Congressional Commission Finds It 'Necessary and Fair' for Women To Be Made Eligible for the Draft

A congressional commission established by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act officially recommended this week that American women be eligible for the military draft.
The 11-person commission briefed senior Pentagon officials on its findings and recommendations Monday, and was similarly scheduled to brief White House and congressional staffers Tuesday, Politico reported.
According to the 255-page document detailing those findings, which was obtained by the outlet prior to its official release, the comission suggests that the inclusion of women in the draft would be both “a necessary and fair step” forward in terms of military gender parity and civic duty.
“This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency,” the report reads.
Officially mandated in 1917 by passage of the Selective Service Act, registration for potential military conscription is the legal obligation of American males ages 18 to 25 — including conscientious objectors, who can opt into the Alternative Service Program.
Unregistered males of fighting age risk prosecution by the federal government, which can result in substantial fines or even prison time. Federal services such as student loans and enrollment in other social programs can also be denied to those not registered.
According to Politico, the commission’s recommendations are non-binding and do not require that Congress move forward with expanding these requirements to American women.
Given the legally mandated nature of the commission, however, the recommendation does provide a substantial opportunity for lawmakers in favor of such action to bring forward relevant legislation.
The commission’s recommendation comes more than four years after a 2015 decision by Obama administration Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to open all combat and special operations roles to female service members, overturning a decades-old U.S. armed forces exclusion policy, reported.
For then-Reps. Duncan Hunter and Ryan Zinke — both veterans themselves — this decision also opened the door to discussions regarding forced draft registry for women.
The two Republican congressmen would co-sponsor the “Draft America’s Daughters Act of 2016” shortly thereafter, even though neither intended to support it. Meant simply as a discussion-starter on the Hill, the bill eventually led to the formation of a committee to study the issue.
For some female service members, the premise is not simply a debate item, however.
Marine Corps veteran Katey van Dam, for example, told the commission in 2019 that “equal civic responsibility” regardless of gender is vital in a world demanding “opportunity parity for women.”
“Today, women sit in C-suites and are able to hold any military job for which they are qualified,” van Dam, a former attack helicopter pilot, said. “As society expects opportunity parity for women, it is time to also expect equal civic responsibility. In the event of a major war that requires national mobilization, women should serve their country to the same extent as male citizens.”
But reaching such a conclusion was not easy for the 11-member commission, chairman and U.S. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Joe Heck said. Debate over the topic was passionate, despite the strong conclusions issued.
“The recommendations made represent the consensus of the commission,” Heck told earlier this month. “We believe that the commission’s recommendations specifically in regard to [the U.S. Selective Service System] will best place the nation as able to respond to any existential national security threat that may arise.”
The commission’s full report will be publicly released Wednesday. It reportedly includes 163 additional recommendations.
Congressional Commission Finds It 'Necessary and Fair' for Women To Be Made Eligible for the Draft Congressional Commission Finds It 'Necessary and Fair' for Women To Be Made Eligible for the Draft Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on March 25, 2020 Rating: 5

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