Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would strike a requirement that women register for the selective service and replace it with a requirement for the Department of Defense to issue a report on the current and future national security needs by July 1, 2017.
“Forcing women to register for the draft would be a sea change not only for our Armed Services but culturally as well,” Lee said. “I simply have not seen enough research from the Department of Defense on why this is needed or how it would work,” Lee continued. “My amendment would not prevent any woman from earning a combat role, but it would require the Pentagon to study whether we need to force women to fight.”
The decision by the Department of Defense last year to open all Military Occupational Specialties to service-members regardless of gender created a legal dilemma for Congress, as Rostker vs. Goldberg (1981) found that selective service was constitutional because of the combat restrictions on women’s service. Lee’s amendment would also ensure that Congress is the only branch of government that can change the application and interpretation of the Military Selective Service Act.
The amendment is cosponsored Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).