Lexicon of Service

‘A La Carte’ System

The ‘A La Carte’ System is simply letting people choose how they will fulfill their national service obligation.  For example, a young person (upon graduation from high school or maybe as part of high school) will look at a list with dozens of national service opportunities, and he or she might choose to work for the US Forest Service, or the military, or the Peace Corps, etc.  Several countries in Europe that practice National Service don’t allow this type of individual choice. 


A person who serves in the military without the intent of making it a career; the opposite of a professional soldier

Civil Service Veteran

A person who served the Nation by working for a government agency (federal, state, or local) other than the military

Full Citizen

A citizen who has proven his or her commitment to the Nation and his or her fellow Americans through service

Gentrification of the Force

One of the concerns that comes with a Voluntary National Service Act is the potential difficulties it could create for military recruiters by increasing the competition in attaining young people who are willing to serve the country.  Ideally, volunteer national service will increase the pool of young people willing to serve so there will be no negative impact on military recruiting, but no one can be sure of that.  After all, if one can get service recognition and college money by joining AmeriCorps for a year or two, why risk getting shot at in the military?  If this does become an issue, the simple solution is to add further incentives to military service.  That being said, money is not the complete answer.  Giving enlistment and retention bonuses does little to attract, and more importantly keep, quality men and women for the military.  In the case of retention, many of the more capable officers and NCOs leave the service anyway, because the economic opportunities they have outside the military supersede a one-time bonus.  Money doesn’t motivate good military people anyway.  The prime reason many quality military people leave the service is that they’re just plain fed up.  ‘Gentrification of the Force’ is a better way of addressing this.  Under a gentrification program, all enlisted men and women would be offered free undergraduate college educations sometime after they achieve the grade of E-6.  Time would be set aside in their career tracks to facilitate this and earning a degree would be expected to attain senior ranks.  In the case of officers, all would be offered free graduate level education sometime after achieving the grade of O-3, and just like with the enlisted, degree completion would be a prerequisite for attaining higher rank.  A gentrification program would not only provide formidable personal incentive to join or stay in the military, but it would significantly raise the bar of performance for all military people, creating a professional work environment that would be hard to outdo outside of the military.

Mandatory National Service

A program of National Service in which everyone is obligated to serve

Military Service Veteran

A person who performed national service in the military

National Service American Dream Account (NSADA)                                                                                
The NSADA is a type of “service bond” proposed in the January-February edition of American Interest Magazine.  Unlike regular “service bonds,” which would simply be US Treasury savings bonds issued as an incentive for someone to serve the Nation, a NSADA is money that the federal government invests in the free market on behalf of an American citizen when he or she is born.  What makes this money a ‘service bond’ is that the individual citizen can not have it until he or she performs national service. 

National Service Obligation

The unspoken obligation of all American citizens, naturalized or native-born, to serve and support the Nation with the intent of making provision for the rights and freedoms that we all enjoy

Non Serviam

“Non serviam” is Latin for “I will not serve.”  It is a reference to 17th-century English Poet John Milton’s epic masterpiece “Paradise Lost.”  According to the poem, the devil was thrown out of heaven because of he was no longer willing to serve.  When an American citizen refuses to render any service to the Nation, he or she is said to be committing, “non serviam.”

Service Bond

A US Treasury savings bond issued by the Federal Government when an individual is born and set aside as a reward when that individual performs National Service  


A citizen currently performing some kind of National Service

Social Service Veteran

A person who performed National Service in an agency or organization not part of federal, state, or local government  This implies a service duration of at least 1 year.

Trinoda Necessitas

Trinoda Necessitas is Latin for three-fold tax, but it isn't a reference to money paid to the State.  It is a reference to the civic obligations of the subjects in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of medieval England.  All subjects were required to help build roads and fortifications, and to serve in the militia.  Trinoda Necessitas evolved into the militia system of colonial America, the Militia Act of 1792 passed by the 1st US Congress, and the modern Selective Service System that is responsible for administering a military draft.

Universal Military Training (UMT)

Universal Military Training is a form of National Service currently practiced by Switzerland and Sweden, and seriously considered by the United States at the end of World War II, in which every young person ( or at least every of age male) is required to undergo military training as a contingency for a major conflict or disaster.

Universal National Service

Universal National Service is the term for a program of voluntary or mandatory national service in which every of age person in the Country performs a type of National Service.

Vested Enfranchising                                                                                                                                                                       
Vested enfranchising is a theory of suffrage in which the right to vote and hold public office must be individually earned.  In Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel, Starship Troopers, vested enfranchising is the cornerstone principle of the society he depicts.  Under a program of mandatory national service, the question is what happens when an individual commits Non Serviam (Latin: I will not serve).  The answer is that individual will not be allowed to vote or hold public office.  The logic here is that this individual demonstrated that he or she has no concern for the greater society, and therefore should not be allowed to make decisions on behalf of the greater society.
Vested enfranchising would also apply to immigrants who are seeking citizenship.  The benefit of vested enfranchising as a component of national service is it offers immigrants a clear and unobstructed path to citizenship.  Vested enfranchisement also eliminates old restrictions tied to birthright enfranchising, such as you can not be President unless you are born here.

Voluntary National Service

A program of National Service that relies on Serving-Citizens volunteering to serve and encouraged to do so through various incentives, rather than Serving-Citizens obligated to serve through mandates