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Lawmakers Look To Allow Women To Sign Up For The Draft

As part of the National Defense Authorization Act bill, the Senate incorporated a measure that would force women who are 18 years and older as of Jan. 1, 2018 to sign up for the Selected Service System. (Courtesy: MGN Online)

Women may soon have to sign up for the draft if the U.S. Senate has their way. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act bill, the Senate incorporated a measure that would force women who are 18 years and older as of Jan. 1, 2018 to sign up for the Selected Service System. However, the NDAA version that was passed in the House does not have this item included in it.

Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis says the reason why he and his colleagues didn't include this measure in their version of this bill is because of their concerns with the Selected Service System. With the massive influx of people who would be soon entering the system, if this measure were to pass, they fear the agency would not be able to handle them all.

Currently, men between the ages of 18 and 25-years-old are required to register for the draft. Women were not allowed to register due to a 1981 Supreme Court ruling that said since women do not serve in front line combat that they did not need to register. However, with the Secretary of Defense opening up all combat and front line roles to women back in December, the debate about forcing women to sign up has spurred up again.

Congressman Davis has said before that if this kind of measure were to go through, a review of the Selective Service System needs to happen first.

"If we have a national emergency, do we really think that the Selective Service is going to have the most up-to-date way of contacting anyone who could or would be willing to serve and be drafted into our military? No. We are going to go to a federal agency that has the most up-to-date information."

A spokesperson for the Selected Service System sent the following statement, reacting to the recent debates in Congress;

"As you may know, the House of Representatives recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 which does not include the registration of females with the Selective Service System; however the Senate did include this provision in its version. Consequently, the two bills must go to conference to work out the differences. The conference committee gathering is not scheduled. Because Selective Service is already registering men ages 18 through 25 today, it can register women if authorized by law and provided with some modest resources -- about 39 additional full-time employees and approximately $8.5 million dollars. Selective Service is a service organization and performs the tasks given it by the President and Congress; policy decisions are the domain of our elected officials."

Again, if this measure were to be implemented it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2018. Women who are already over the age of 18 before this measure was put in place would not have to sign up.

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