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Professor Peter Feaver on America’s High but Hollow Support for the Military, Duke Today

Professor Peter Feaver first conducted a national study on public confidence in the U.S. military over two decades ago. Last month, he published a new book, “Thanks for Your Service: The Causes and Consequences of Public Confidence in the U.S. Military, which revisits the public perception of the military in the U.S. Despite the more than 20-year gap between these two studies, Feaver found surprising similarities between them. Feaver proposes that, “the military has become part of our civic religion,” entering different realms of everyday life. He also analyzes the contributions of social media and entertainment media in “raising support for the military, but not necessarily deepening our understanding of the military.” The role of entertainment media has had a more profound and negative impact on the perception of the military among Republicans, Feaver says, as key Republican opinion leaders have broadcast anti-military messages.

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