Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration announced on Thursday its support for requiring women to register for the military draft.
National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that while the administration remains committed to an all-volunteer force, support for universal registration represents a “commitment to equity.”
“The act of draft registration has long served as a powerful reminder to our nation’s youth that public service is a valued part of American citizenship. And as old barriers for military service are being removed, the administration supports — as a logical next step — women registering for the Selective Service,” Price said in a statement.
The pronouncement from the White House comes after the administration last year took another step toward equalizing gender roles by opening up the opportunity for women to serve in combat roles that were previously reserved for men only.
The Pentagon echoed the administration announcement, affirming that the Secretary of Defense sees the universal draft as the next step in establishing equality across the military.
“While Secretary Carter strongly supports our all-volunteer approach and does not advocate returning to a draft, as he has said in the past, he thinks it makes sense for women to register for selective service just as men must,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. “His decision last year to open all combat positions to qualified women only strengthens our all-volunteer force by giving us access to 100-percent of America’s population so we can recruit and retain the most qualified individuals who can meet our standards and remain the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”
The pronouncement from the Obama administration, while symbolic, is little more than a statement of support.
In order for women to actually be mandated to sign up for the draft, it would require an act of Congress to alter current law. There is little evidence of support for such a measure in Congress, with the administration announcement coming on the heels of Congress eliminating the women-in-the draft provision from the National Defense Authorization Act.
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