In the Arena

McChrystal’s New Mission

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Steven Senne / AP

General Stan McChrystal made an important statement in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

He announced an ambitious new plan for serious national service. The plan—the Franklin Project—was hatched under aegis of the Aspen Institute and it’s about the best I’ve seen in many years of lobbying for a robust form of service—and I make a distinction between service, which is full-time, tough and challenging, and volunteerism, which is admirable but not all-consuming.

In the coming weeks, I’ll elaborate on the many reasons we need a rigorous progam to provide a coming-of-age ritual that will transform boys and girls into men and women (and it’s especially important for boys). There will be a summit to discuss the implementation of the Franklin plan in late June.

For the moment, congratulations are in order for McChrystal who, I’m told, has been pushing for the most intense form of service in the Franklin Project’s internal deliberations. This effort is, I believe, crucial to the future of our democracy.