Stanley McChrystal: Public Service Is an ‘Investment in Life’

[ 0 ] May 31, 2015 |

Since the end of the Army draft, it seems like fewer and fewer people have public service experience under their belt. Retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Director of the Joint Staff who has served his country for decades is now working on a project with the Aspen Institute to help reestablish the desire to serve in younger generations. Service isn’t just about citizenship and national pride, Stanley says, but also about life experiences that can help later in life.

WATCH as Gen. Stanley McChrystal talks with genConnect about the need for young people to enter public service at the Aspen Ideas Festival, why it’s “easier said than done,” and why more than “one part of America” needs to be involved to really make a difference: 

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franklin_project_logoThrough the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, experts are working to encourage more young people into public service. With the age focus of this project ranging from 18-28, people could serve before, during or after college – and get paid for it..

“Every young person would have an opportunity to do a year – conservation, health care, education, a range of things – of paid national service,” says McCrystal. “This would be an opportunity to grow.”

What someone could learn in public service could be applied to any situation that could be encountered later in life, whether it be personal or work-related. But public service is also for the betterment of our country. The ultimate goal of this project, McChrystal says, is “not only will they contribute to the nation and their other citizens, but also they would come out with an increased concept of what citizenship is and what it feels like to invest in something as important as our nation.”

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So why should college graduate, for one, choose public service over a higher-paying career? “I think you’ll be  better employee if you take a year to do this,” he said. “This would be an opportunity to grow.”

“I think this is a long investment in life,” he adds.

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About Stanley McChrystal: Military official Stanley Allen McChrystal was born on August 14, 1954, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the fourth of six children born to Mary Gardner Bright and Major General Herbert McChrystal. Stanley's father was a two-star [...]
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