The majority of defense leaders believe the United States is weaker today than five years ago, according to a poll by Gannett's Defense News.
The survey of more than 350 top U.S. military officials, defense industry leaders, congressional staff and consultants found that 82 percent believe communist China is stronger today than in 2008, the year President Obama won the election.
Reflective of the conservative nature of the national security community, 39 percent of respondents identified themselves as Republican and 14 percent as Democrats. The remainder were independents or did not provide their political identification.
Of 65 military personnel who participated in the survey in November, 57 percent called themselves Republican and 8 percent Democrat.
Of the military respondents, 58 percent achieved the rank of one-star general or admiral and above.
Of all responding Democrats, 69 percent said the massive leaking by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden "helped the debate" on limiting U.S. surveillance. Of Republicans, 58 percent said the disclosures "hurt [the] debate."
The Defense News Leadership Poll was underwritten by helicopter and jet engine maker United Technologies.
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