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September 12th, 2014
09:26 PM ET

Stanley McChrystal: Young Americans should be expected to do a service year

President Obama and Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush honored AmeriCorps, the volunteer program supported, in part, by the U.S. government.

Nearly a million Americans have volunteered through AmeriCorps in its 20 years of existence. In interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, retired General Stanley McChrystal spoke about national service and his plan to have every young American spend a year serving their community.

McChrystal tells Burnett that right now, we have an opportunity to change how young adults view citizenship.

CLICK HERE for more on the Aspen Institute Franklin Project.

The Franklin Project envisions a future in which all young Americans are asked, “Where did you serve?” and can answer with pride.  National service would be voluntary, but expected, in the military or as a civilian for a full year or more at modest pay, and a rite of passage for every young American.


Filed under: News • OutFront Exclusive
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Larry

    Agreed. Citizens both male and female should be required to do service.
    Though I've been somewhat of a rebel in my service... I can say that when it came time to retire; they did mandatory hires across large swaths of govt... which resulted in less than ideal people being hired. When they asked me to sign statements upon getting out; I just calmly threw out the part about discussing classified material. I find it remarkable; that enlisted are treated like dirtbags. Even the new civilian janitor has more respect than an enlisted man. Think about it; you don't hear officers having problems with pay and medical. They promote fairly easily; because I've trained them. Say it takes 6-9 months to train an enlisted person who is very bright a qualification. You're forced to push threw an officer in a couple weeks; even though they have no fckg idea what they are doing. An enlisted member has to fight the VA; think that happens to officers. Take supplemental insurance funded by private corporation. The payout to doctors is infinite. But a service man that is enlisted; it's set at 115 percentage by congress. Honestly, hospitalization is pure crap; medicare is far superior (unless it's a low cost deal). Yes,... all americans should serve. No children should be given cushy jobs to just further their political career later in life. I'm thinking about the royal family of England and even our last Bush (asking a lot here). How many people do you see in a USO. You will not find any girls there; or cookies. The best we can muster... is a lapel pin supporting troops; so that people can brag. But they have no fckg idea what is going on in the world. The elite in this country don't give a rats hole about our service men. They just pass laws to spend money; and then find way to renege later on. It's more about jobs than anything. Which is also a civilian function. Is it all bad... no. But it would be much better with equality and mandatory service.

    November 11, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Moderators? The free press?

      November 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  2. joe doe

    So yes
    Early barbarix tribal life existed in EU
    darkers lands with no real nations or free ideas – Mieszko I picked up and took a sword to EU and western nations
    old roman empires etc..........
    with time a lot had gotten better
    So darker EU was an issues
    the issues with us or you here is you are becoming darker nations on your free choice and
    what they spend centuries of fighting for
    what you where given
    you are willing to give that away by your choices
    thats is retard is you asked me

    September 15, 2014 at 8:18 am | Reply
  3. joe doe

    and
    how would i know it is what you are doing ?
    it is only a hunch i have

    September 15, 2014 at 7:40 am | Reply
  4. joe doe

    well service starts by
    sobriety and drug free choices
    then family and responsibility
    then
    recognizing changes and voting to adapt to them
    to survive with time
    * help the world by helping self first
    ** fight war lords , terror, hate by not becoming them
    solve global conflicts by not developing them inside nation
    **** what is out there will always be there
    you can help when you can
    but start doing everything or all at home

    September 15, 2014 at 7:37 am | Reply
  5. Joey at Purdue Univ

    I mean, not to tout a private sector solution, but a lot of companies will cover the cost of you spending a couple hours a week, for example, to volunteer at an elementary school. You show the discipline to do that every week, and it adds up.

    September 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Reply
    • Joey at Purdue Univ

      (And it puts a notion in the kids' heads that they can have a good job and nice things and take vacations to faraway places for fun, if only they work hard enough at the reading or math exercises you're making them work on. That's one of the few advantages the corporate volunteer is gonna have in that situation, provided that the keep showing up enough to build those relationships.)

      September 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • Joey at Purdue Univ

      I will say that you've not lived until you've demonstrated, for a classroom of 2nd graders, the flight pattern from Indianapolis to Toronto to Rome to Addis Ababa to Lusaka. However, the globes they have are pretty old and missing whole countries (i.e. South Sudan), so we as a society still gotta lot of work to do.

      December 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Reply
    • Joey at Purdue Univ

      "If I had taught before I had written a book, I may have never written books." (Maya Angelou)

      January 7, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  6. Vincent Cannon

    Gen. McChrystal comments on getting young Americans to serve is great idea. I believe the Gen. said that we could tie the serves into grants that could be used to pay tuition. We are hearing many many college graduates have racked up hundreds of thousands dollars in college loans. I think we should these loans in the program. This is a win for all. The individual will be able to pay down a good part of their loan, gain real life / work experience to help them get a job when their commitment is up and the country will benefit from their serve.

    September 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Reply

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