D. Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University and the author of Surveying America’s Leadership: A Study of the White House Fellows, on the effect of civilian and military leaders meeting as White House Fellows:
Because the White House Fellowship draws younger leaders from many different fields—including business, the military, nonprofits, law, and academia, it provides one of the few professional settings where leaders from very different fields regularly work together and build collegial relations. This cross-pollination of leaders makes a huge difference over the long term. For instance, consider the program’s impact on fellows’ attitudes toward parts of the federal government.
We see that fellows with no military experience express significantly greater confidence in the military after spending a year with a classmate who has a military background, and for each additional class member with a military background, the non-military fellow’s level of confidence rises. Levels of support for the military can rise from 54% to 81% among fellows, depending on how many classmates with military backgrounds were in a class. Most significant, that positive attitude toward the military remains over the course of the leader’s life, whether that Fellowship contact happened last year or four decades ago. That’s important, especially in the U.S. military, where ultimate decision-making rests in the hands of top civilians such as the Secretary of Defense instead of the military’s top brass.
(Via: Culture Making)