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As National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service Wraps Up, the Effort to Inspire More Americans to Serve Continues

Posted: July 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joseph J. Heck, Chairman of the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service released the following statement as the Commission wraps up its three-year effort: 

“Throughout the Commission's work, we saw firsthand how America's extraordinary and longstanding spirit of service continues to shape the life of our Nation. So much has been accomplished thanks to this spirit of service; yet as a Nation, the United States has not unlocked the full, transformational potential of service in all its forms. We believe that the current moment requires a collective effort to build upon America's spirit of service to cultivate a widespread culture of service—a culture in which individuals of all backgrounds both expect and aspire to serve their Nation or community and have meaningful opportunities to serve throughout their lifetime. 

“Because our broad mandate touched upon the life of every American, we traveled across the country, visiting urban centers, small towns, military bases, government facilities, schools, universities, community centers, faith-based congregations, and many more places across all nine census regions. We sought out views from experts, practitioners, Americans who serve as well as those who do not, and individuals with a diverse range of perspectives and experiences. We heard from passionate advocates on both sides of complex and controversial topics, such as expanding registration for the Selective Service System to all Americans and deliberated those matters with civility and respect.  

“Taken together, our recommendations offer a revolutionary and inclusive approach to service for Americans, beginning with comprehensive civic education and service learning starting in kindergarten, service-year opportunities so ubiquitous that service becomes a rite of passage for millions of young adults, and new and revitalized service options for adults of any age, background, or experience. We envision a common expectation of service among the American people, so that no one is surprised by the questions ‘How have you served?’ or ‘How will you serve?’ 

“We appreciate all those whose commitment to service has made this effort possible. We recognize and thank the many individuals and organizations that have contributed their time, energy, and talent to our work. Chairman Adam Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry of the House Armed Services Committee along with the late Senator John McCain, Chairman Jim Inhofe, and Ranking Member Jack Reed of the Senate Armed Services Committee were instrumental in bringing service to the forefront of public debate.  

“We are proud to see the actions Congress has taken so far, including some of our provisions in the FY2021 NDAA, and the House For Country Caucus Members, who introduced comprehensive legislation that encompasses all of the Commission’s recommendations.   

“Our nation is at its best when we are striving toward shared goals with a common vision. Bringing more people into a service movement that prioritizes security, leverages diverse skills and draws individuals from every slice of American life will provide more manpower to achieve our shared goals, our national security interests, and ultimately strengthen American democracy. 

“Bold action is needed to make sure every American has a clear and supported path to service. The Commission’s tenure will end in September 2020, but our vision will endure: Every American, inspired and eager to serve,” said Heck. 

About the Commission
The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, created in 2017, is the first entity in history charged with conducting a comprehensive and holistic review of all forms of service to the Nation. Recognizing the value in promoting a larger ethos of service in the United States, the late Senator John McCain and Senator Jack Reed championed the establishment of this bipartisan 11-member Commission.  

After two and a half years of research, public hearings, and conversations with Americans across the country, the Commission released its final report, Inspired to Serve, to the Congress, the President, and the American people March 25, 2020. With 164 recommendations, the report provides a bold vision and comprehensive plan to reform the Selective Service System and strengthen all forms of service to address critical national security and domestic needs, invigorate civil society, and strengthen American democracy. The Commission’s work will conclude in September 2020.