Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
It’s Time We Require Women To Register For The Draft
Now that the Department of Defense has officially opened all combat jobs to women, the requirement for women to register for the Selective Service — the draft — is likely inevitable.
All U.S. citizens — men and women — should be required to register for Selective Service at age 18. Currently, women are not even permitted to voluntarily enroll.
Allowing women to enroll in Selective Service would require congressional action, and has been addressed by the federal legislative and judicial branches no less than four times since 1981. Each time, the sole objection was that women were barred from combat jobs, a barrier that no longer exists.
Just as excluding qualified women from combat billets was based on antiquated sexist cultural norms, women’s legal exemption from the draft is obsolete. It implies that in the most dire of national emergencies requiring the institution of a draft, women’s military service is not valuable. Yet, women have volunteered in every conflict this country has ever faced. During the Vietnam War, when men were being drafted, more women volunteered to go overseas than the military was able to accommodate. Since then, women have grown to nearly 15% of the all-volunteer force since its inception in 1973.
Members of the federal government from both political parties — from President Obama and Republican members of Congress — have indicated that the Selective Service law should be reviewed. Since 2013, two federal cases have been filed with the complaint that the current Selective Service law is discriminatory on the basis of gender. One of the plaintiffs is a teenaged girl, while the other, ironically, is an historically anti-feminist men’s rights group.
Selective Service forces us to consider the responsibility of fulfilling civic duty. In a previous Supreme Court decision, the late Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote a dissenting opinion stating that barring women from registering for Selective Service, “categorically excludes women from a fundamental civic obligation.”
It’s only a matter of time before the law will change. And it’s unlikely to be as simple as adding “and women” or changing language to “all citizens” within the current law. Congress will have to address what will happen when married couples are drafted. Hardship deferments already exist for those who must care for dependents.
Reviewing the law would also be an opportunity to address other ways that people can serve beyond the military. According to the current law, conscientious objectors who are drafted will still be required to serve, but will be placed in noncombatant roles serving in their local communities in jobs in “conservation, caring for the very young or very old, education, and healthcare.” A new law could add additional categories of public service, and even provide exemption to those participating in other critical service programs, such as Teach for America, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps.
Barring women from registration with Selective Service would weaken the military in a time of war by disregarding 50% of the nation’s skills and talent. We have learned in the last 15 years that women’s presence both on the battlefield and in enabler positions is indispensable. In times of national emergency, victory relies not only on brute strength, but on the innovation, intelligence, and critical thinking of all citizens.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.