“The Army is at war and America is at Walmart.” Americans love their military and are proud of its accomplishments. But most today have little idea what military service entails. In turn, service personnel see themselves as having little in common with the rest of the country. Not only do they see themselves as “different” from the civilian population, but also often “better” by virtue of the self-sacrifice, competencies and discipline characterizing their lives. The civilian-military gap has taken on an edge, contributed to a public detachment from conflicts, and loosened civilian control of the military.

Bridging the Gap
, explores the clash of cultures behind the crisis in civil-military relations in the United States. While offering up the perspectives of both sides of the divide, the program focuses on the role the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) plays in advancing civil-military relations. The encouraging revival of these programs to elite universities such as Columbia in New York City is highlighted.

Bridging the Gap is the 4th installment of RECOVERING OUR HONOUR: Building The Bond Between Citizens And Soldiers, a four-part documentary series from Stornoway Productions in association with the Breakout Educational Network.

To watch the full video Bridging the Gap click on this link.

Related Articles:

The Atlantic Acknowledges Breakout and the film Bridging the Gap

“The Civilian-Military Divide” – Video Preview with Kathy Roth Douquet

“The Civilian-Military Divide” –  Preview with Lorelei Kelly

“The Civilian-Military Divide: Bridging the Gap” Preview – Professor Greg Foster


ROH-blog-gfx-600-copyRECOVERING OUR HONOUR considers the state of civil-military relations today in Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain. Why do we have a military? What is it for – and what is our responsibility, as citizens, to those who serve in the armed forces? Most important, how can we strengthen the ties between the military and civilian worlds?

Recovering Our Honour is the follow-up to the Gemini Award-nominated series A Question Of Honour, which examined Canada’s foreign and defence policies.


Program 1 – In The Beginning: Citizen Soldier
At a time when the military is largely invisible in much of the country, the Canadian Forces reserves can act as a “positive footprint” for the armed forces in our communities and workplaces. This documentary examines the experiences of reservists – the part-time volunteers who have become the backbone of the Canadian armed forces.





Program 2 – Leadership Lost: No Country For Young Men
Through much of the 20th century, Canadian universities hosted leadership and officer training for the country’s armed forces, helping to forge an important link between the military and civil society. Then, during the social upheaval of the 1960s, these university officer training programs were abolished. This documentary takes a look back at a lost tradition.





Program 3 – Leadership Found: For Queen And Country
While officer training programs at Canadian universities are long defunct, the tradition continues in the U.K., where the Officer Training Corps provides teaching in leadership skills for hundreds of students each year. This documentary asks why the OTC is considered the best club on campus – and whether such a program could work in Canada today.




Program 4 – Leadership Renewed: Bridging The Gap
In the U.S., civil-military relations have reached a crisis point. Most Americans know little about their military, and few members of the country’s leadership class have any experience serving in uniform. The military, meanwhile, sees itself increasingly as a world apart. This documentary asks how the bond between U.S. citizens and soldiers became so badly frayed, and considers one hopeful sign of change: the re-emergence of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which was dropped by many Ivy League schools during the Vietnam era, but has lately been reinstated at elite institutions such as Harvard, Columbia and Yale.



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