Reed Statement on Commission’s Ideas to Strengthen American Democracy Through Service
Commission’s Preliminary Report Puts Public Service Debate on National Agenda
WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to encourage and inspire more Americans to serve their communities and the nation, the independent National Commission on Military, National and Public Service has spent the last year researching barriers to service, reviewing the military Selective Service System, and ways to increase participation in military, national, and public service.
Today, the Commission released an interim report outlining a range of options and ideas for promoting a culture of service and potentially changing the Selective Service System.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, who, along with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) led the effort to establish the Commission as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), applauded the commission’s bipartisan spirit, public outreach and engagement, and commitment to sparking a national dialogue on the future of service and its role in our democratic society. Senator Reed stated:
“I commend Chairman Heck and the Commission on a great start. I think this report will help spark national dialogue and debate that will lead to lasting, structural reforms and promote opportunities for expanding military, national, and public service. It advances the ideal that there should be both an expectation and an opportunity for everyone to serve.
“This preliminary report offers an analytical framework to examine and explore potential options that can be assessed in greater detail.
“While many are focused mainly on the Commission’s work with regards to the Selective Service and whether all Americans should be required to register, I believe the Commission’s proposals concerning national and public service could lead to lasting and impactful changes to the fabric of American society in ways that unite us all more closely. They outline a range of ways to better engage young people, break down barriers to service, increase pathways and opportunities for Americans to serve, and reinvigorate civic education.
“If we continue to have a Selective Service, I believe women must be a part of it. Our military could not function today without women, and that will be increasingly true in the future. In order to remain effective, the military must continue to modernize its equipment as well as its personnel policies.
“Again, this is the beginning of the debate, not the end of the conversation. The Commission must continue to reach out to people all across the country and from all walks of life to seek their input and help guide the decision making process.
“In terms of national and public service, it is crucial that we invest in and revitalize our federal civilian workforce, almost half of which is currently furloughed or working without pay.
“I encourage the Commission to continue to be bold and work inclusively. And I encourage Americans to make their voices heard and provide the Commission with feedback and ideas.
“Ultimately, this is about strengthening our communities, the nation, and our democracy itself.”
The Commission welcomes comments from the public on any aspect of the Commission's mission. To share your thoughts with the Commission or learn about upcoming events and public forums, visit: www.inspire2serve.gov