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National Commission Explores the Civil-Military Divide and Other Military Service Policy Options at Hearings

Posted: May 21, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service held two hearings on May 16 on the topic of military service.

The first hearing addressed the challenges to recruiting and retaining critical skills and talent under the military’s current personnel management system and discussed options to create new pathways to military service. The second hearing explored how the nation can create more awareness of military service, particularly among young Americans, and how to lessen the divide between the military community and society.  

“Many young Americans are not eligible to join the military – under current standards, approximately 71 percent of Americans ages 17 through 24 do not meet the qualifications for military service,” said Vice Chair for Military Service Debra Wada. “Furthermore, many who are ineligible for military service are rarely informed about opportunities to serve our country in either national or public service.”

These hearings were held during Military Appreciation Month, leading into Armed Forces Day (May 18), in which Americans thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense in 1949.

READ: Staff Memorandum: Military Service 

Panelists for the hearing, Creating New Pipelines to Service and Fostering Critical Skills:

  • Nicole Camarillo, Executive Director, Talent Acquisition and Management Strategy, U.S. Army Cyber Command
  • Dr. David Chu, President, Institute for Defense Analyses
  • Dr. Sharon Hamilton, Director of Liaison and Military Operations, Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, University of North Georgia (UNG)
  • Katherine Kidder, Political Scientist, RAND Corporation
  • Raj Shah, Co-Founder,

Panelist testimony can be found here.

Panelists for the hearing, Increasing Awareness Among Young Americans and Lessening the Civil-Military Divide: 

  • CJ Chivers, Author and writer, The New York Times, former Marine
  • Dr. Lindsay Cohn, Professor, U.S. Naval War College
  • Ernie Gonzales, former Director Youth Outreach Programs and Senior Policy and Program Analyst for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense   
  • Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director of the International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Mr. Anthony Kurta, Performing the Duties of The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

Panelist testimony can be found here.

The Commission is holding 14 hearings through June 2019. Each hearing provides an opportunity for the Commission to receive testimony on key topics within the Commission’s mandate. Members of the public have an opportunity to provide comments at each hearing following the conclusion of testimony.

The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service is an 11-member bipartisan commission tasked for the first time in American history, with comprehensively and holistically reviewing the Selective Service System, along with military, national, and public service. The Commission hopes to ignite a national conversation about ideas of service as it develops recommendations for the Congress, the President, and the American public by March 2020. The Commission invites the public to share comments on its website and join the digital conversation on service on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram