Women have made great strides in terms of equality when it comes to their role in the military. American women are now seeking acceptance into some of the most dangerous combat related fields in order to prove that they can fight alongside their male counterparts. It is no shock that as women apply for combat roles, high ranking military officials are stating that women should be required to register for the draft like their male counterparts.
On Tuesday, General Mark Milley, the chief of staff of the Army, and General Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, spoke to the Senate Armed Services Committee and claimed that it is their belief that females should be required to sign up for the draft. This is the first time in the history of the United States military that the topic of females in the draft has been broached.
General Neller told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee his views on the topic.
“Senator, it’s my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions … every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft.”
Even though the military in the United States is staffed by members of both sexes who volunteer, it has been required that males register for Selective Service (draft) in the unlikely event that massive amounts of soldiers are needed to fight in a war. Currently, all males age 18 to 26 are required to sign up for Selective Service. Women had been exempt in the past due to the fact that they did not have all military jobs open to them. Now that they no longer have any job restrictions, making them exempt does not seem possible.
The viewpoint that the Pentagon has on women in the military took a large turn late last year when Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made the announcement that all combat roles in the military would be open to women for the first time in history.
If it is decided that women will have to sign up for Selective Service, it will not happen overnight. As we are seeing with the process of integrating women into combat roles, it takes time. Officials speculate that it could take up to three years before the logistics are in place, and women will need to register for the draft.
On Twitter, reactions were mostly positive.
I’m glad that women are going to be eligible for the draft. We need more women in the military.
— Brandon Lee (@_tbhbrandon_) February 3, 2016
— Stephanie Mills (@newsmills) February 3, 2016
Women in the draft is fair. Equal work, equal pay, equal opportunity equates to equal obligation. OohRah!@AgenerationXer @JessieJaneDuff
— Michael G. Murray II (@MGMUSMCRet) February 3, 2016
Women in the draft? Finally equality!!!!!!!!!!
— Sam Nichols (@OnThaPodium) February 3, 2016
— Colin Richardson (@richardsonsroom) February 3, 2016
John McCain, Chairperson of the Senate Armed Service Committee, feels that the military is being hasty and have not done their due diligence on this topic.
“I am concerned that the department has gone about things backward. This consequential decision was made and mandated before the military services could study its implications, and before any implementation plans were devised to address the serious challenges raised in studies.”
What are your thoughts on women needing to sign up for Selective Service like men do? Will there be a backlash when people realize that women will also die alongside the men in their units in a shooting war? With as large as our military is, do we still even need to have the ability to hold a draft?
[Image Via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]