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Integration in the Ranks: Explaining the Effects of Social Pressure and Attitudinal Change on U.S. Military Policy

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Doctoral thesis

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When compared to other organizations in the American bureaucracy, and perhaps American society as a whole, the military is generally regarded as having been one of the pioneers of racial integration. But with sexual orientation, the military seems to have lagged behind. This dissertation incorporated a multi-method, multi-focus approach to explain this phenomenon. First, a cross-national quantitative analysis examined the effects of values systems, military need, and other characteristics on the likelihood of a nation adopting a full-inclusion policy, thereby providing a global perspective. Next, an in-depth qualitative analysis of President Trumans successful push for racial integration in the military in 1948 and President Clintons failure in 1993 to allow homosexuals to serve openly highlighted contributing national institutional factors. These factors included not only the individual effects of each presidents leadership style, but also the influence of Congress, the judiciary, and public opinion on changing military policy. Finally, a look at the military itself as an organization within the American bureaucracy demonstrated that the civil-military gap and military culture also played a part in ushering in successful racial integration, yet both have stalled efforts to openly integrate homosexuals. A quantitativeorganizational analysis utilized survey data to assess attitudes toward inclusion and view the effect of branch of service, rank, career specialty, age, religiosity, and other personal characteristics on those attitudes. In essence, attitudes about homosexuality in the military are generational, which indicates that change will happen, but not soon. In the end, the goal for policymakers will be to find the delicate balance between maintaining national security objectives by meeting the needs of the military while at the same time doing their duty as public officials to protect the rights of all of Americas service-members.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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