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National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service Launches Effort to Inspire More Americans to Serve

Posted: January 18, 2018

Washington, D.C. (January 18, 2018) - Today the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service formally launched a two-year effort to encourage and inspire more Americans—particularly young people—to serve their communities and country and strengthen American democracy.

Congress created the temporary federal agency to review the military selective service process and consider methods to increase participation in military, national, and public service. In the coming months, the bipartisan, 11-member Commission will visit locations across the nation to hear from the public on these important issues. The Commission will draw from the public’s views as it develops a report for Congress, the President, and the American people. The report and accompanying legislative recommendations are due by March 2020.

“When Jack Reed and I led the effort to establish this Commission, we hoped it would be a catalyst for an important national conversation on military and public service,” said U.S. Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Our nation is at a crossroads, and we must decide how we want to foster a culture of service among American men and women from all walks of life. I encourage everyone with an opinion to share their views with the Commission as it develops its recommendations.”

“The importance of this Commission's work and mission cannot be overstated,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We, as a government, must invest in our public servants. This Commission's efforts will develop effective ways to increase participation in military, national, and public service for both men and women, ultimately strengthening our communities, and the nation.”

The Commission brings together national leaders with diverse experiences in the military, government, private, and nonprofit sectors. It is chaired by Dr. Joseph Heck, Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserve and former Member of Congress from Nevada. Debra Wada, former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and Mark Gearan, former Director of the Peace Corps, serve as Vice Chairs. A full list of Commissioners and their biographies can be found here.

“Our nation is at its best when we are striving toward shared goals with a common vision,” said Dr. Heck. “The Commission seeks to ignite a national movement that will lead, ultimately, to every American being inspired and eager to serve.”

At today’s launch, more than 100 service leaders from the military, Congress, federal agencies, think tanks, nonprofits, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, the Peace Corps, military and veteran service organizations, and the private sector heard from experts and practitioners about the importance of service and ways to get more Americans involved. A Delaware National Guard veteran described how his AmeriCorps service gave him the skills, knowledge, and experience to get a job he loves and the inspiration to continue serving others.

The Commission wants to hear from the public about motivations, incentives, barriers, and benefits of service. It will use a variety of methods to gather and assess information, including visiting locations across the country for public conversations and events. The first public conversation will take place February 22-23 in Harrisburg, PA. The public can submit ideas and comments through the Commission’s website at or on Facebook

Through these and other efforts, the Commission hopes to ignite a national conversation around the value and importance of service and develop recommendations that will encourage and inspire all Americans to serve.