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National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service Releases Final Report to Congress and the President

Posted: March 25, 2020

Comprehensive plan with 164 recommendations would expand Selective Service to women, invest in civic education, reform federal hiring, and grow national service

WASHINGTON, D.C.The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service today released its final report, Inspired to Serve, which includes its findings and final recommendations to Congress, the President and the American people about how to modify the Selective Service System and increase participation in military, national, and public service.

Listen to the Commission's press conference recording.

“Service is a fundamental part of who we are as Americans, and how we meet our challenges,” said Chairman Joe Heck. “Inspired to Serve offers a bold vision and comprehensive plan to strengthen all forms of service to address domestic and security needs, invigorate civil society, and strengthen our democracy.”

After two-and-a-half years of research, public hearings, and conversations with Americans across the country, the Commission’s final report contains 164 recommendations addressing civic education, the federal workforce, national service programs, military service, and the selective service system. 

The recommendations include:

  • Expanding civic education and service learning to help ensure young people have the knowledge, skills, and disposition to actively participate in civic life.
  • Creating a White House council to coordinate service efforts across the federal government and launching a one-stop online platform to help Americans find service opportunities.
  • Increasing awareness of the military, enhancing its ability to attract and retain qualified personnel, and narrowing the civil-military divide.
  • Fixing federal hiring practices, engaging the next generation in public service, and empowering agencies to build their workforce to better serve the American people.
  • Raising awareness, strengthening incentives, and significantly expanding national service opportunities so that 1 million Americans participate annually by 2031.
  • Maintaining the Selective Service System to hedge against unforeseen threats and modernizing the system so the nation is better prepared and the public is more aware of their civic duty in the event of a national emergency.
  • Expanding Selective Service registration to women to improves our ability to meet DoD’s personnel needs during a national emergency, strengthening national security, and affirming registration as a common civic duty.

“In the event of a draft, the nation must leverage the skills and talents of all Americans, regardless of gender,” said Vice Chair for Military Service Debra Wada. “Including women in the registration process reaffirms the nation’s fundamental belief in a common defense, and signals that all Americans may be expected to serve.”

“We envision a nation in which service is a common expectation and experience of all Americans - when it is the norm, not the exception,” said Vice Chair for Public and National Service Mark Gearan. “To achieve this vision, Americans need a clear and supported path to service.”

“We call on Congress and the President to invest in the American people and the security of the nation by taking action on this plan,” said Chairman Heck. "Now is the time - and this is the plan - to strengthen service and achieve our vision of every American, inspired and eager to serve.”

The 11-member bipartisan Commission was created in 2017 by Congress amid a debate over whether the selective service registration requirement should be extended to include women. The late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), along with the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, championed the Commission's establishment to also include a review all forms of service to country: military, national, and public. In 2019, the Commission released an Interim Report, sharing what it learned throughout its first year, giving a glimpse of the policy options considered. The Commission also hosted fourteen public hearings and released eight staff memos. The Commission’s work will conclude by September 2020.

The Commission invites the public to continue to engage with them by following them on Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.