United States — A bill introduced Thursday by two House Republicans, who are both opposed to the idea of women in combat, would require women to register for the draft.
Titled “Draft America’s Daughters Act of 2016,” the bill proposed by Representatives Duncan Hunter and Ryan Zinke, who have both served in the military, would, according to its text, “amend the Military Selective Service Act to extend the registration and conscription requirements of the Selective Service System, currently only applicable 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.”
On Tuesday, during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, two top military officials voiced their support of the inclusion of women in the draft.
“[I]t’s my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions … every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft,” said Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller at the hearing. Army chief of staff, General Mark A. Milley, agreed with this stance, stating, “I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft.”
In December, the Pentagon announced an historic shift in policy by opening all combat roles to women — encompassing 220,000 jobs, which include infantry positions and some special operations.
“Our force of the future must continue to benefit from the best America has to offer,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at the time. “This means that 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. They’ll be able to drive tanks, give orders, lead infantry soldiers into combat.”
And if the proposed bill passes, women who meet the basic criteria won’t have a choice in the matter.
However, the politicians who introduced that bill likely wouldn’t vote in favor of it due to their stance on women in combat; but they stated a debate in Congress was necessary because of the Pentagon’s new policy.
“It’s unfortunate that a bill like this even needs to be introduced,” said Hunter in a statement, reported Military.com. “And it’s legislation that I might very well vote against should it be considered during the annual defense authorization process.” 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.”