| Some predictions can be made based on a small pilot
study conducted for this project. Members of each survey group – general
public, 18-24 year olds, military leadership – were sampled to determine
if the surveys and research questions would be effective. Senior military
leaders and members of the general public were surveyed via e-mail, and
a sample of 18-24 year-old members of the general public was made from
the University of Oklahoma campus. The sample size in each category was
small with 5 participants in the senior military and 18-24 year old samples,
and 6 in the general public sample. The mean, mode, and range were determined
for each statement, and the 13 common statements were then compared. It
should be noted that this pilot was very small and should not be generalized
to represent the categories in full. As stated above, however,
some predictions can be made, and answers can be acquired for the research questions.
The first research question sought to define the attitudes of 18-24 year-old people toward service in the U.S. military. Young people in the 18-24 age group seemed disinterested in joining the military or in perceiving that the military would make a good career. Neither category received higher than a 3 on the Likert Scale (see Table 1 and Table 2). This group also had the strongest feelings that the military had lost touch with society.
Tied to the first research question, is the second research question, which asks what would entice more young people to enlist in the U.S. military. In drawing young people into the service, the general public felt strongly that more educational benefits and high-tech jobs would help attract recruits (see Table 1 and Table 4). The 18-24 year olds were fairly neutral on both ideas, showing a slightly stronger agreement with increased education benefits, but displaying a wide range of opinion in both categories. All three survey groups showed strong disagreement that lowering standards of acceptance was the answer to the military’s recruiting problems. As a method of drawing new recruits, the Internet received lukewarm enthusiasm from all the groups.
Research questions 3 and 4 asked what society's view of the military is, and if the U.S. military still had a strong tie to society. The senior leadership in the study did not feel that the military had lost touch with society, rating a 4.4 on
the Likert Scale in agreeing that military has a strong link to society (see Table 1 and Table 3). The general public agreed that the military has not lost touch, but did agree that the link was as strong.
The widest diversity in the common statements was in whether young people were too spoiled to handle the rigors of military service or not interested in living disciplined lives. Young people disagreed strongly with both statements, while both the military leadership and general public displayed agreement. The general public agreed strongly that young people were not interested in living disciplined lives.
These results represent a very small segment of the population, but do demonstrate that the research questions can be answered. When the surveys are distributed to a much larger population the results will likely be quite similar. Young people are not likely to have the same perceptions of military leaders 30-
40 years older. Bridging this gap will be a key to solving the military’s recruiting shortfalls.