A Brief Look at European Security & Defense: Franco-German Steps to Renew the EU?

By Kamil Szubart

On March 4, 2019, French president Emmanuel Macron published an opinion piece titled “For European Renewal” in the biggest newspapers across Europe. The article is, according to the French president, a roadmap for reviving an idea of the European integration that is threatened by the growth of nationalism and populist movements across Europe, the forthcoming “Brexit,” and the crisis of the European Union as a political project most of all.

A short passage of Macron’s article focuses on the future of European security and defense ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU. Brexit has been a hot topic, which European leaders have touched upon for two and a half years. In his piece, Macron explains that the EU, in the past two years, has reached substantial progress about European security and defense matters. He also encourages Europe to continue these successful efforts by setting “a clear course”, namely “a treaty on defense and security” that “should define our fundamental obligations in association with NATO and our European allies: increased defense spending, a truly operational defense clause, and the European Security Council with the United Kingdom on board to prepare our collective decisions”.

The Aachen Treaty as the First Footstep

Macron’s remarks are not something new. These ideas saw progress a couple of weeks ago (Jan. 22, 2019) when the French president and his German counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel signed the Franco-German Treaty on Cooperation and Integration in a western German city of Aachen, commonly known as the Aachen Treaty. The declaration alludes to the Élysée Treaty signed by both countries 56 years ago (Jan. 22, 1963). The treaty’s preamble emphasizes the need to continue intensive bilateral cooperation between both countries as well as on forum of international organizations such as the EU and the United Nations. Much attention in the document has been devoted to the issue of security and defense, including Chapter II on “Peace, Security, and Development.” The Aachen Treaty confirms an absolute need for close cooperation between Berlin and Paris in the area of security and defense policies, internal affairs (e.g., combating terrorism and organized crime), and further integration of arms industries of both countries.

Germany and France declared mutual military assistance in case of aggression, resulting from Article 5 of the NATO Treaty and article 42.7 of the EU Treaty. Berlin and Paris also committed themselves to work toward the cohesion and the credibility of European defense and the development of defense programs, as well as the reconstruction of cooperation within the framework of the German-French Defense and Security Council and—if possible—the presentation of a joint position at the EU and the UN.

Ambitions Versus Harsh Reality

Both Macron’s article and the Aachen Treaty embody a couple of somewhat strategic or operational limitations. Let us look closer at some of them.

First of all, the Aachen Treaty likely will not lead to the creation of a new paradigm in the field of European security and defense based on cooperation between France and Germany. Thus, there is no serious threat to NATO and its strategic planning process (NDPP) nor to initiatives developed under the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).

Secondly, the document is only a political declaration that refers to those already being developed jointly through Berlin and Paris programs currently on various levels. It should be noted that both countries differ in the assessment of many of these projects. One of the best examples is Germany’s and France’s approaches to crisis management operations in the EU’s southern neighborhood, specifically North Africa. France permits itself to conduct combat operations against extremist groups in the Sahel region, while the Germans focus on advisory and training activities towards local security forces and providing humanitarian aid. For years, Germany and France have participated in two missions under the auspices of the UN (MINUSMA) and the EU’s training mission (EUTM Mali) in the Sahel region. The French Armed Forces, next to MINUSMA, also carry out a counterterrorism operation called Opération Barkhane.

Thirdly, The Aachen Treaty references the need to establish the “common strategic culture” of both countries despite Germany and France representing different strategic cultures regarding the use of military power and overseas deployments. Therefore, this demand should be interpreted only in terms of a political declaration.

For instance, the process of deploying the Armed Forces in France is much quicker than in Germany. This depends on the positions of the armed forces and political command and control over them in the constitutional systems of France and Germany. But differences between Paris and Berlin also occur at the operational level. France can deploy abroad in approximately 20,000 troops; Germany up to 5,000. Moreover, the German Bundeswehr faces a significant deficit in strategic airlift capabilities, depending on the assistance provided by the US or commercial transportation enterprises. On the other hand, France has at its disposal a well-developed chain of military bases worldwide, in South America, the Middle East, and Africa. France also remains a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a nuclear power.

Fourthly, the Aachen Treaty calls for establishing common standards and rules for arms exports. However, it will be likely problematic to develop and set up a common position on arms goods. Despite the cooperation on the EU arms industry market, German and French arms companies compete for each other on non-European markets, above all in the Middle East and in southeastern Asia.

Fifthly, Despite the appeal in the Aachen Treaty to the need to continue efforts to strengthen the strategic autonomy of the EU, its operationalization will not be possible in the short term. In the first place, there is a difference in its definition by both partners. For France, the EU strategic autonomy in the field of security and defense are mainly actions for strategic emancipation from the US, and its military presence in Europe, which is negatively received by some EU countries, especially NATO’s eastern flank. For the Germans, however, EU strategic autonomy is first and foremost an option for the EU in respect to its southern neighborhood. According to Germany, the EU’s southern neighborhood remains outside the primary interest of NATO and the US, while France treats that region as its sphere of influence.

Moreover, Berlin remains strongly skeptical about plans to give the EU the central role as a security provider for the EU countries in the face of threats posed by Russia. Despite disputes between Germany and the Trump Administration on burden-sharing, the US and NATO remain vital pillars of Germany’s security policy and guarantors of peace in the Euro-Atlantic area. In Germany’s view, security and defense policy activities taken by the EU will strengthen the European pillar of NATO.

Sixthly, Berlin and Paris realize what London’s security and defense capabilities mean for their security, especially counterterrorism. France has payed particular attention to its European Intervention Initiative (EII/EI2) launched in June 2018 and composed currently of 10 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the UK). Paris needs both Berlin’s and London’s buy-in for the development of EII/EI2. In the case of Germany, France expects political support; in the case of the British, their military capabilities.

The Aachen Treaty’s declarations on strengthening cooperation between Germany and France concerning counterterrorism and combating organized crime should be considered appropriate. Although there are EU mechanisms in this realm—including the Schengen Information System or Europol—there is still less effectiveness than there should be. For instance, EU member countries still selectively provide intelligence data for their everyday use. Cooperation in this field should not, however, have an exclusive character, limiting itself to German-French cooperation. It should be extended to other EU member countries.

INSCT Research and Practice Associate Kamil Szubart was a 2017 visiting fellow at INSCT, via the Kosciuszko Foundation. He works as an analyst for the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznan, Poland, where he is responsible for German foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, Islamic threats in German-native-speaking countries and topics related to NATO, CSDP, OSCE, and the UN. Currently, he is working on a doctoral dissertation examining US-German relations in the field of international security since 9/11.

 

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Brown Shirts, White Sheets, Red Hats: Beware Politicized Colors

By David M. Crane 

(Re-published from The Hill | March 3, 2019) Symbolism is critical to the political process, perhaps essential. At the ballot box, voters take these symbols in with them to identify a candidate who aligns that symbol with their political beliefs.

Politicians who have motives other than good governance can hide behind the shield of these freedoms.

Catchphrases, articles of clothing, and color are all part of our political paradigm. It allows supporters of a candidate to identify with others of like mind. Collective identity builds a base upon which a candidate wins an election and to govern.

There is nothing sinister about any of this in a larger sense. However, it can be sinister, divisive, and calculating, with an ultimate goal of control and governance by fear and hate.

It is this sinister calculus that citizens should be wary of, particularly citizens of liberal democracies where freedom of speech and expression are hallmarks to that democracy.

Politicians who have motives other than good governance can hide behind the shield of these freedoms, emerging to use their symbols to assist them in taking political control for more sinister reasons.

Modern history is replete with symbols, particularly clothing and colors, where politicians legitimately gain power, pivot, and seize ultimate control. Adolf Hitler and his henchmen were masters of using symbols and colors to create a national socialist agenda. The “Brownshirts,” party enthusiasts who believed in a greater Aryan nation, come quickly to mind.

In America, symbolism and colors also play an important part in our political and social discourse. Red and blue seem to be popular colors, also white. Suffragists wore a yellow sash, and the color white has symbolized the emancipation of women unifying for a proper cause. However, the white robe of the Ku Klux Klan captures how symbols and color can be used to promote division, hate, and fear for the sordid purpose of promoting a white America.

Over the past two years, another colored article of clothing has entered the political arena: a red hat. The “MAGA hat,” for President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, has come to identify not just the president’s political agenda but those who have bought into his philosophy …

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Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

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Space Force is a Bureaucratic Mess in Search of a Problem

By Sean O’Keefe

(Re-published from The Hill | Feb. 22, 2019) Earlier this week, Space Policy Directive – 4 was announced to start the process to create a new uniformed service of the armed forces to be designated as the U.S. Space Force. This will surely focus a lot of debate on space but doesn’t address the problem it’s designed to correct.

Beneath the Air Force secretary will be a new military four star general as chief of staff for Space Force, who will be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

After considerable debate in Washington, the directive emerged as an organizational compromise to create Space Force as a subcomponent of the Department of the Air Force akin to the Marine Corps within the Department of the Navy. The effect of this bureaucratic victory avoids establishing a new civilian leadership chain to the secretary of Defense. The secretary of the Air Force is a direct report to DOD supported by the offices of an under secretary, assistant secretaries and general counsel, like the Army and Navy Departments. Enactment of the Space Force directive would also add another civilian under secretary for Space.

But there’s more — potentially much more. Beneath the Air Force secretary will be a new military four star general as chief of staff for Space Force, who will be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all the associated military support structure that will mirror the Department of Defense structure today for each military service — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, the National Guard Bureau and now Space Force.

The modest upside is that the civilian chain of the command doesn’t get too much more complicated than it already is other than accommodating a new under secretary. But 95 percent of the indirect cost is wrapped up in all the functional process units to be built around the typical overhead structures to administer budgets, programs, personnel, contracts, logistics and the very complex acquisition support for this new military service.

The Marine Corps is comparatively lean and much smaller than the Army, Navy or Air Force. But each of these functional organizations dedicated to Marine Corps matters are within the Department of the Navy which has a parallel collection of units that support Navy matters. The secretary of the Navy presides over this dual set of stove pipe organizations, the same way the secretary of the Air Force will have two different military services reporting to “organize, train and equip” the armed services. This is the standard responsibility of all of the military departments today …

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INSCT Faculty Member and Maxwell School Professor Sean O’Keefe served as secretary of the Navy and NASA administrator in the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations.

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The Kaleidoscopic Conflict That Is Syria

By David M. Crane

(Re-published from The Hill | Feb. 24, 2019) “It is not clear whether our culture can ever develop sufficient knowledge, rigor, imagination and humility to grasp the phenomenon of [ISIS]. But for now, we should admit that we are not only horrified but baffled.” — Anonymous, the New York Review of Books, Aug. 13, 2015.

These dirty little wars have become “kaleidoscopic” in nature, and the winding-down conflict in Syria is a prime example of how bizarre conflict has become.

In the information age, the concept of warfare and conflict are changing and shifting. Industrial-age warfare lingers, but fades as a possibility. Twentieth-century wars most likely are not the future of conflict. The new high ground is cyberspace. The battles of the 21st century largely will be fought on the World Wide Web.

Yet human conflict will continue. It is in our nature. Military historian John Keegan stated simply that the history of war is the history of mankind, and the history of mankind is war. We never will “buy the world a home and furnish it with love,” as the creators of the 1971 Coca-Cola commercial imagined. As comedian and social critic George Carlin said: “Life is tough, then you die.”

Conflict has evolved from the agricultural age, when armies stood in a field, toe to toe, beating and striking one another until one army yielded and left the field. In the industrial age, conflict became more deadly, the weapons systems more anonymous and destructive. Civilian populations were at risk and destroyed wholesale. In the information age, conflict became more precise, though civilians still pay the ultimate price.

Throughout the 20th century, mankind tried to control the horror of war through law and, towards the end of that bloody century, to hold accountable heads of state who caused conflict, particularly when they targeted their own citizens. The age of accountability, which started at Nuremberg and rose to prominence over the past 25 years, also has begun to lose its effectiveness in securing international peace and security. The dirty little wars in this age will be fought in dark corners of the world, where the parties will not follow the laws of armed conflict.

Nearly two decades into this century, conflict has almost reverted to the agricultural age — bloody, toe to toe, lawless.

Modern armies are not trained for this type of warfare. These dirty little wars have become “kaleidoscopic” in nature, and the winding-down conflict in Syria is a prime example of how bizarre conflict has become. At one point in Syria, the United States was fighting one side, working with that same side to defeat a common enemy (ISIS), and providing military support to many of the various groups found in that conflict. We were shooting in every direction, being shot at by the very weapons we were supplying to the parties to the conflict. How crazy is that!

To add to the confusion, the military situation completely changed on a daily — and surely a weekly — basis. Where one thing changed, everything changed; hence, the description that warfare had become kaleidoscopic.

None of the doctrinal norms in planning for future conflicts applies. We cannot anticipate what the next dirty little war will look like, which causes strain to the deliberate planning process within the Department of Defense. Syria stressed our systems. Very little that our various services were capable of bringing to the battlefield applied or were effective. On any given day at the height of the Syrian conflict, no one could predict what would happen next. Commanders and their planners were not just shooting in every direction, we also did not know what our objectives were or what the end-state would be. It remains so even today …

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Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

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FBI’s Human Rights Investigators Are Critical to Prosecuting “Atrocity Crimes”

By David M. Crane, Stephen Rapp, Clint Williamson, and Beth Van Schaack

(Re-published from The Hill | Feb. 22, 2019) For over seven decades, the United States has stood as the cornerstone of a rules-based global system that arose from the ashes of World War II, organizing and leading a united group of nations as they held major violators to account at international tribunals convened in Nuremberg and Tokyo.

This world order is under threat as strongmen abound and governments step back from the advances made.

The Nuremberg Principles — which take as their starting point the promise that “any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment” — were woven into the fabric of our system of international peace and security. Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these global pronouncements protect the rights of every human being, demand accountability for grave international crimes, and undergird our entire structure of atrocity accountability.

On the domestic level, the United States has incorporated a number of international crimes into the federal penal code, ensuring that prosecutors have the legal authority they need to address crimes within the jurisdictional reach of our courts.

This world order is under threat as strongmen abound and governments step back from the advances made. Here in the United States, we have seen troubling indications of a diminishing commitment to the protection of human rights and support for atrocity accountability. In one recent development, the FBI reportedly intends to disband its International Human Rights Investigation Unit (IHRU).

At present, the IHRU plays an essential law enforcement role in bringing perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice in the United States by investigating suspected perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, torture, recruitment of child soldiers, and female genital mutilation, among other offenses. This includes crimes committed abroad when the perpetrator is within reach, and crimes committed by or against U.S. citizens.

The IHRU continues the U.S. law enforcement commitment that began with successful efforts to track down Nazi war criminals living in the United States and to remove them to venues where they could face justice. Its stated mission is “to mitigate the most significant threats posed by international human rights violators through effective intelligence collection and targeted enforcement action” through coordination with other domestic agencies, as well as its counterparts in foreign countries and INTERPOL.

The IHRU is an essential partner in a co-located task force with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit. Together, this team presents cases to Department of Justice attorneys for prosecution. This inter-agency team has been successful in bringing perpetrators of atrocities in Guatemala, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to justice in U.S. courts. Most recently, its work resulted in convictions of two Liberian warlords in federal court in Philadelphia …

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Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

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No Evidence of Collusion? William C. Banks Discusses Senator Burr’s Comments with Bloomberg Law

Senate Intel Leaders Split Over Russia Collusion

(Bloomberg Law | Feb. 13, 2019) Syracuse University Law School Professor William Banks discusses comments made by Richard Burr, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee that the investigation had found no evidence of collusion, Senator Mark Warner, the top democrat on the committee disagreed saying the investigation is still ongoing and the committee still had to interview key witnesses. He speaks with Bloomberg’s June Grasso.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2019-02-13/senate-intel-leaders-split-over-russia-collusion-radio

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William C. Banks Authors OpEd on Southern Border Crisis for Newsday

Opinion: Declaration would defy Congress and abuse power

By William C. Banks

(Newsday | Feb. 10, 2019) President Donald Trump has described the congressional negotiations over his request for $5.7 billion to fund a Southern border wall as a “waste of time.”

Intended to stop the practice of endless states of emergency, the law gave them new life. Today, there are 28 national emergencies, renewed for decades by presidents.

He has repeatedly insisted that he can and will build the wall after declaring a national emergency at the border. If the president proceeds, he will undermine the role of Congress in our constitutional system and make a mockery of the uses of this extraordinary emergency power as exercised by modern presidents.

Rhetoric and politics aside, consider a dispassionate assessment of what the law permits. In the end, Congress may already have given Trump the authority he needs to build his wall.

The president exercises whatever powers he has from the Constitution or an act of Congress. The Constitution does not confer any general emergency powers, and only permits suspending the writ of habeas corpus “when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” When it comes to appropriating public funds, the Constitution anchors the power in Congress. The Congress appropriates funds, and the president spends them.

Historically, Congress provided generous statutory authorities that allow the president to act and spend in circumstances that rise to the level of national emergency. By 1973, there were more than 470 such laws, most of them vestiges of bygone crises. In a stroke of Watergate-era good government, Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act in 1976 to repeal all emergency laws and create procedures for future presidents to act responsibly in a crisis. However, while enacted with the best of intentions to rein in misuse of presidential emergency powers, the law has, in a backhanded way, enabled considerable presidential initiatives.

The National Emergencies Act requires presidents to specify the statutory authorities they intend to use after declaring a national emergency, make public notice of the emergency declaration and renew such authorities annually in writing to Congress. However, the law requires Congress to act (with a two-thirds majority to overcome a presidential veto) to terminate a declared emergency and allows declared emergencies to be renewed annually by the president.

Intended to stop the practice of endless states of emergency, the law gave them new life. Today, there are 28 national emergencies, renewed for decades by presidents, supported by 136 statutes the president can invoke after an emergency declaration. Congress has never attempted to terminate an emergency declared pursuant to the National Emergencies Act.

Nor are there criteria to guide or limit the president in deciding what constitutes a national emergency. Could Trump declare a national emergency at the Southern border? Yes, unquestionably. Could he then find the funds from among the 136 statutes to order construction of the wall? Yes, arguably …

Read the full OpEd.

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Fear: A Dictator’s Tool

By David M. Crane 

(Re-published from Jurist | Jan. 29, 2019) Thomas Jefferson is reported to have said: “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

“With a rapidity that was shocking, this age of accountability gave way to the age of the strongman.”

I have investigated and prosecuted dictators and their henchmen for most of my professional life. I have studied their lives, personalities, their rise to power and how they governed once achieving that power. The one common theme in their theories of governance is fear. It is easier to govern and dictate to citizens through fear.

As Hannah Arendt wrote in her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism: “A fundamental difference between modern dictatorships and all other tyrannies of the past is that terror is no longer used as a means to exterminate and frighten opponents, but as an instrument to rule masses of people who are perfectly obedient.” The infamous dictators of the twentieth century, such as Stalin, Hitler, and Mao Tse-tung among others, understood this all too well. Their theory was that a frightened populace will allow their government to take drastic measures to protect them without protest, usually from perceived evil that threatens their society or country externally.

This object, person or peoples, religion or culture which focuses their fear is what I call their boogeyman. These boogeymen threaten their way of life and only the men in power have the capacity to address the threat. In a perverse way they tell their frightened citizens “We may have to take away your liberties, even kill some of you, to protect you from that boogeyman.” Over ninety million of those frightened citizens died at the hands of their own dictatorial governments in the twentieth century.

As the twentieth century morphed into the twenty-first century mankind pushed back and began to hold dictators, tyrants, and thugs accountable. With the advent of modern international criminal law, mankind created international courts and tribunals, which include a permanent international criminal court, to seek justice for victims of those who rule by fear. This movement lasted around twenty-five years. This age of accountability is wavering today.

With a rapidity that was shocking, this age of accountability gave way to the age of the strongman. International order and cooperation also gave way to a new populism that rejected the concept of international peace and security through the United Nations Charter for a more inward domestic nationalism, not seen since the late 1920’s and the early 1930’s.

The rise of strongmen across the globe in the past several years in Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Venezuela, Hungary, the Philippines along with other longer term dictatorships from the twentieth century, has been astonishing and threatens the global order put in place after the Second World War. Even the cornerstone country of that world order, the United States, is toying with this populism …

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Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

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Corri Zoli Analyzes Immigration Debate on WAER

SU National Security Researcher Takes Fact-Based Approach to Charged Immigration Debate

(WAER | Jan. 8, 2019) A Syracuse University researcher is trying to take the politics and emotions out of illegal immigration and border security, even with the president’s address to the nation Tuesday evening. Dr. Corri Zoli is Director of Research at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. She says the political dynamics on both sides are counter-productive to arriving at a more permanent solution for the southern border.

“We’re seeing right now a real spike in unaccompanied minors and children essentially being dragged across the border.”

“If Congress had done a better job at clarifying immigration rules, laws, and statutes, which have been in need of reform for the last decade plus, then we wouldn’t have this level of resorting to politicizing this issue because it would be clarified in the law.”

So, Zoli says what we’re left with is a largely unsecured border that leads to a legal, humanitarian, and resource crisis. She says Department of Homeland Security data show tens of thousands of people affiliated with drug and human trafficking cartels are penetrating the border every year.

“We’re seeing right now a real spike in unaccompanied minors and children essentially being dragged across the border. Why are they doing that? Because the complexities of our law create incentives for traffickers to have a child with them” …

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Mythbusting: INSCT, IVMF Veterans Research Reported by Military Times

(Military Times | Jan. 5, 2019) Here’s something everyone can agree on: The way the public views veterans isn’t always accurate.

Take the assumption that all veterans have served in combat and have post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. Or that people only go into the military because they can’t get into college.

Those are just a couple of the “persistent, recycled myths” about veterans that Syracuse University researchers addressed during a session at the Student Veterans of America National Conference Friday, using both federal data and an 8,600-person survey of the military community to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the nation’s youngest generation of veterans.

On one hand, studies by Gallup, Pew Research and others have shown there is “enormous public support (for the military) but at the same time a tremendous gap in knowledge about who we’re supporting,” said Corri Zoli, director of research at Syracuse’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. “They don’t have a lot of granular detail about who they’re supporting and why.”

Myth 1: Veterans are a small subset of the population

The number that’s often thrown out is 1 percent, but that applies to active duty troops, researchers said. As of 2017, federal data show veterans make up 8 percent of the U.S. population, with post-9/11 veterans the fastest growing group among them.

Myth 2: Veterans join the military because they could not get into college and are uneducated

According to federal data collected in the 2017 Current Population Survey, 35 percent of post-9/11 veterans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 31 percent of all veterans and 32 percent of the general U.S. population.

Rosalinda Maury, a researcher with the Syracuse Institute for Veterans and Military Families, said education benefits tend to be a top recruiting incentive, and the military promotes and prepares service members for post-secondary education …

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