Military draft for women: New legislation would require women to register for Selective Service alongside men

WASHINGTON – A U.S. Senate committee has approved legislation that, if enacted, would require young women to apply for the Selection Service along with men, and in the rare event of war or emergency. other national level, will be drafted for the first time in national history.

During the Vietnam War – from 1964 to 1973 – nearly 2 million people enlisted in the US, according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Soon after, in 1973, facing a wave of opposition to the controversial draft, President Richard Nixon officially ended his military service and the United States established an all-volunteer force.

But even though the draft is no longer available, most young men, including immigrants, are required to register with the Military Selection Service in the event that they need to be enlisted again. Federal law requires registration when a man turns 18, and immigrants must register within 30 days of arrival in the country.

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The new legislation, led by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, DR.I., will remove any reference to “male” in existing law, so that women have a level playing field.

But not everyone is on board.

Commission member Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has declared his opposition to the measure, writing on Twitter Friday, “American women have heroically served in and alongside our combat forces since Since the founding of the nation – It’s one thing that allows American women to choose this service, but forcing it on our daughters, sisters, and wives is quite another. strongly believe that it is wrong to force women to join our wars, and neither am I.”

Women have served at all levels of the military since 2013 when the Pentagon opened up ground combat positions to them, and advocates of Reed’s law say it’s time for women to sign up, especially especially since the service has changed dramatically. Vietnamese era.

“This is not our grandfather’s army,” a Senate aide close to the matter told ABC News in an interview, noting that if a draft were to come out, today’s demand This is especially true for conscripts with higher education in specialized disciplines, such as those with expertise in cyber, technology and STEM, as well as doctors and lawyers.

“So while a draft is highly unlikely in many of our lives, no draft makes the same physical arguments – all of which are used to argue for a the draft is for men only,” the aide said. “It’s a different world.”

When asked if President Joe Biden supported the change, a White House aide pointed to a September 2020 U.S. Army Officers Association candidate forum in which then-candidate Biden said, “The United States doesn’t need a bigger military, and we don’t need a draft right now… However, I’ll make sure that women are also eligible to apply for the System. Selective Services system so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflict.”

In a Supreme Court case earlier this year, the ACLU challenged the constitutionality of a draft men’s bill, but the acting attorney general pointed to likely action from Congress arguing that the high court delayed making the ruling, which it ultimately imposed. .

The Reed Act is part of a massive defense policy measure known as the National Defense Authorization Act, a very popular law intended to raise wages for the United States military, fund many new military systems, Weapon upgrades and more. It is considered a must-pass law and it is expected that the new selective service requirement for women will still apply, according to an aide.

The Senate nearly passed the legislation in 2017, but instead a national committee was created to study the issue, along with the broader mandate of reviewing the national public service as a whole. .

Last year, the National Committee on Military, National and Public Service backed Reed’s position, and the senator directly derived his current legislation from the committee’s results.

“In considering the question of whether Selective Services registrations should include women, the Commission critically considered a range of insightful ethical, legal, and practical arguments and explored the empirical evidence is available,” the panel’s report read.

“The Commission concluded that the time is right to expand Selective Services System enrollment to include both men and women, between the ages of 18 and 26. This is a necessary and equitable step that enables able to attract the talent of a unified Nation in the concluding report.

Taken together, the Senate aide said, the opinion is, “If we’re going to have a draft – a selective service system – then women must be involved.”

“The recognition is that we may not be drafted, but if we do, then we realize that you can’t fight with one hand tied behind your back,” the aide added.

Additionally, an aide noted, in 2016 when the original idea was being seriously considered, all four service directors testified in favor of adding women.

Congress has for years rejected the idea of ​​compulsory registration for women, but times are changing. The NDAA – with the request in it – passed the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 23 this week.

If the law is still in effect, the measure will take effect one year after the enactment of the new law.

ABC New’ Justin Gomez contributed to this report.

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Huynh Nguyen

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