A New Proposal Could Require Women To Register For The Draft

news

Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A congressionally mandated commission is weighing whether women should be required to register for the Selective Service System, or whether the U.S. needs a draft registration system at all.


The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service, created in 2016, spent the past year reviewing public service options in the U.S., including the armed forces, AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, federal employment and more.

Members released an interim report Wednesday that offers some radical proposals for the Selective Service System, which requires all 18-year-old men to register for a potential draft.

Among the options under consideration is whether women should be required to register, if the Selective Service System could be used to find candidates to fill critical military billets, or whether the system should be scrapped entirely.

The commission is not ready to make recommendations, said panel chairman Joe Heck, a former Republican congressman from Nevada and retired ArmyReserve brigadier general. Instead, its members are continuing to collect information for the final report, due to Congress and the White House by March 2020.

"We want to hear from the American public. What I can tell you, though, as we've gone around the country, people have an opinion [on women registering for Selective Service]," Heck said. "There aren't that many people sitting on the fence. ... They either say it's a matter of equality, or they shouldn't [register] because women hold a special place in U.S. society."

Panel members said that, in visiting 24 sites around the country, they found alarming misunderstandings of military and public service among students as well as shortfalls in civic education -- knowledge they say is essential to raising interest in public service.

According to the panel, young people who receive quality civics education are four times more likely to engage in public service, but education is sorely lacking. One survey said just 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government.

"Civic education is front and center to this," said co-chairman Mark Gearan, who served as director of the Peace Corps during the Clinton administration. Hence, the committee also will make recommendations on how the nation can "reinvigorate civic education."

The most controversial options the commission is weighing, however, are changes to Selective Service and whether universal service -- either military, volunteer national or public service -- should be mandatory.

Members said a mandatory service proposal is unlikely. Heck said that commission members have found that young people "overwhelmingly want to serve, they just don't want to be told to do it."

"We are considering ways which the U.S. could offer universal service opportunities to young people," he said.

But regarding the Selective Service, all options are on the table. Under current law, all men ages 18 to 25 are required to register for Selective Service, a database for the country to draw on in the event of a national emergency requiring a draft. The system dates to 1917 and, while military conscription was abolished in 1973, more than 90 percent of all eligible men are enrolled in the system.

According to Heck, since the intent of the draft was to help backfill combat jobs in the event of a large war, only men were required to register. With the opening of all combat jobs in the past several years to women, however, it made sense to revisit the laws that govern Selective Service.

"Generation Z represents a huge potential for this country, if we can find ways to encourage a greater number of them to serve," he said.

Heck encouraged the public to send comments to the panel and read the interim report via the commission's website.

"This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:

SEE ALSO: Women Are Already In Combat, So Stop Saying They Shouldn't Be In Combat Units

WATCH NEXT: Meet Afghanistan's Female Tactical Platoon

U.S. Marine Corps recruits with Platoon 4030, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, perform rifle manual marching movements during an initial drill evaluation June 25, 2018, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Dana Beesley)

ASPEN -- The Pentagon is recruiting a new cadre of computer geeks to address a threat that the military's top intelligence officer says keeps him up at night.

Read More Show Less

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's ambassador to Britain warned against escalating tensions on Sunday as a UK official declined to rule out sanctions in response to Tehran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Britain has called Iran's capture of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday a "hostile act".

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center via Associated Press)

Step through the Cinder Lake Crater Field roughly 12 miles outside Flagstaff, Ariz., and you might encounter a white crystal-filled rock that has absolutely no business being there.

The chunks of anorthosite weren't deposited there by nature — they were trucked in from the mountains around Pasadena, Calif. And the craters were carved not by meteors, but by fertilizer and dynamite.

Before the first man landed on the moon, NASA dispatched the Apollo astronauts to this volcanic field to search for these and other faux moon rocks.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army)

A soldier who died in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from a non-combat related incident on July 18 was identified by the Pentagon as Sgt. William Friese, a West Virginia Army National Guard soldier assigned to the 821st Engineer Company, 1092nd Engineer Battalion, 111th Engineer Brigade.

Read More Show Less
Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office

A South Florida city founded by World War II veterans wants to make it easier for fellow veterans to park.

The West Miami city commission passed an initiative Wednesday to designate "veterans only" parking spaces in the city, which is nestled between the Tamiami Trail and Coral Way.

Read More Show Less