Is Obama’s Community College freebie really a draft into a Civilian National Service?

When I heard that President Obama was going to recommend free Community College – I wasn’t fully surprised. His socialist “Government as daddy” style of governing is nothing new.

But….something kept bugging me about this. And then I knew what it was.

Back in May, I wrote a blog entitled: Push towards Universal National Service: voluntary but an expected rite of citizenship.

I am republishing it below, but let me point out a few things.

The blog post explored the idea of a voluntary National Service in civilian or military service and it questioned the “voluntary” aspect.

A Universal National Service Act introduced in 2013 reads: “To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

Now- let me quote a 2012 piece from the New York Times, entitled, Let’s Draft Our Kids, by Thomas E. Ricks, and reads in part: “IN late June, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, called for reinstating the draft. “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk,” he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.”

NYT DRaft Kids

This was the first time in recent years that a high-profile officer has broken ranks to argue that the all-volunteer force is not necessarily good for the country or the military. Unlike Europeans, Americans still seem determined to maintain a serious military force, so we need to think about how to pay for it and staff it by creating a draft that is better and more equitable than the Vietnam-era conscription system.

A revived draft, including both males and females, should include three options for new conscripts coming out of high school. Some could choose 18 months of military service with low pay but excellent post-service benefits, including free college tuition. These conscripts would not be deployed but could perform tasks currently outsourced at great cost to the Pentagon: paperwork, painting barracks, mowing lawns, driving generals around, and generally doing lower-skills tasks so professional soldiers don’t have to. If they want to stay, they could move into the professional force and receive weapons training, higher pay and better benefits.”

So….is the Obama “freebie” connected to this National Service idea? We shall soon see.

Read my May blog below:

Push towards Universal National Service: voluntary but an expected rite of citizenship.
by Carole Novielli

Aspen festival

A new push by former U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal seeks to force – I mean “obligate” – every young adult into one year of government indoctrination – I mean “service.”


At the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal, Former Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, noted that for first time in history less than 1 percent of Americans are serving in our nation’s military. He called for large-scale national service, either military or civilian. Aspen then created the “Franklin Project,” after Ben Franklin, who believed service by citizens was central to our democracy.

Here is what General McCrystal said at the Aspen Festival:


McCrystal Aspen Festival 2

McCrystal explains, “When we say Universal, we want an expectation. We want..people to get into cocktail parties and talk about ‘where’d you serve?’…And if you didn’t, I kinda want the people who didn’t to look at the floor with embarrassment…I just want service to be something that people feel responsible to other Americans and so I think that the idea that it’s a rite of passage creates and expectation.

According to their Plan of Action– the Franklin Project would make National Service a “New America Rite of Passage

Franklin Project Rite of Passage

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed McChrystal writes:

Here is a specific, realistic proposal that would create one million full-time civilian national-service positions for Americans ages 18-28 that would complement the active-duty military–and would change the current cultural expectation that service is only the duty of those in uniform. At age 18, every young man and woman would receive information on various options for national service. Along with the five branches of the military, graduates would learn about new civilian service branches organized around urgent issues like education, health care and poverty. The positions within these branches would be offered through AmeriCorps as well as through certified nonprofits. Service would last at least a year.

As The Atlantic details, McCrystal subsequently wrote that “instead of making national service legally mandatory, corporations and universities, among other institutions, could be enlisted to make national service socially obligatory.” As he envisions it, “schools can adjust their acceptance policies and employers their hiring practices to benefit those who have served–and effectively penalize those who do not.”

According to their website, the Franklin Project envisions a future in which all young Americans are asked, “Where did you serve?” and can answer with pride.

( For now ) they say that 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.”

Back in January, President Obama called service an obligation, “citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve our communities,” he said during the State of the Union address.

The Franklin Projects explains, Americans can discharge their national service obligation by either serving in the military or as a civilian fulltime for a year or more through programs such as Teach for America, AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. For civilian service, a small living allowance is provided, so that all young Americans have opportunities to serve….We are working closely with the Administration to help federal departments and agencies use national service to meet their missions, such as FEMA Corps. The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, a public-private partnership across 8 public land agencies and the private sector, could achieve significant scale.

So this is voluntary or is it the beginning steps of a compulsory requirement?

In 2013, Rep. Charles Rangel introduced the Universal National Service Act Introduced in the House which, “Declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform a 2-year period of national service, unless exempted, either through military service or through civilian service in a federal, state, or local government program or with a community-based agency or entity engaged in meeting human, educational, environmental, or public safety needs. Requires induction into national service by the President. Allows persons to be inducted only: (1) under a declaration of war or national emergency, or (2) when members of the Armed Forces are engaged in a contingency operation. Requires each person, before induction, to be examined physically and mentally for classification for fitness to perform. Sets forth provisions governing: (1) induction deferments, postponements, and exemptions, including exemption of a conscientious objector from combatant training and military service; and (2) discharge following national service. Amends the Military Selective Service Act to authorize the military registration of females.”

This 2013 bill is a new version of a legislation introduced in 2010 which used slightly different language: “To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.”

Universal National Service

In his Wall Street Journal op-ed, McCrystal agrees with the idea of Universal National Service when he writes, Universal national service should become a new American rite of passage,” he says. “At age 18, every young man and woman would receive information on various options for national service…Instead of making national service legally mandatory, corporations and universities, among other institutions, could be enlisted to make national service socially obligatory. Schools can adjust their acceptance policies and employers their hiring practices to benefit those who have served—and effectively penalize those who do not.”

McCrystan Universal National Service

Whatever the details of a specific plan, the objective must be a cultural shift that makes service an expected rite of citizenship. Anything less fails Lincoln’s test,” he adds.

According to the Plan, the 21st Century National Service System—wherein universal national service becomes a new American rite of
passage and helps confront our nation’s pressing problems—will:

• Link military and civilian service as two sides of the same coin;
• Challenge all young adults (ages 18 to 28) to give a year or more of full-time service to their country;
• Establish national service corps, building on those proposed in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve
America Act, that will unite each generation in common purpose through service;
• Strengthen and expand the existing infrastructure of the Peace Corps, VISTA, AmeriCorps, and other
national service efforts;
• Call upon the private sector, industry groups, and professional associations to take the lead in
supporting and expanding national service corps within their fields;
• Partner with the growing non-profit infrastructure—in colleges, community organizations and faithbased
institutions—and leverage new technologies to embed full-time national service across our society;
• Ask all federal departments and agencies to use civilian national service members to help accomplish
their missions.

In addition, the plan is the centerpiece of the 21st Century National Service System is the mobilization of young people to serve full-time in national service corps and the linkage of military and civilian service in creative new ways. To accelerate the creation of such a system, the plan proposes:

At 18, every American would receive information on options to serve in one of the five branches of the Armed Forces or in a number of civilian national service corps, helping to improve recruitment for military and civilian national service.

Young adults would serve full-time in national service corps. The civilian national service corps would be in areas where full-time civilian national service has been shown to make a significant difference. Young people may apply to serve in any one of a number of national service corps through national service organizations that bring together people of different backgrounds and zip codes to be trained and work together in solving pressing public problems.

In addition to the national service corps,” the plan details,”young people may apply to serve full-time in nonprofits, colleges and universities, and social enterprises that become certified as national service organizations by meeting certain criteria. These criteria include creating full-time national service positions, defining the service work they will perform, providing a living allowance, ensuring to the extent practicable they will maximize diversity across geography, race, ethnicity and income; providing training, and articulating clear outcomes for the service of participants.”

Ok…I have to ask….would this “service” include working at abortion giant Planned Parenthood?

Supporting the project are General McChrystal chairs the Leadership Council, which includes a diverse group of leaders, including Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, Tom Brokaw, David Gergen, Mellody Hobson, Melody Barnes, Barbara Bush, Wendy Kopp, and Wes Moore. John Bridgeland, former White House Domestic Policy Director, and Alan Khazei, City Year Co-Founder, are Co-Chairs, and Jay Mangone, a former Marine and Teaching Fellow at Yale, is Director.

General Stanley McChrystal is the chair of the Aspen Istitute’s Franklin Project .
Patty Gates Franklin Project

Also on board of is Patty Stonesifer the former CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Former Chair, White House Council for Community Solutions

The Franklin Project Leadership Council consists of:

General Stanley McChrystal (Chair) United States Army General (Retired); Former Commander, International Security Assistance Force & U.S. Forces Afghanistan; Author, My Share of the Task

Madeleine Albright Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group; Former U.S. Secretary of State & U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Author, Madam Secretary; Trustee, Aspen Institute

Don Baer Worldwide Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Burson-Marsteller

Melody Barnes Chair, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund; Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives, New York University; Former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council

Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group; Former National Security Advisor

Tom Branen Executive Director, America’s Service Commissions

John Bridgeland Co-Chair, The Franklin Project; CEO, Civic Enterprises; Former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council

Tom Brokaw Former Anchor & Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News; Author, The Greatest Generation, Boom! & The Time of Our Lives

Michael Brown Co-Founder and CEO, City Year

Anna Burger Co-Chair of the Gettysburg Project on Civic Engagement, Senior Advisor to the Democracy Alliance, Roosevelt Institute Director of the Economic Media Project, Former Member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, the Retired Chair of Change to Win and Secretary Treasurer of SEIU

Barbara Bush Co-Founder and CEO, Global Health Corps

Jean Case CEO, The Case Foundation; Former Chair, President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation

Raymond G. Chambers
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Financing of the Health Related Millennium Development Goals & for Malaria; Co-Founder, America’s Promise Alliance; Chair, MCJ Amelior Foundation

AnnMaura Connolly President, Voices for National Service; Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President, City Year

Scott S. Cowen President, Tulane University; Former Member, White House Council for Community Solutions

Maureen Curley President, Campus Compact

Richard Danzig Chairman, Center for a New American Security; Former Secretary of the Navy; Author, National Service: What Would it Mean

John DiIulio University of Pennsylvania, Professor of Political Science, and Former Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Bill Drayton CEO and Founder, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public; Former Assistant Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

Joshua DuBois Former Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

General Ann Dunwoody
U.S. Army General (Retired); Former Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command

Michèle Flournoy
Founder & Co-Chair, Center for a New American Security; Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

General Jack Gardner U.S. Army Lieutenant General (Retired); Former Deputy Commander, European Command

Robert Gates
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Former Director of Central Intelligence; Former President, Texas A&M University

Mark Gearan
President, Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Former Director, Peace Corps; Former White House Director of Communications & Strategic Planning

David Gergen CNN Senior Political Analyst; Director, Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership; Former Senior Advisor to four U.S. Presidents

Elliot Gerson Executive Vice President of Policy and Public Programs, The Aspen Institute; American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust

Michael Gerson Columnist, The Washington Post; Former Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning

Dan Glickman Vice President & Executive Director of Congressional Programs, The Aspen Institute; Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Former Member of Congress (Kansas)

Rob Gordon
Chief Strategy Office, APX Labs; U.S. Army (Ret); Former Deupty Undersecretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy

Eric Greitens
CEO & Founder, The Mission Continues; United States Navy SEAL (Retired); Author, The Heart & the Fist

Stephen Hadley
Senior Advisor for International Affairs, U.S. Institute of Peace; Former National Security Advisor; Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs

Andrew Hauptman
Chairman, Andell, Inc.; Owner and Chairman, Chicago Fire Soccer Club; Trustee, City Year

Mellody Hobson President, Ariel Investments; Chairman of the Board, DreamWorks Animation, SKG

Chris Howard President of Hampden Sydney College, Founder of the Impact Young Lives Foundation & member of the National Security Education Program Board of Directors

Arianna Huffington President, Chair and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post; Author, Fourth Instinct

Jon Huntsman
Former Governor of Utah; Former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore & China

Walter Isaacson President & CEO, The Aspen Institute; Author, Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life & Universe, & Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Benjamin Jealous President & CEO, NAACP; Former Executive Director, National Newspaper Publishers Association; Former Director, U.S. Human Rights Program at Amnesty International

Rosabeth Moss Kantor
Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor, Harvard Business School

Dirk Kempthorne Former Governor of Idaho, U.S. Senator & U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Alan Khazei Co-Chair, The Franklin Project; CEO, The Action Tank; Co-Founder, City Year; Founder, Be the Change

Wendy Kopp Founder & Chair, Teach For America; CEO & Co-Founder, Teach For All; Author, One Day, All Children & A Chance to Make History

Laura Lauder Venture Philanthropist, Lauder Family Foundation; Co-Principal, Lauder Partners LLC, Venture Capital

Mel Martinez Chairman, Southeast and Latin America and Vice Chair, JPMorgan Chase; Former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Zach Maurin Executive Director, ServiceNation

Jamie Merisotis President/CEO, Lumina Foundation

Wes Moore U.S. Army Captain (Ret.); Author, The Other Wes Moore; Host of Beyond Belief, Oprah Winfrey Network

Sam Nunn Co-Chairman and CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Former U.S. Senator of Georgia

Eduardo Padrón
President, Miami Dade College; Chairman, White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Robert Putnam Professor, Public Policy, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government; Author, Bowling Alone, Better Together & American Grace

Lynda Resnick Vice Chairman, Roll Global

W. Taylor Reveley III President, College of William and Mary

Condoleezza Rice Professor & Former Provost, Stanford University; Former U.S. Secretary of State & National Security Advisor; Author, No Higher Honor; Trustee, Aspen Institute

Norm Rice President & CEO, The Seattle Foundation; Former Mayor of Seattle; Former Member, White House Council for Community Solutions

Shirley Sagawa Fellow, Center for American Progress; Former Deputy Chief of Staff, First Lady Hillary Clinton; Author, The American Way to Change

Donna Shalala
President, University of Miami; Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Former Peace Corps Volunteer

Patty Shinseki
Board of Advisors, White House Joining Forces Initiative; Board of Directors, Military Child Education Coalition

Bill Shore
Founder & CEO, Share our Strength; Author, The Cathedral Within

Timothy Shriver
Chairman & CEO, Special Olympics; Chair, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning

Richard Stengel
Former Managing Editor, TIME Magazine; Former CEO, National Constitution Center; Author, Mandela’s Way

Patty Stonesifer CEO, Martha’s Table; Former CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Former Chair, White House Council for Community Solutions

Kerry Sullivan
President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Laurie Tisch
President, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund; Chair Emeritus of the Center for Arts Education and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan; Trustee, Aspen Institute, Whitney Museum, & Lincoln Center

Laysha Ward
President, Target Community Relations and Target Foundation; Board Chair, Corporation for National & Community Service

Harris Wofford
Senior Advisor, The Franklin Project; Former U.S. Senator; Former CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service; Former President, Bryn Mawr College; Associate Director, Peace Corps; Civil Rights Advisor to President Kennedy

Tae Yoo
Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cisco Systems

Alan Khazei Aspen festival

When asked who is going to pay for it, panel member Alan Khazei responded, ” This is an American idea and we believe America should pay for it…if everybody does their share then it can be paid for.

2 Responses to “Is Obama’s Community College freebie really a draft into a Civilian National Service?”

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