Military draft registration might be mandatory for women in the future, it has been speculated.
When it was announced last month that women would be able to serve in combat positions in the U.S. military, there has been speculation and recommendations that the draft should be expanded to include women.
Some experts believe it is likely women will be included in the draft and will be forced to sign up for the Selective Service System—the federal government agency that manages the draft.
Currently, men between the ages of 18 and 25 have to sign up with the Selective Service System with the threat of a felony charge, although no one has actually been hit with that penalty since 1986. The draft was abandoned in 1973 after the Vietnam War but the agency is still being used.
Diane Mazur, a University of Florida law professor and a former Air Force officer, told The Associated Press it would be hard to argue against making women sign up for the draft.
“They’re going to have to show that excluding women from the draft actually improves military readiness,” Mazur told the news agency. “I just don’t see how you can make that argument.”
And the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (D.-Mich.) favors the idea of drafting women, AP reported. However, the head of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard McKeon (R.-Calif.), has not decided yet on if women should enter the draft.
The Service Women’s Action Network, or SWAN, which tries to represent all women in the military, favors the draft for women as well.
“SWAN advocates for the inclusion of women into Selective Service,” Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine Corps captain who serves as the executive director of SWAN, told NBC News.
She added: “Lifting the ban on women officially serving in combat is about giving qualified women the opportunity to serve and making our military stronger, and that would include having women register for Selective Service.”
But if women were included, the Selective Service System, which costs around $24 million per year to maintain and has around 130 staff members, would have to expanded a little bit, said Pat Schuback, a spokesperson for the agency.
“But we don’t anticipate that it would be a lot because the machinery’s the same. It would be in the man hours of answering the inquires, handling questions and doing direct mails out to people to remind them,” Schuback said.
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