Next week the House of Representatives in Washington DC will vote on legislation allowing women to sign up for the draft.
Last month, lawmakers passed a vote adding legislation that would allow women to be added to the Selective Service . This in the wake of women serving in all military jobs under this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.The vote passed last month in April with 32 votes in favor and 30 opposed. The 32 votes were cast by 27 Democrats and 6 Republicans, while the 30 opposed votes were cast by 29 Republicans and 1 Democrat.
“I think it’s fair and just,” said Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cadet and SOU student Hanako Jones.
Combat arms jobs such as infantry and Artillery were only open to men, but the ban on women was lifted January of this year by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Women could serve in any other military job at the time. Some have wondered why the law hadn’t changed years ago, and that’s because women couldn’t serve in combat roles at the time.
“…I believe it’s another step forward for women and the pursuit of equality,” said ROTC Cadet Andrew Read.
The Selective Service by law, currently requires all U.S. male citizens and immigrants 18 to 25 to sign up. Males in college needing federal financial aid must also sign up.
Some lawmakers are working to undo the legislation changing the draft for women. Republican Pete Sessions of Texas wrote a statement saying he opposes having “America’s daughters” on the frontlines of wars. He proposed an amendment to change the legislation.
“I think that they might feel that if women were made to sign up that the army would become weak,” said SOU student Hayley Walker. “I think it would happen in any military branch. That men would feel that the branches would become weaker.”
“If women are going to fight for equality on the battlefield, I.E. Combat jobs etc. etc. Then they should be held just as accountable for registering for the draft, as well as PT (physical training) standards,” said Cadet and SOU student Chase Gildea. “If you want equality, it’s all or nothing.
Other lawmakers believe the draft registration should be done away with entirely. Republican Mike Coffman of Colorado, Democrat Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Democrat Jared Pollis of Colorado, and Republican Dana Rohrabacher of California together proposed ending registration back in February. They claim America has a capable fighting force with the all-volunteer military it currently has.
“…I don’t see the draft ever coming back nor do I believe it should,” said Cadet Read. “But it should be something that all Americans should register for when they turn 18 and since women is a serious topic that is and has been discussed for a number of years, this evens the playing field in its own right…”
A 2012 Government Accountability Office report found the Selective Service can’t deliver troops within 193 days of its goal were the draft initiated, and that the cost would be $465 million when its current budget is $23 million.
The group of lawmakers trying to end the draft registration believe were the United States attacked, both men and women would volunteer to defend the nation.
“It’s the citizen’s duty to serve, and being a woman doesn’t exclude you from that,” said Cadet Jones.
The draft was last used during the Vietnam War and was widely believed to disproportionately affect the poor many of whom were young men of color who could not get college deferrals.