NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Military Experience Lacking on Capitol Hill

November 12, 2001

Congress has fewer members with armed-forces experience than at any time since World War II. This raises the question as to whether current members would be willing to support a drawn-out war on terror.

  • The Senate currently has 38 members who have served in the U.S. military -- 12 of whom have combat experience.
  • There are 128 veterans in the House -- including 30 with combat experience.
  • That reflects a steady decline since the late 1960s and 1970s when the generation that fought World War II dominated Congress.
  • This Congress has 75 female members, only one of whom is a veteran -- Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM).

In the House, 77 Republicans and 51 Democrats are veterans. There are 22 Republican and 16 Democrat veterans in the Senate.

The World War II generation still has some of its members in Congress. Seven Senators and nine House members are veterans of that war.

Source: William M. Welch, "Most U.S. Lawmakers Lack Combat Experience," USA Today, November 12, 2001.


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