As women assume larger roles in the American military, Senate Democrats are attempting to overturn the decades old male-only draft.
Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed (D-RI) prepared draft language for a provision to be added to the upcoming annual National Defense Authorization Act to require all Americans — including women — to add their names to the list of potential draftees, regardless of sex. Reed provided the proposed legislation to Politico, which reported on the subject on Monday.
The proposal comes about a month after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the male-only draft, which requires only men to sign up. In response, President Joe Biden’s administration called on the court to allow Congress to handle the issue through legislation, rather than have the Supreme Court render an opinion on the draft.
The provision comes in the wake of a “friend of the court” amicus curiae brief from a group of 10 retired U.S. generals and admirals who called for women to be added to the draft pool. “Including women in the selective service would double the pool of candidates available to draft, raising the overall quality of the conscripted force and enabling the Nation to better meet its military needs,” they argued.
In the language of Reed’s proposed provision, the military draft requirements will be extended to “All Americans,” striking any previously male-specific references from existing legislation governing the law.
Calls to include women in the draft system have accelerated in recent years, particularly since 2015, when the Obama administration opened all combat roles to female service members.