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Should Young Women be Required to Register for Selective Service?
12/10/2016 Military Raymond Z
keywords: Draft Women in Combat

Under current law, all young men are required to register for Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. If young men don't “register for the draft” (even though there hasn't been one in over 40 years) they can lose access to student loans, job training and employment with government. Women, however, face no such requirement. There are those that believe they should, including outgoing President Obama.

While a provision requiring such a move was recently stripped from the annual defense policy bill, the President felt compelled to weigh in on the issue. A Fox News report says a White House spokesman said Obama believes that women have “proven their mettle” in recent conflicts and should be included in any future military drafts. The Pentagon apparently agrees. The Pentagon did, after all, open up all military jobs to women, including over 200,000 that were previously available only to men. This included inclusion in special operation forces. But the Pentagon pointed out that physical standards and requirement wouldn't be lowered for women who sought out those positions. Now that seems like equality. But making them register to be forced to serve?

The measure received support from some highly visible Republicans including Senator John McCain. Senator Ted Cruz however, who has two daughters, is quoted in a New York Times article as saying "“The idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls in combat to my mind makes little sense at all."

The President's power on this is obviously diminished. It is a banner he could have been carrying forward in previous years, but instead chose to use it as a discussion starter for the incoming administration and Congress. So the next question is, is this simply symbolic? The follow up question would then seem to be are women somehow insulted they are not required to register with the government on their 18th birthday?

There were thousands of young men who tried to opt out of the last draft that ended in 1973, using a variety of tactics from entering college to getting married to moving to Canada. Would they, today, wish this on their daughters and granddaughters? Is this really about equal rights or is it about an outgoing President trying to cement his legacy? Is it something he really believes in or does it serve to somehow keep him relevant for next year's discussion of the issue?

Let's make a couple of things clear. There is no move to reinstate the draft. There is no pending legislation making the registration of 18 year old women a requirement. It could have been enacted but was taken out of this year's legislation. How important could this have been to President Obama if the only time we hear him weigh in on the issue is after the fact?

Source: Raymond Z

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