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Less than half of young American adults view the US military positively, new poll finds amid recruitment struggles

Less than half of young American adults view the US military positively, new poll finds amid recruitment struggles
U.S. Army soldiers take part in a parade
US Army soldiers take part in a parade during the 75th South Korea Armed Forces Day ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon
  • Americans ages 18 to 29 have expressed more negative views of the military than positive, Pew data shows.

  • Older Americans are more likely to be supportive of the military.

  • The new poll data comes as the US military continues to struggle to meet its recruitment goals.

The results of a new poll show that over half of America's young adults, 53 percent, have a negative opinion of the US military, a potential problem as the armed forces grapple with recruitment challenges.

The Pew Research Center reported Thursday that overall, 60 percent of Americans hold positive views of the US military, however, only 43 percent of adults in the US ages 18 to 29 expressed positive views.

Pew determined that older Americans are more likely to have a favorable opinion of the military. Adults ages 65 and over expressed the highest positive outlook of the US military at 71 percent and seven out of ten adults ages 50 and over say the military "is having a positive impact."

The Pew data offering insight into the prevalence of negative views of the military among young American adults comes as the US military deals with an ongoing recruiting crisis.

New enlistments were down for the Army last year, for instance. Only 55,000 active-duty soldiers were enlisted last year compared to the 65,000-person goal, according to Military.com.

The Army, Air Force, and Navy all had tough times meeting their recruiting goals. The Air Force only narrowly hit its goals in 2022, and in 2023 it fell short by a couple thousand. And the Navy missed its goal by over 7,000 new active-duty enlistments last year.

The US military had hoped new slogans, loosened policies, and financial incentives would convince people to enlist, yet the Army still missed the mark by roughly 10,000 new recruits. The figure is down from the year prior but is still a problem.

"The way we as Americans kind of approach civic engagement has really shifted over the last 50 years," Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security Katherine Kuzminski told Military.com in October 2023. "Relying on old assumptions about, you know, broader civic participation and specifically about military service, that may be a generational challenge."

Read the original article on Business Insider