Women may soon be required to register for the draft following approval Wednesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee to add language to its yearly defense bill which would compel women to register for selective service.
The committee approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which now includes language that “amends the Military Selective Service Act to require the registration of women for Selective Service,” according to a summary of the bill released on Thursday, The Hill reported.
Despite the U.S. not having used the draft since the Vietnam War, men ages 18 through 25 are required to register for the Selective Service System, and failure to register is considered a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and 5 years imprisonment. Despite the requirements of selective service, Pentagon officials have regularly said that they expect to keep the military all-volunteer, according to The Hill. (RELATED: REPORT: 44% Of Women Still Failing Army’s New Fitness Test)
In early June the Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging the military’s male-only draft policy, instead saying that the decision was ultimately up to Congress.
“It remains to be seen, of course, whether Congress will end gender-based registration under the Military Selective Service Act,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. “But at least for now, the Court’s longstanding deference to Congress on matters of national defense and military affairs cautions against granting review while Congress actively weighs the issue.”
Democrats proposing a sweeping rewrite of the military draft laws aimed at requiring women to register for the Selective Service System, according to a draft authored by Senate Armed Services Chair Reed, per draft
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) July 19, 2021
In 2016, both the House and Senate Armed Services committees included language in their versions of the NDAA to require women to register for the draft, but the requirement was ultimately dropped from the bill after a push from Republicans to exclude any language that would require women to register for selective service, The Hill reported. (RELATED: Woke Warriors? US Generals Want More Women And ‘Ethnically Diverse’ Officers In Combat Roles)