Legislation to require women to register for the draft moving through Congress
Women could soon be joining the draft if this bill passes.
By Sarah Ulmer
A U.S. Senate member has presented an amendment that would force women to register for the draft.
Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jack Reed (D-RI), brought forth an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require women to sign up with the Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 25. Currently, the U.S. Military only requires men to participate in this draft.
The bill passed the committee by a vote of 23-3 with Senators Hawley (R-MI), Cotton (R-AR) and Warren (D-MA) voting against it. Officially five of the committee’s Republicans voted no to the amendment, which included Senator Roger Wicker, Senator James Inhofe and Senator Mike Rounds. If the current version of the NDAA becomes law, women would be required to register a year from its enactment, according to an article by Roll Call.
Wicker, who has made the NDAA a priority, said he is opposed to this amendment.
“As an Air Force veteran, the father of an Air Force officer, and the son of a World War II veteran, I have enormous respect for the men and women who have answered the call to serve our great nation,” said Senator Wicker. “I support our military’s efforts to offer more opportunities for women who want to volunteer to serve. But when I think of my own daughters and granddaughters, I could not in good conscience support an amendment that would compel their military service.”
A spokesperson for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith said she is currently studying the issue, but is skeptical of the need to expand the Selective Service System.
The NDAA would authorize $777.9 billion for national defense, a number that is $25 billion in total, and $2.5 billion for the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan over President Biden’s budget request. It would also provide a 2.7 percent pay raise for all members of the armed forces.
This is not the first time there has been conversation surrounding women being forced to join the draft. In 2015, the debate on the draft really began. It correlated with the first-time women were able to perform “combat” functions within the military. However, Congress could not decide how to move forward and put together a study committee.
The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service gave a report in 2020 saying that requiring women to register would be a “necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency.”
Many conservatives remain opposed to the idea of women joining the draft.