AIF Blog

A Call to Duty

Jun 01, 2013

Stanley McChrystal Bob Schieffer

During last years Aspen Ideas Festival, Stanley McChrystal, former commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan and of the Joint Special Operations Command, told Bob Schieffer and an audience of nearly 2,000 that national service should be mandatory.

Listen here to Stanley McChrystal's

On May 29, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by McChrystal where he makes the case. “Less than 1% of Americans serve in the military—a historic low during wartime—leading to a broad, complacent assumption that serving the nation is someone else's job," he writes. “As we've allowed our understanding of service to be so narrowly limited to the uniform, we've forgotten Lincoln's audience: With the armies still fighting, the president exhorted a crowd of civilians on their duty to carry forward the nation's work.”

The seed planted at Aspen Ideas has grown into a new initiative at the Aspen Institute. On June 24-25, 2013, more than 200 leaders from around the country will gather to discuss an action plan at the inaugural National Service Summit in Aspen. The summit, part of the Franklin Project's initiative to increase Americans' engagement to serve their community and country. McChrystal will also speak again at Aspen Ideas.