National Service Commitment

An "All volunteer" military selects primarily from a narrow range of demographic groups and creates a professional mercenary class. This poses a long-term threat to civil society and the American Experiment.

There needs to be a national service lottery. It is to be managed by a National Service Board, such board to be subject sufficiently to the processes of representative government. Many details remain to be worked out! But the following is a general idea of how it is to work.

A person must register on turning age 16. In March during the calendar year following the year in which a person turns 16, that person is to be included in the national lottery, the intent of which is to select people required to perform 2 years of national service starting in September of that year. If not selected, the person may volunteer and be treated as if selected. Such volunteers are not to be given special treatment concerning job assignments. Those selected must perform their required national service before the age of 22. Once begun, national service must be completed at the assigned agency or organization, assuming conditions there meet acceptable standards. Particular job assignments within that agency or organization may change.

A person must show up for work on time and exhibit behaviors and appearance typical of a responsible employee. The organization is required to provide adequate and appropriate supervision and discipline, such discipline not to exceed that provided typically for military draftees.

There are to be incentives to encourage people to get their national service done earlier and not put it off. An example would be a cash bonus due after person has served 6 months, such bonus to be less if the person is older. Failure to enter such assigned service by age 20 will be a crime.

Those in such national service are to receive fair wages and benefits, and have hours and working conditions similar to permanent workers in the agencies and organizations to which they are assigned.

All federal, state and local government agencies are to be required to determine tasks and functions which might legitimately be filled by those selected by the lottery. These tasks and roles are to be, as much as reasonably possible, responsible and substantive and to involve work and cooperation with permanent staff. It is not acceptable to shunt people into make-work, turkey farms, "rubber rooms," etc. There is to be a fair review process to deal with those situations in which the work and working conditions do not meet acceptable standards.

Non-profit organizations may apply to have work slots included in the work slot total. Such organizations will be required to meet strict standards established by the National Service Board.

Once the maximum number of possible work slots is determined by the National Service Board, the Board is to determine the number of work slots to be filled in a particular year. This number is to be adjusted so that the probability of a given person being required to perform 2 years of national service sometime between age 16 and age 22 is between 20% and 30%.

Job slots are then to be filled by random selection from the cohort of those who turned 16 in the year prior to the lottery. There are to be strict controls and penalties to prevent favoritism. A particular person might want to work at a particular agency or organization, and be wanted by that agency or organization, but if the person is randomly assigned somewhere else, that's the way it is. Each person selected is to be provided contact and location information, and is to be ordered to contact that agency by the end of April to arrange starting work in September. The agency or organization is to provide a basic but sufficient level of travel expenses such as travel, lodging and food necessary for the person to travel to the work location from the most recent legal residence within the United States.

The person may choose not to start national service that year, but must notify the assigned agency or organization by certified mail by the end of April. Lacking such notification, a person who fails to show up for work in September will be considered AWOL. Hardship exemptions are to be few and far between. In January of the following year, a person who has opted out for the previous year must contact the agency and arrange to arrive that September. If that agency has no work slots available, the person is to be put back into the general pool of people awaiting random assignment.