Women May Be Required To Register For The Draft Sooner Than You Think

news
Capt. Kristen Griest and U.S. Army Ranger School Class 08-15 render a salute during their graduation at Fort Benning, Ga., Aug. 21, 2015.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez

Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.


The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved by a narrow margin an amendment to a defense bill to require women to register for the draft.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, proposed the amendment to lift the restriction on women registering for the selective service at a committee-wide markup session of the proposed fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

"Here is why I think this is important; it doesn't matter in this debate whether you think women should be in the infantry or be in special operations," Hunter said during the session on Wednesday night. "I personally don't. If we had that vote in committee today I would vote against women being in infantry and special operations.

Related: The United States still needs the draft registration »

"But this is not about women serving in the infantry. The administration has made that decision unilaterally disregarding what the Marine Corps and special operations communities have said. But that's not what this is about. Right now the draft is sexist. Right now the draft only drafts young men. Women are excluded."

Hunter went on to explain that his generation has not seen the kind of warfare that requires a draft.

"We have not been in Vietnam or Korea, or World War II, where you have thousands of people a day dying, where you have massed artillery fires, where you have massed tank units rolling through people's lines we have not seen that," Hunter said.

"That is what a draft is for," he added. "A draft is because people started dying in the infantry and you need more bodies in infantry, that is what a draft if for. The administration would like to make this decision on its own. I think we should make this decision."

Hunter, who requested a roll-call vote on the measure, ended up voting against his own amendment. The amendment passed 32 votes to 30 votes, with strong support from female committee members.

The proposal prompted several lawmakers to weigh in on the issue.

Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, made a point in saying the president will not decide on the selective service.

"The only ones who can decide this are us because it is in law or the courts, and there is a court case that is ongoing through the process that challenges selective service being male-only," he said.

"We have a study that requires the defense department to come back to us about the selective service system about what the benefits are, about what the alternatives may be so that we have a fuller picture of the draft and what it would mean to keep it or to do away with it or to include females in it," he added.

Thornberry said he wanted to wait for the study, follow the court case, and explore all the issues.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, thanked Hunter for proposing the amendment.

"I actually support universal conscription; I actually think if we want equality in this, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, we should be willing to support a universal conscription," she said.

Rep. Christopher Gibson, a New York Republican who has been on four combat deployments, said he welcomed the discussion on the draft.

"We have a standards-based force now, but we don't have a standards-based selective service and I think it needs to change, so I plan on voting for it," he said.

Gibson challenged Hunter on his statements that the purpose of the draft is to assign virtually anyone to a direct-action combat unit.

"If we need hundreds of thousands of folks to serve that hasn't changed any reality that we are going to be standards-based as to who is going to be in the infantry and who might be supporting," he said.

"I think what you … might be suggesting is that somehow we are going to draft individuals, whether they be female or male, and we are going to put them into a situation where they can't perform," Gibson said.

Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican from Arizona, said she thinks this is an important discussion, "but I do want to correct my colleague from California, as you painted the picture of the only reason for the draft to go into front-line combat — that is not true," she said. "We all know many people that were drafted in World War II, Korea, Vietnam who served in other positions and not the infantry."

Plenty of jobs in the military may need filling if a draft is put into action, McSally said.

"There could be medical positions; we could need cyber warriors," she said. "There is all sorts of positions that we would need the country ready to mobilize for, so I do think we need to make sure that people understand as we are discussing this, the intent of the draft is not to fill 100 percent of the positions with front-line infantry."

The article originally appeared on Military.com.

More from Military.com:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

Read More Show Less