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National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service Discusses Universal Service & Mandatory Service at Hearings

Posted: February 21, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service held two hearings on universal service. The first hearing explored ways to inspire universal service across America, including a diversity of options beyond federally-managed programs that support universal participation in service, such as faith-based, community-led, privately-managed, and state-driven models. The second hearing discussed whether Americans should be required to serve in military, national, and/or pubic service.


This reality of ‘a responsibility borne by few’ combined with the increasing polarization and stratification in today’s society has led many to revive the notion of universal service,” said Chairman Joe Heck. “As we traveled around the country and discussed with experts and everyday Americans, it became clear that many Americans are willing to consider a transformative effort to involve more in service. The feedback we heard will help us determine what we recommend to the Congress, the President, and the American public.”


Panelists for the hearing, Inspiring Universal Service Across America:

  • Tom Chabolla, President, Jesuit Volunteer Corps
  • Dr. Robert Grimm, Do Good Institute, University of Maryland School of Public Policy
  • Jeff West, Corporate Responsibility Leader, IBM Corporation
  • Teresa Walch, National Vice President, Training and Quality Improvement, Boys and Girls Clubs of America

Panelists for the hearing, Should service be mandatory?:

  • Doug Badnow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
  • Dr. William Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Ted Hollander, Author
  • Lucy Steigerwald, Author

- How to inspire universal service across America.
- Should service be mandatory?


The Commission will hold 14 hearings between now and June 2019. Each hearing will provide 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