Speaking today on the Senate’s new military spending bill, Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton endorsed the legislation’s plan to require all women to register for the military draft, insisting that she is “committed to supporting and really lifting up the men and women in uniform.”
Clinton didn’t offer much elaboration on her position, but did insist that she believes the current volunteer military is still acceptable “at this time.” Among Democrats, support is strong for expanding the draft registration system, which is presented as a move toward “equality.”
While the Republican majority is split on the matter, there is also some bipartisan support for an alternative plan to do away with the Selective Service program outright, which would be every bit as “equal,” and a lot cheaper than registering everyone for a draft that doesn’t exist, and which most top officials insist, at least during election years, that they don’t want.
The last US draft lottery took place in 1972, and President Ford eliminated the registration requirement in 1975. President Jimmy Carter brought the system back in 1980 to protest Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and it has remained in place ever since. The Selective Service currently uses the slogan “It’s What a Man’s Got to Do,” and will presumably have to change that if indeed the Senate plan is adopted.
The House, however, has their own military spending bill, and their version removed the draft requirement for women from the final language. The two bills will have to be reconciled before they become law.