Publication details

Battling Defense Austerity Cuts With the COVID-19 Crisis Response? The Czech Army's Online Public Perception



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Armed Forces & Society
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords defense budget cuts; public perception; COVID-19; Czech Army; case study; mixed-methods design; social media analysis
Description The COVID-19 pandemic has forced militaries worldwide to join the fight. Numerous (e.g., British or Czech) armed forces seized the opportunity to propagate their domestic pandemic mitigation activities to improve their public image. However, defense budgets are usually cut first in times of crisis. Such cuts, or the mere threat of them, can have severe strategic and national security ramifications. This research, both exploratory and explanatory, investigates how military crisis-relief activities and their online propagation can muster public support against austerity cuts. It employs mixed-methods analyses of more than 160,000 posts and comments from the Czech Army's Facebook page case study from January 2011 to January 2021. The study concludes that the Army's propagation of information about its participation in pandemic mitigation induced positive feelings significantly more than the other content. Moreover, despite unpopular measures (e.g., lockdowns and policing), the Army's efforts mobilized online public opposition to the austerity cuts.
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