BY GEN. (RET.) STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL AND MICHAEL O'HANLON
"Presidential, congressional, state, and local officials should endorse the idea of at least a year of national service, not as a legal obligation, but as an increasingly widespread cultural, political, and moral expectation for all able, young Americans.
The fundamental purpose of such a program would not be to create jobs, or a low-wage pool of laborers for menial tasks. Rather, the main point would be to change the people who undertake it and thus the society in which they live.
The real product of national service, as much as the good work that participants carry out, is the group of alumni that it produces—individuals with increased maturity, civic awareness, and the empathy that comes from working with people from different backgrounds and different zip codes."