Our Military: How important is being Number 1?

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Our Military
HONORING THE FALLEN: Two sergeants drape a flag over a coffin at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, the Defense Department's largest joint-service mortuary facility and the only one in the continental United States. Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.

HONORING THE FALLEN: Two sergeants drape a flag over a coffin at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, the Defense Department’s largest joint-service mortuary facility and the only one in the continental United States. Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.

Memorial Day is a time to pause and remember the men and women who died while serving in our armed forces. “Nearly 7,000 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice” in the last decade, noted Obama in a speech last week at the National Defense University. “Many more have left a part of themselves on the battlefield, or brought the shadows of battle back home.”

The human costs and financial costs (now over $1 trillion) of the wars we’ve been fighting are enormous. In the first part of this week’s OurValues series, I want to combine our reflections on the fallen with a question about our future:

How important is it to continue to be Number 1 militarily?

More than six of ten Americans say it’s important for the U.S. to be the top military power in the world, according to a recent Gallup poll. Republicans are much more likely to say so. Eight of ten Republicans say it’s important for the U.S. to be Number 1 militarily, compared to 48% of Democrats.

Americans have felt this way for a long time. Since 1993, Gallup has asked about the importance of being Number 1 militarily—and a majority of Americans each time has said that it’s important to hold the top spot. There has been a range, however. The low since 1993 was 59%, while the high was 70%.

Whether or not you think we should be the top military power, do you think that we actually are? Just half (50%) say that we are the Number 1 military power, according to the 2013 Gallup poll. The percentage was 63% in 1993, which fell to 51% in 1999. By 2010, the percentage saying we are Number 1 had risen to 64%. There has been a 14 percentage point drop in that response over the past three years.

Do you believe it’s important to be Number 1 militarily?

How will you honor the nation’s fallen on this day of remembrance?

Please leave a comment below:

Series NavigationOur Military: How did you spend Memorial Day? >>
Print Friendly
Comments: (2)
Categories: Security

Comments

  1. Rick Reid says:

    It’s important to stay #1 as a military power and we are. The United States spends more on defense than the next 10 military powers put together or about 39% of total world military spending. China is #2 at around 10% of that total. For anyone to doubt this take a closer look at this massive investment and our global reach with the number of strategic military bases positioned around the world and the weapons, troops and defense infrastructure that we have in place.

    However, I would personally like to see the US shift a small % of this massive military spending back into domestic programs like K-12 education where we are nowhere near world class and have slipped severely in the world rankings in the last several decades. We could still have the #1 military by a wide margin while also insuring that we have bright, educated future generations who can be our successors in keeping it that way.

  2. WHY is it important for us to be #1 militarily? Who made us the only grown-ups on the planet, the ones who know what’s right for everybody else? If we really want to lead the world, let’s occupy the US and build green infrastructure, make our schools and social services shine, and stop blaming the victims of our ruthless economic system. Let’s open the Department of Peacebuilding and fund all the effective alternative conflict resolution strategies that people like Gene Sharp and JP Lederach have been developing and testing for decades.

    The real threats, like environmental degradation, cross all our borders and can only be solved by international cooperation. Wny waste another dollar on phenomenally expensive blunt instruments that have been shown over and over again not to solve problems but to make them worse?