WILLIAMSBURG, VA -- John Strong, CSX Professor of Finance, has been appointed to a National Academy of Sciences Study Commission to examine prospective changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Commission will review the Postal Service's universal service obligation (USO) and the postal monopoly in the United States, including the monopoly on the delivery of mail and on access to mailboxes.
The service obligation currently is mandated by law and defines the minimum mail service to which each citizen is entitled, including: (1) access to retail services and delivery, (2) frequency of delivery, (3) quality of service, (4) affordability, and (5) range of mail products offered.
Because providing a minimum level of service to every citizen may not be profitable under certain conditions, a USO is generally financed by granting exclusive rights to the postal administration to provide selected services, i.e., a postal monopoly. Over the last ten years, many countries, mostly in Europe, have begun to reduce the postal monopoly while at the same time ensuring some minimum level of service for each citizen.
The Study Commission will analyze the changing postal environment and recommend potential changes to the universal service obligation and postal monopoly in the United States.
The study will focus on three broad topics: the historical perspective of the USO and the monopoly in the United States and how these aspects of the postal service have evolved over time to meet the country's needs; the social and economic impacts of potential changes in the USO/monopoly on particular population subgroups; and the societal impacts for the country as a whole of potential changes in the USO/monopoly.
Strong has had previous appointments to National Academy of Sciences committees on aviation and road safety topics.
The National Academy of Sciences was founded in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. As part of the National Academies, the National Research Council's mission is to improve government decision making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology, and health. The National Academies are intended to provide elected leaders, policy makers, and the public with expert advice based on sound scientific evidence. This advice is made possible by 6,000 of the world's top scientists, engineers, and other professionals who volunteer their time without compensation to serve on committees and participate in activities.