WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service today released an Interim Report and hosted a discussion, From Ethos to Action: Every American Inspired and Eager to Serve, on its initial findings following a yearlong tour and asked for more Americans to weigh in on potential reforms to the Selective Service System, and how to increase participation in military, national, and public service before issuing its final report in 2020.
“For the past year, we have traveled across the country to hear from Americans what it means to serve,” said Dr. Joe Heck, Chairman. “We heard from many, but we want to hear from more. Our goal is to create a culture of service, where Americans aspire to serve in some capacity and are aware of their opportunities. We need to break down barriers for those who want to serve.”
This is the first time in American history a commission is tasked with reviewing the Selective Service System, along with military, national, and public service. After a nationwide listening tour across the nine census divisions, combined with meetings with experts, government organizations, and comprehensive research, the Commission’s interim report outlines what the Commission has heard, some of the challenges faced by the Selective Service System, and what it would mean to create a universal expectation of service. The report also provides a snapshot of the policy options the Commission is considering to increase participation in military, national and public service. Some initial takeaways include:
- While some Americans are aware of the details of the Selective Service System and the implications of registration, many Americans are not. Many do not realize the U.S. has a requirement for men to serve the nation if drafted. Further, some Americans are surprised that women are currently neither required nor permitted to register for selective service.
- Americans value service and are willing to consider a variety of options to encourage or require service of all citizens. Many people strongly believe that the United States should pursue a transformative effort to involve more Americans in military, national, and public service. Others do not believe there should be a requirement at all.
The bipartisan 11-member 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) championed the bipartisan commission's establishment to also include a review all forms of service to country: military, national, and public.
The Commission hopes to ignite a national conversation about the ideas of service as it develops recommendations for the American public, the Congress, and the President by March 2020. The Commission invites the public to share comments on its website and join the digital conversation by following the Commission on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.