We’re One Year In — What’s Next?

Commissioners of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

On September 19, 2018, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service celebrated the one-year anniversary of its establishment. The bipartisan, 11-member Commission was created by Congress to review the military selective service process and to find ways to increase participation in military, national, and public service. The Commission publicly launched in January 2018. If you missed it, watch it here. Since then, we’ve been on the move.

We visited cities and states across the nation’s nine U.S. Census regions. During our travels, we engaged with a diverse set of Americans across the country. We gathered information and recommendations by hosting public meetings, visiting service sites, talking with Americans of all ages, and meeting with government, nonprofit, military, faith-based, civic and for-profit leaders. We heard about the reasons that motivated people to serve, the incentives that drive folks to service, the barriers that individuals who were interested or hadn’t served encountered, and the benefits those who served gained. Aside from gathering information from Americans of all walks of life, the Commission also conducted an extensive review of the research and met with experts and stakeholders who study and work across all parts of our mandate.

The Commission also hosted public meetings in 2018, which generally included a panel discussion on service, a Q&A session, and time for public comments. These meetings allowed folks to assemble from all over the country to discuss service and our mandate. During our public meetings, the Commission discussed service within faith-based communities, Americans’ current civic duties and responsibilities, and even held a service fair featuring government agencies and local non-profits.

Commission service fair in Los Angeles, CA on September 20, 2018

To listen to our public meetings and public forums, please click the links below:

· Public Meeting: Harrisburg, PA

· Public Meeting: Denver, CO

· Public Forum: Boston, MA

· Public Meeting: Nashua, NH

· Public Meeting: Jacksonville, FL

· Public Meeting: Vinton, IA

· Public Meeting: Chicago, IL

· Public Meeting: Waco, TX

· Public Meeting: Memphis, TN

· Public Meeting: Los Angeles, CA

We also visited the Selective Service System Data Center, military bases across the country, the U.S. Air Force Academy, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Campus, local governments, fire stations, and many more places that gave us insight into the amazing programs already working for people serving the country and their local communities.

For example, the Safe Stations in Nashua, New Hampshire, are helping curb the opioid crisis in their community and Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California, is helping formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women become contributing members of their communities. Initiatives and programs like these are creating service-oriented communities — from which we want the rest of America to draw inspiration and promise.

At the onset of our work, one of the first questions we asked ourselves is how do we as a Commission define “service.” We worked on a common definition to ensure that everyone is on the same page when we talk about service in our work. Service is “a personal commitment of time, energy, and talent to a mission that contributes to the public good by protecting the nation and its citizens, strengthening communities, or promoting the general social welfare.”

While it’s been an eye-opening and educational year, we are just getting started.

Stay tuned for our interim report, which we will release in January 2019, and gear up for public hearings throughout the year. We expect all of you to stay engaged with the Commission and continue to share your input. There’s still so much work to be done before the final report is released by March 2020. The recommendations we share with Congress, the President, and the American public will not just address the current structures but will also anticipate what service will look like in the future.

We are committed to creating a national conversation on service that will ultimately lead to every American inspired and eager to serve. That means we want to hear from you! We encourage you to share your innovative ideas with the Commission through our website, mail, or email. It might just be your idea that we recommend to Congress and the President.

For more information and to stay up to date with the Commission’s activities, please visit our website at www.inspire2serve.gov. Additionally, we invite you to follow the Commission on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Medium and join the digital conversation on service by using the hashtag #Inspire2Serve.