To Sen. Mike Lee, the battle over whether women should have to register for a draft that does not exist is more consequential than it sounds.
Though the U.S. has had an all-volunteer force since 1973, some Republicans are using this year’s defense policy bill to try to require women to sign up for the Selective Service System, compelling them to serve in the military if a draft were ever reinstated.
Supporters of the provision of the National Defense Authorization Act expanding Selective Service to women are doing so in the name of inclusivity, arguing that if women are able to serve in combat—which they can—they should naturally be eligible for the draft if it were brought back.
But as senators debate the annual defense policy bill this week, conservatives like Lee are fighting back, arguing that forcing women into the Selective Service would actually restrict their freedoms.
“It’s one thing for women who want to be in combat and have earned it to do that, but forcing women to fight is a totally different matter,” said Lee, R-Utah, in an interview with The Daily Signal.
This has nothing to do with opportunities for women in the military. This has to do with whether we should put women in a position where they are forced to register for the Selective Service, and when you are doing that, you are submitting them to a future draft. That’s a totally different question and that’s a question that has yet to be adequately studied or considered by Congress in a manner I think it deserves. My amendment preserves choices that women currently have—choices that would be taken away if the language in the base bill were to become law.
Lee wrote an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would remove the provision that requires women to register for the Selective Service. The amendment also forces the Pentagon to prepare a report for Congress by July 2017 about whether the Selective Service is even necessary and if registration should be required regardless of gender.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.