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Defense Bill May Not Include Provision on Drafting Women

drafting women

By Debbie Gregory.

House and Senate negotiators plan to shelve the provision requiring women to register for the draft in favor of ordering up a study of the issue.

Last year at this time, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the combat exclusionary rule for women and opened up all military jobs to women in the military who qualify. The Senate Armed Services Committee then said that Carter’s action had removed any justification for limiting draft registration to men.

A few months later, Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep. Ryan Zinke, opposed to Carter’s action, introduced a bill titled the “Draft America’s Daughters Act of 2016” that would require women to register with the Selective Service System.

Both Hunter and Zinke said they were opposed to their own bill, but argued that a debate in Congress was necessary on lifting the combat exclusion rule for women.

Carter, the service secretaries, and the service chiefs have made clear that requiring women to register for the draft was up to Congress, and they have yet to voice any opposition to such a move.

President Obama supports requiring women to register for Selective Service when they turn 18. He is the first president to endorse universal draft registration since Jimmy Carter.

Obama believes adding women to the draft would serve two purposes: showing a commitment to gender equality throughout the armed services, and fostering a sense of public service that comes from requiring draft registration as a ritual of adulthood.

“As old barriers for military service are being removed, the administration supports — as a logical next step — women registering for the Selective Service,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for Obama’s National Security Council.

But the timing of Obama’s support makes it mostly symbolic, coming in the final weeks of his presidency.

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Congressmen Introduce Bill to “Draft Our Daughters”

draft

By Debbie Gregory.

Two Republican congressmen, who are both military veterans, have introduced a bill requiring women to register for the draft.

In spite of the fact that Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Ryan Zinke of Montana are opponents of opening up combat roles to women, they introduced “Draft America’s Daughters Act of 2016,” which would require women to register for the draft.

Hunter, a former Marine, and Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, stated that the bill was a response to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s order that all billets in the military, including infantry and armor, be opened to women who qualify.

The bill would “amend the Military Selective Service Act to extend the registration and conscription requirements of the Selective Service System, currently applicable only to men between the ages of 18 and 26, to women between those ages to reflect the opening of combat arms Military Occupational Specialties to women,” according to copy of the text.

Both Hunter and Zinke are likely to vote against their own bill, but said the legislation is aimed at provoking a fuller discussion of Carter’s order.

In a statement, Hunter said, “It’s unfortunate that a bill like this even needs to be introduced.”  He added, “If this administration wants to send 18-20 year old women into combat, to serve and fight on the front lines, then the American people deserve to have this discussion through their elected representatives.”

“I know women play an invaluable role in war. My daughter was a damn good Navy Diver,” Zinke said in a statement. “Many times women can gain access to strategic sites that men never could. However, this Administration’s plan to force all front-line combat positions and Special Forces to integrate women into their units is reckless and dangerous.”

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.