literary reviews mentioned before.   
According to Byers (1997), Lesikar (1976) states that people perceive different realities and give these realities different meanings.  If this is true, then it could be said that there is a need to find out what the current perceptions of the military are in order to begin to address the problem of recruiting and retention. Older officers complain that the new generation is more motivated than their predecessors by the financial incentives of the all-volunteer Army.  Retired Admiral Stan Arthur, who commanded Naval forces during the Persian Gulf War, said that the need for the services to offer college funds to entice recruits was “unionizing the services” (Thompson, 1997). 
Lesikar’s (1976) statement could explain the need to develop distinct surveys to measure the ideas from different types of people. Three groups were  
chosen for this project; potential recruits (18-24 year olds), general public, and senior leadership within the military.  The idea of studying these three specific  
groups accomplishes two distinct goals.  Studying the perceptions of the recruit age general public and general public will help in understanding what the focus needs to be in a public affairs campaign in order to help recruiting.   
Studying the perceptions of senior military leaders will help determine if those leaders are in tune with society. These decision-makers determine what methods are used to attract young recruits. This project will aid in measuring these perceptions so researchers may understand the problem more clearly and begin to find a solution to a stronger military. 

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