April 04, 2013

Listening to the Generals: How Military Advice Affects Public Support for the Use of Force

In Listening to the Generals: How Military Advice Affects Public Support for the Use of Force, James Golby, Kyle Dropp and Peter Feaver report that public expression by senior military officials of opposition or support for use of force abroad has a measurable impact on U.S. public opinion. The authors disclose the results of their national survey, noting that the findings could lead political leaders to seek public endorsements from senior military leaders that will politicize the military. The solution, they argue, is not to suppress the military’s public views but to increase Congressional oversight and public testimonies so that senior military officers can provide “measured and qualified advice” to the American people.

Please note: YouGov administered the survey via Internet and conducted interviews with 5,500 Americans between May 31, 2012 and July 28, 2012. The 5,500 interviews in our database are a sample matched on gender, age, race, education, party identification, ideology and political interest to be representative of the general population, as determined by the 2007 American Community Survey.


  • James Golby

    Former Adjunct Senior Fellow, Clements Center for National Security, The University of Texas at Austin

    Jim Golby is a former Adjunct Senior Fellow at CNAS. Jim received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and a B.S. in American Government from the United Sta...

  • Kyle Dropp

  • Peter Feaver

    Member, CNAS Board of Advisors, Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor, Duke University

    Peter D. Feaver (Ph.D., Harvard, 1990) is the Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University and Director of the Triangle Institute ...