Far fewer members of Congress now have direct military experience than in the past. In the current Congress, 91 members served in the military at some point in their lives – the lowest number since at least World War II, according to Military Times. There are more than twice as many Republican veterans (63) in the new Congress as Democrats (28). Equal shares of senators and representatives (17%) have served in the military.
While the number and share of veterans in Congress overall have decreased, the newly elected freshman class includes 15 such lawmakers.
Looking at the longer term, there has been a dramatic decrease in members of Congress with military experience since the late 20th century. Between 1965 and 1975, at least 70% of lawmakers in each legislative chamber had military experience. The share of members with military experience peaked at 75% in 1967 for the House and at 81% in 1975 for the Senate.
While relatively few members of Congress today have military experience, an even smaller share of Americans do. In 2018, about 7% of U.S. adults had military experience, down from 18% in 1980, not long after the end of the military draft era.