Including women—and men—in a draft is unnecessary

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In an era when every political decision seems to push the United States further into regression, a federal judge in Houston decided that excluding women from the military draft is unconstitutional.

“While historical restrictions on women in the military may have justified past discrimination, men and women are now ‘similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft,’” Judge Gray H. Miller wrote in his ruling.

The judge is correct. Any man eligible for draft most likely agrees—how can we fight for gender equality but simultaneously expect women to be treated differently based off of a decades-old stereotype that women are weaker?

If you go to the United States Selective Service System’s website, the first sentence you see is, “REGISTER: It’s What a Man’s Got to Do. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s the Law.”

While this decision to include women in the hypothetical military draft is completely logical and fair, I do not understand why we are still forcing anyone to register for the draft, whether the person is male or female.

Including women in a traditionally male role is a huge step for our country, but the Selective Service System must be reconsidered in its entirety by Congress.

The United States ended the draft in 1973. This means that for nearly 50 years, the United States has relied on a highly-trained all-volunteer military. It is difficult to imagine a situation in which our country would need to shift into drafting men and women into involuntary service.

Of course, with a president who regularly mentions the looming threat of nuclear warfare, it makes sense that people may feel like the country needs to utilize as much of our manpower as possible.

According to the Annual Report to Congress from 2017 on the Selective Service System’s website, “[the Selective Service System] is America’s hedge against underestimating the requirement for both trained and untrained personnel needed by the Department of Defense in a national emergency.”

By including women in the military draft, the United States is essentially doubling the number of people who are eligible for combat. Does this mean that the Selective Service System will miraculously double their budget as well?

The budget hovers around $23 million per year to register men and to maintain the database with their information. Will we divert another $23 million to be sure that our women will receive the same benefits?

Both men and women have a civic duty to defend the United States in time of need. Although the country has progressed in realizing that women are just as capable as men, this progress is not reflected by adding women into an unnecessary draft registry system.

Rather than wasting millions of dollars each year on forcing civilians to register for a draft that is purely hypothetical, Congress should allow these funds to be utilized by people who are already involved in the military. Improved training and higher benefits for our current military would be a more efficient way to strengthen national security if, or when, an emergency occurs.

photo courtesy military.com