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Air Force Secretary Weighs in on Women and the Selective Service Law

womeninthe mil

By Debbie Gregory.

Last December, the Defense Department decided to open all remaining gender-segregated combat jobs — about 225,000 — to female troops.

Selective Service law as it is currently written now refers specifically to “male persons” in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law.

For Air Force Secretary Deborah James, there should be no limit to equality in the armed forces, even when it comes to the draft.

James, the Air Force’s 23rd secretary, stated “Very recently, we brought down all remaining gender barriers to all roles in the armed forces. We have equality in armed forces… so it is time for young women to register in the database.”

The U.S. came close to drafting women during World War II, when there was a shortage of military nurses. However, there was a surge of volunteerism and a draft of women nurses was not needed.

In recent years, the Pentagon has worked to fully integrate women into front-line and special combat roles, from which they were previously barred.

In 2014, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said, “As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”

The next challenge James faces is retention, on she says can be met by developing recruits, inspiring them, and creating a culture of “dignity and respect for all.”

The Air Force needs to continue its fight against sexual assault, she said, and ensure proper pay and benefits that are comparable to those offered in the civilian labor force.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Will Women Soon Be Subject to the Draft?

draft women

By Debbie Gregory.

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s attempt to take a stand against women in combat backfired.

Hunter (R-CA), who is against integrating combat forces, proposed opening up the Selective Service to include women. “This is about a big war, meaning when you have tens of thousands of people dying — tens of thousands — that is when you have a draft,” he said. But he also vowed to vote against his own proposal.

Last December, the Defense Department decided to open all remaining gender-segregated combat jobs — about 225,000 — to female troops.

Selective Service law as it is currently written now refers specifically to “male persons” in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law.

The proposal garnered enough support for female integration that members of the House Armed Services Committee voted in favor of opening the Selective Service and the draft.

The Selective Service measure is now part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. If passed by Congress, for the first time in our nation’s history, women aged 18-26 would be required to register for the draft,  and could be forced into combat.

The U.S. came close to drafting women during World War II, when there was a shortage of military nurses. However, there was a surge of volunteerism and a draft of women nurses was not needed.

“I actually support your amendment and will be delighted to vote for it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). “If we want equality in this country, we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, we should be willing to support a universal conscription,” she added.

Retired Navy SEAL Rep. Ryan Zinke, (R-MT) and Hunter have been trying to build opposition to female integration since they introduced the Draft America’s Daughters Act, a bill that is the same as the amendment.

But political momentum appears to be building behind integration and changes to the draft system.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.