Obama Wants Women to Register for Military Draft Just Like Men

Obama Wants Women to Register for Military Draft Just Like Men

President Barack Obama is currently backing legislation that would require women to be subject to the military draft as soon as they turn 18. If the bill passes, the president would be the first U.S. commander-in-chief to adopt universal draft registration since Carter’s era.

Ned Price of the National Security Council said Thursday women should register for the Selective Service just like men do. Price explained ‘old barriers for military service’ are no longer in place so drafting females is just a ‘logical next step.’

Drafting Women in Line with Gender Equality

Over the last eight years, Obama administration had a neutral tone when discussing the controversy. However, Obama’s recent support comes one day before the House will decide the fate of a defense bill that prohibits a Senate-backed provision for universal Selective Service.

Congress calls for a commission to decide whether armed forces should draft women and the Selective Service, which is a WWI relic, should be abolished. Under current law, women including those who identify as men or had sex change surgery do not have to register.

Obama administration underlined that the outgoing president backs an all-volunteer military force. However, Obama thinks adding females to the draft would be in line with his administration’s gender equality policies. Also, drafting women as soon as they turn 18 would equal a ritual of adulthood.

On Thursday, the Defense Department expressed support for the proposal.

“It makes sense for women to register for Selective Service just as men must,”

a Pentagon spokesperson said.

Women in the Military

Several months ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted the ban on combat positions to women. Carter argued that having more women in the military would give the U.S. army access to the most qualified people.

After Carter’s move, women became eligible for over 200,000 combat roles in the Marine and Army infantry. It is not the first time women will assume a combat position. According to the department, 280,000 female soldiers took part in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars out of a total of 2.5 million troops. Of these, 950 women have had injuries and 152 died.

The Armed Services Committee’s top Democrat Sen. Jack Reed welcomed the proposal. He described the barriers for women in the military as purely ‘arbitrary.’ Reed thinks the Selective Service is outdated since it requests only men to register. He also thinks the country cannot achieve true equality under the current recruiting system.

The Service Women’s Action Network said a universal draft would improve national security. The group’s COO Kate Germano, who is a retired military officer, argued that excluding women would mean lesser qualified men fill their positions.

It is worth noting that the army hasn’t drafted anybody since the mid-1970s. And the last man who was subject to the military draft retired several years ago.

A universal draft would have far-reaching consequences for both men and women. The U.S. government can strip Americans who decline to register off their federal student loans along with other benefits. Immigrants who fail to register may never achieve citizenship. About 75% of U.S. states require Selective Service registration for a driver’s license.
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