The U.S. military has made a conscious effort to be more "inclusive" in recent years, from adding women to combat duty in 2015 to more recently targeting the SEAL ethos. Now, many in Congress want to take what they view as the ultimate step in inclusion---registering women for the military draft. An amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act now before the Senate would require women ages 18 to 25 to register for the Selective Service, as men have done for decades.
The amendment passed an initial vote in committee, but faces strong opposition from a group of conservative senators, including Tom Cotton (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), who all say they don't want their daughters or granddaughters compelled into military service.
Maj. Gen. Charles "Bill" McClain (ret.) is also cool to the idea of adding women to the draft. "I'm not sure it's really worth the trouble to make it where everybody has to register," he tells KTRH. "Even those some years ago who were arguing that women should have the ability to be in the combat armed services, I don't think they were really pushing for women to register when they reached 18."
McClain believes expanding the Selective Service to women would likely only lead to more confusion. "If you had a draft, how would you select people," he asks. "Do you select without any basis to one's gender, and then if you do that does that mean everybody is going into one of the combat armed services?"
"I just think it gets awfully messy if you carry this on out."
Of course, the whole idea is probably moot, since the U.S. hasn't had a military draft in 50 years, and there are no plans to bring one back. In fact, McClain wonders if keeping the Selective Service at all is even necessary. "If we ever had an occasion again where we had to have a draft, I think a draft would sail through Congress, if we needed people that badly," he says.