National service is far from a new concept, but in recent years the conversation surrounding it has picked up momentum. Our panel at the 2021 Milken Institute Global Conference, “National Service as a Springboard to the American Dream,” explores the potential benefits of an expanded national service program for young Americans.

To learn more about the concept and its history, we’ve compiled a brief reading list featuring the leading voices in the movement:

The Promise of National Service: A (Very) Brief History of an Idea

Brookings’s 2003 policy brief on national service is a detailed analysis of its history in the U.S. and its place in recent political conversations. This article offers a shortened version of the full brief and explores how service, both government service and public service, can play important roles in our society. This article analyzes the bipartisan views of what service should mean for the nation.

History of National Service

This article identifies 35 historical moments in national service history. Starting with an idea in 1910, to its initial conception as a program in 1993, the national service has developed into numerous programs which strive to support our nation.

What a Call to Service Could Look Like During a Pandemic

John M. Bridgeland and Timothy P. Shriver are two of the leading voices in the national service movement. In this Washington Post article, the co-authors give their opinions on what a call to service could look like during the global COVID-19 pandemic to aid those in need.

One Year of Mandatory National Service for Every American?

A common debate that arises when discussing the national service is reintroducing compulsory service for each viable citizen. Here, The New York Times explores the argument that each U.S. citizen would be required to serve one year of national service. The argument in favor of compulsory service is based on low recruitment rates and the idea that greater participation will unite the nation in a common experience.