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Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations Paperback – December 27, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"There is a general perception that US military institutions are heavily dominated by the Republican Party and, consequently, an unacceptable number of army officers have combined their political and professional identities, which has created a sense of discomfort among the American public. Dempsey presents a comprehensive, well-researched assessment of the political and social attitudes of members of the US Army on social and political issues. This in-depth analysis explains the similarities and differences in opinions and attitudes on social and political issues among the military and the civilian population."--Choice

"Jason K. Dempsey's Our Army adds to the work of military sociology in important ways and is useful fodder for thought for soldiers and civilians. . . . Dempsey has written a powerful book that deserves a place on the same shelf as the works of Janowitz and Huntington."--COL Gregory Fontenot, Army Magazine

"Through its careful assessment of results from a unique, original survey instrument, Our Army offers an important corrective to the conventional view of an increasingly conservative, politically active army that threatens to upend established norms of civil-military relations. It offers a wealth of new data for scholars to explore, and it suggests avenues for future research that will further bolster our understanding of the army and its intricate relations with the political branches of government."--Douglas L. Kriner, Public Opinion Quarterly

From the Back Cover

"Interesting and important. Dempsey presents a wealth of original survey data on the views of army personnel. He shows that soldiers hold views that are not dramatically different from those of the American people as a whole, but that differences between officers and the general public exist on many issues. Dempsey points to the dangers of having the military aligned to one political party."--Ole R. Holsti, professor emeritus, Duke University

"This is the only analysis of a random-sample survey of the U.S. Army that probes in some depth the political attitudes of army personnel. Dempsey shows that the army as a whole is more conservative and Republican than comparable civilian cohorts but, because of the large number of African Americans and a blue-collar enlisted ranks, is not overwhelmingly conservative and Republican. This is a valuable book with one-of-a-kind data that will be a great resource and stimulus for research and debate."--Peter D. Feaver, coauthor of Paying the Human Costs of War


Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691142254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691142258
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Dempsey is a career infantry officer in the US Army, currently serving with the 101st Airborne Division as an adviser to Afghan security forces. He most recently served as a member of the White House Task Force on Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Families. Previous to that he worked in the Office of the First Lady as a White House Fellow, where he worked on the development and implementation of Joining Forces, the First Lady and Dr. Biden's initiative to support military families.

His last operational assignment was with the 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division. In 2009, Jason deployed as the operations officer for Task Force Chosin in Kunar. Midway through the deployment he was selected to serve as the brigade operations officer for Task Force Spartan, responsible for counterinsurgency operations in two previously unoccupied provinces south of Kabul.

In 2005 he volunteered for deployment to Iraq where he worked with State Dept. and military personnel to draft and coordinate policy towards Kirkuk and the Kurds.

Jason is a graduate of West Point and holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University. The focus of his research is the political and social attitudes of members of the military. In addition to his book, Our Army, he has has published articles on presidential approval ratings during foreign policy crises, Army efforts toward gender integration, counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, and the experiences of Hispanics in the United States Army. In 2005 he was awarded a Dwight Eisenhower / Clifford Roberts Fellowship for his work.

Jason is a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College and the Amphibious Warfare School of the United States Marine Corps. His other military assignments have included tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the 3rd Infantry Division. He is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was a 2004 delegate to the U.S.--Italy Young Leaders Conference.

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Format: Paperback
A focus of LTC Dempsey's book is to display the wide range of political views within the military to the American public. Dempsey describes a "perfect storm" of events which have slowly moved public perception of our Army in a potentially damaging direction. These events include an increased separation of the military from the rest of society due to the all-volunteer force, improved absentee voting laws which have made military participation in elections more efficient, and a division amongst the political parties in their foreign policy positions following the end of the Cold War. Public perception of the military in recent years is that we are an active supporting bloc for the Republican Party.
Dempsey's research showed that the Army looks much like a similar American public would in terms of political party affiliation. The Federal Voting Assistance Program has contributed to the perception that the Army is more politically active than the rest of society, by falsely claiming high participation rates during the Presidential elections in 2000 and 2004. While this study shows that the Army is not a threat to impact federal elections as a cohesive voting bloc, the perception remains among the Parties themselves, the Public, and many of our Officers and Soldiers.
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