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Wyden, DeFazio push back against proposal to expand military draft to women

The Senate Armed Services Committee this week approved language to expand draft registration to women for the next fiscal year.

Posted: Jul 23, 2021 12:44 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two members of the Oregon Congressional delegation voiced their opposition on Friday to a proposal from the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that would expand US military draft registration to women as well as men.

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden made clear that their disapproval extends to the draft more generally, in addition to this most recent attempt to include women. Together with Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the lawmakers previously introduced a bill to repeal selective service altogether.

“Our professional, all-volunteer military is the finest fighting force in the world,” the lawmakers wrote. “Recruits must compete under exacting standards in order to enlist, which is why U.S. military leaders have said time and time again they believe in and prefer an all-volunteer military. Even so, the government continues to require men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register with the SSS.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee included language expanding the selective service to women in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act — an annual bill that contains the US defense budget.

Writing to the House Armed Services Committee, the four lawmakers argued that the best way to achieve equality under the law is to repeal draft registration altogether "and scrap this needless and expensive bureaucracy."

"The United States has not relied on military conscription since 1973, when Congress declined to extend authority to continue the draft. President Ford ended draft registration in 1975, yet President Carter reinstated draft registration in 1980 under dubious rationale," the lawmakers said. "Since then, the Pentagon and administrations of both parties have consistently agreed there is no military or national security imperative to reinstate a military draft."

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