Second Service: Military Veterans and Public Office

Although American-styled democracy demands a vigorous military-civilian divide when it comes to political power, American voters are comfortable electing officials with military service on their resumes.

Sadly, the rapidly decreasing numbers of veterans within the general population, combined with the minuscule numbers of individuals who do volunteer for the armed forces today, has directly contributed to the steadily declining numbers of veterans in Congress and, hence, an increasing shortage of members who come to their seats with the experience of military life and war—a policy area of unique constitutional responsibility for Congress.

Of all the government and social institutions, the military currently enjoys the highest confidence of the American public, while Congress registers the least confidence. Therefore, it is the right moment for taking stock of military veterans in public office.

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