Congress is reportedly considering adding women to the military draft, a controversial proposal that could mean women facing mandatory recruitment into the military alongside men in the event of a national crisis. Currently, all American men between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register with the Selective Service System, despite the fact that a military draft hasn’t been called in the U.S. since the Vietnam War four decades ago. But the system’s substantial cost of $23 million annually has motivated legislators to recommend a number of potential changes — adding women to the roll among them.
On Wednesday, the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service released a report suggesting that as women are now allowed to serve in all military combat roles, they should also be expected to contribute during a potential military draft. Other proposals included using the list to identify skilled high-schoolers interested in volunteer opportunities, the military, the Peace Corps or other federal jobs. Alternatively, the commission noted, the government could simply chose to end the expensive program altogether.
According to former Nevada congressman and Commission Chairman Joe Heck, a military veteran who served in Iraq, no decisions have been made, and the commission will not make any final recommendations to Congress and the White House until March 2020.
“As Americans, we are ready to defend our country as needed,” he said. “But for some of our younger Americans, the draft is just something you hear discussed on TV … There is no widely held expectation for service in our country today, and we need to look at that.”
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