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Chapter 8:

Effects of the Attack on Representation Issues

Since the terrorist attacks occurred near the end of fiscal year (FY) 2001, there was no time during that fiscal year for their effects to be seen in the enlistment behavior of applicants, the number of new accessions, or the size of the military force. However, the future composition of the Military Services can be forecast based on the attitudes of the civilian youth who make up the pool of potential officers and enlisted personnel. This chapter reviews selected results of the youth polls and advertising tracking study regarding youth attitudes toward military enlistment and provides information on how these attitudes were affected by the events of September 11th and how the effects of the attacks varied between different segments of the youth population.

The events of September 11th and the military response to the events may affect the demographic distribution of the military forces if they differentially encourage or discourage specific population groups to enlist for military service. Using the demographic data in the Advertising Tracking Study it is possible to identify differences between some groups of youth in their perceptions of military service. This chapter reviews two measures of enlistment propensity: (1) the stated likelihood that the respondent would enlist in the military and (2) the extent to which the events of September 11th increased or decreased the perceived likelihood that the respondents would enlist.

Regarding the first measure, respondents were asked to indicate how likely it was that they would be serving in the military in the next few years. Those who indicated that they would definitely or probably serve in the military were considered to have positive propensity for military service. Data were combined for each of two quarters before September 2001 and two quarters after that date. Combining data over a three-month period provides a reasonable amount of statistical precision, while facilitating the examination of trends.[Footnote 2] Data from the month of September 2001 are reported separately. Since the percentages for this month are based on a smaller sample than those for the quarters before or after it, the resulting values are subject to greater sampling error.

The second question was added to the survey in September 2001, shortly after the attack. Respondents were asked whether the situation related to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made them more or less likely to consider joining the military as on option. This question provides information that may corroborate any changes in propensity identified by the previous question. In addition, it may uncover changes in propensity that are too small to change a response on the four-alternative propensity scale. Results are reported for September 2001, and for each of the two following quarters.

[Footnote 2]  Overall random sampling error is somewhat less than 3 percentage points.  For comparisons involving individual age groups, genders, or average high school grades, a difference of 5 or more percentage points is statistically significant.  For comparisons involving race/ethnicity or geographical region, a difference of 7 or more percentage points is statistically significant. [back to paragraph]


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