|The purpose of this study is to determine society’s perceptions
of the military. The idea that America negatively perceives the military
has been attributed to the lack of numbers in recruiting and the view that
the military has detached itself from society. Many say that the
negative views have stemmed from all the recent bad publicity regarding
the military and its leaders. The lack of knowledge or experience
attributes to negative perceptions about the military.
Galloway, Strobel, & Tharp (1999) state that high school students do not relate to the military. Most students claim that their grandfather served in the military but their parents did not and Galloway, Stroble, & Tharp call this disconnection from the people they serve a “generation removed.” General Peter Sutton, commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, states that fewer than 6% of Americans under age 65 have served in the military. Fewer Congressmen and women have served in the armed forces - less than one-third of Congress are veterans (Galloway, Strobel, & Tharp, 1999).
Public affairs offices relate to the general public more than many other facets of the military. Working relationships with local, national and international media are developed and maintained. Studying perceptions then goes hand-in-
hand with the daily public affairs mission. A public affairs officer must know their commander’s intentions, and those of the public, in order for that commander to communicate effectively with them. Effective communication between the military and general public, and knowledge of the current perceptions, are key to building and maintaining a stronger military and civilian society.