Pro: Women should register for Selective Service

The lottery used to draft American soldiers to fight the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s grew extremely unpopular as the war raged into a second decade and young men in college found ways to avoid the draft while others could not. Due to all of the upset over the draft, in early 1975, the Selective Service Act was suspended.

However, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter decided to reactivate the registration process. During this time, Carter proposed to allow women to sign up for the draft, but Congress ruled against allowing the funds for women to sign up. The argument was that funding women in the draft would be a waste money if they are not able to fight in all positions. Women were not allowed to fight in combat. Since these positions are now open to women, the argument against women in the draft from the court case is now invalid.

Since that time, all young men have had to register for the Selective Service, even though military service has remained voluntary. But times have changed. To make Selective Service more fair, military leaders are wondering if young women should also be required to register as well.

Since the 80s, the number of women serving in the military has steadily increased. Women are now serving in all positions in the military, including some combat roles. Women love their country just as much as men do, and a number of women would be proud to serve their country if they got drafted.

Congress should consider requiring registration for the Selective Service for all 18 year olds. The country would have more people to draft into military service should it become necessary. However, the argument now is that women are not seen as qualified. This viewpoint still allows there to be prejudice toward women in the military. Women are not even seen as an equal member of our country to sign up for the draft. Women are perfectly able to go into war. The Military Selective Service Act is only one of the reasons why women are still seen as unqualified counterparts. Considering that there are women already who have volunteered to serve for our country, the argument that women can not fight is invalid. Men and women already fight alongside each other in combat, so women should be required to sign up for the draft within a month after their eighteenth birthday as men do.

Women stand by while men are forced to sign up for the draft. The Military selective service act is also unfair to men. Men should not have to be the only ones to sign up to fight for our country in an emergency. Women are an equal counterpart to men, and they should held just as accountable when it comes to the responsibilities of citizenship. Since almost all combat positions are now open, women should be required to register. A soldier is a soldier no matter what gender.

Signing up for the Selective Service Act is important in a young man’s life. If an 18-year-old man does not sign up for the draft within 30 days after his 18th birthday, there are consequences. They could become ineligible for certain government opportunities when they get older such as student financial aid, job training and government jobs. If an immigrant does not sign up for the Selective Service, then there is potential to lose their citizenship.

All of these consequences exist only for men. Women are citizens, too, and should be included.

By Kierstin Woodring


Con: Women shouldn’t have to register for Selective Service

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller recently released a statement at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing saying that there is no reason women shouldn’t have to register for the Military Selective Service.

They claim that since women are allowed in all positions of the military, including infantry and special forces, they should be required to register at the age of 18, just like men.

I am aware of the arguments that have been proposed by these men, but I can’t say I agree. The last time the draft was used for active combat was the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when we sent more than 9 million men to fight the Vietcong and the spread of communism. As of 2010, the United States has approximately 73.27 million men who would be available in a time of war. There isn’t a need for women to enter the draft when we have such a large number of able men to serve.

Another side of the argument is the physical attributes required to be a soldier. The average Marine is required to carry 70 extra pounds of weight. The standard issue rifle of the U.S. Marine, the M16A4, weighs about 9 pounds by itself. An infantryman is required to move quickly and with a purpose under the stress of being under fire. It’s very similar to why women don’t play in the NFL. There aren’t a lot of 6 foot, 5 inch, 315 lb. women who can bench press 225 pounds 25 times. By human nature, women aren’t as physically built as men. In fact, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh, the average male Marine volunteer is 178 pounds with 20 percent body fat whereas the average female volunteer weighs only 142 pounds with 24 percent body fat. Sure, there will always be exceptions, as with anything. But in the draft, every pick is random. You can’t pick out the exceptions.

Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano is concerned about having to lower expectations if woman were required to register with the Selective Service. “When you have women under perform on the rifle range as recruits, and that gets accepted for decades, that says something,” Germano said.

Unfortunately the rifle range is not the only place women have under performed in the Marine Corps. In tests run by the Marines from 2012 through 2015 a select group of women were allowed to take part in infantry courses that had previously been closed to them. According to a Marine Corps official, in the tests the all-male ground combat teams outperformed their mixed-gender counterparts in nearly every capacity during a recent infantry integration test. The experiment also shows that Marine teams with female members performed at lower overall levels, completed tasks more slowly and fired weapons with less accuracy than their all-male counterparts. In addition, female Marines sustained significantly higher injury rates and demonstrated lower levels of physical performance capacity overall, Marine Corps officials said.

Commandant Gen. Neller said the Marine Corps will hold the same standards that it has for hundreds of years, regardless of gender.

“We have established a process to where any Marine who wants to serve in these physically demanding (jobs) has to meet a certain standard. We will see where the chips fall. Our hope is that everyone is successful. But hope is not a course of action on the battlefield.”

By Jacskon Whiting

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