These terms can also be viewed on the 'Lexicon of Service' Page.
‘A La Carte’ System
Under mandatory national service, all of-age citizens will serve without deferments or exceptions. This includes special programs that will provide service opportunities for the physically and mentally disabled. The obvious issue with this is human nature. Human beings don’t like to be compelled to do anything. The simple fix for this problem is allowing every individual to decide how he or she will serve. 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. This feature of mandatory national service is called the ‘a la carte’ system.
Gentrification of the Force
One of the concerns that come 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.
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 with a different name, 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.
According to the American Interest piece, “$5,000 for every baby born in a tax-free account administered by the U.S. Treasury and linked to the child’s social security number. Initially, the account would be held by a government-sponsored entity such as the Government Thrift Savings Program, but it could be rolled over by the child’s parents or legal guardians into a government-approved financial institution, which would manage the account similarly to a Roth IRA.
Parents and other relatives and friends of the child could contribute post-tax earnings to the account annually, as for 529 education plans. Parents would have legal custody over these accounts, but no one could touch the funds until the child turned 18 and performed a full year of national service.
If the service requirement is met, the Federal government would not assess taxes when the recipient withdrew funds. An “asset waiver” would also protect the account, preventing the income from being counted toward means testing for financial aid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Medicaid. This is necessary to ensure that lower-income families and individuals are not penalized for building personal assets. The program would provide a baseline benefit for everyone who serves, but also provide additional benefits for military service to acknowledge the greater sacrifice of those who serve in the military. Here, in brief, is how it could work.
Individuals would earn access to the funds (the initial investment, plus any family contributions, plus tax-free market return on the investment) by performing national service in one of several categories outlined below. In addition to the service requirement, we would further restrict withdrawal of the funds to pre-approved purposes such as paying for higher education, buying a home, starting a business or non-profit organization, or opening a retirement investment account—all key elements of the American dream. Individuals who choose not to serve by age 28 could recover any money deposited into the account above the Federal service bond and the market return earned on their deposit, but they would have to pay taxes on it. The initial service bond investment and all related earnings accrued on it, however, would be forfeit. That money would be returned to the government to be used to start new accounts for other newborns: a $5,000 NSADA that had grown for 28 years at 7 percent would be worth more than $33,000, enough to create six new accounts.”
We are talking about a significant amount of money, particularly for those in America without access to equity at a relatively young age. If an initial account is valued at $5,000 and returns 7 percent on the investment, it would be worth more than $18,000 at age 19 (Figure 1). If parents and other individuals contributed additional funds to these accounts, the value of the investment could grow much larger. Some service participants might choose to roll-over their earned investment into a 401(k) or an IRA to jumpstart their retirement savings. Starting with a $5,000 service bond, augmented by just $2,000 per year until age 65, a national service participant could acquire a retirement nest egg worth nearly $3 million."
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.