Next week the U.S. will launch a two-year effort to find ways to increase military and civic service among its citizenry, especially U.S. youth.
The effort will be spearheaded by an 11-member commission that will travel the country in 2018 and 2019 “to ignite a national conversation around service and develop recommendations that will encourage and inspire all Americans, particularly young people, to serve. Ultimately, the goal is for every American to be inspired and eager to serve,” the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service said in a press release Friday.
The commission is also charged with reviewing current selective service registration requirements. Its members are tasked with issuing a final report and recommendations on how to increase civic and military participation by March 2020.
One idea tossed out last summer to increase the number of volunteers was to bring back the draft. The overall quality of troops would grow, but costs would also increase.
The 11 members of the commission are: Rep. Joseph Heck, R-Nev.; Mark Gearan, former director of the Peace Corps; Debra Wada, former assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Edward T. Allard III; Steve Barney, former general counsel to the Senate Armed Service Committee; Janine Davidson, former undersecretary of the Navy; Avril Haines, former principal deputy national security advisor; Jeanette James, former staff member of the House Armed Services Committee; Alan Khazei, CEO of Be the Change, Inc.; Thomas Kilgannon, president of Freedom Alliance; and Shawn Skelly, former director, executive secretariat, U.S. Department of Transportation.
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times and author of the award-winning military nonfiction "The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story."