We Waste $24M a Year on the Draft: Lawmakers

Representatives push to do away with it—as women may have to join in

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 25, 2013 8:25 AM CST

(Newser) – Two lawmakers are battling against what they deem an unnecessary tool of war: the Selective Service System—the organization that keeps records for any future draft. Reps. Peter DeFazio (a Democrat) and Mike Coffman (a Republican) say the success of the all-volunteer force has rendered the agency moot, and that the $24 million spent annually to maintain the draft is a waste. And DeFazio argues it's only persisted this long because politicians fear they'll look weak on national security if they push for its demise. But the AP calls the men's campaign "little noticed."

With its eye on the draft, the AP today circles back to the question of whether women should now be required to sign up. Though the Selective Service System itself issued a statement saying "the law has not been changed to include this," legal experts say the law won't be on women's side for long. In a 1981 Supreme Court ruling, justices said it was constitutional to exclude women because they weren't allowed to serve in combat roles. Now that that's changed, it'll be tough to argue against women's registration, says a law professor and ex-Air Force officer. "They're going to have to show that excluding women from the draft actually improves military readiness," she notes. "I just don't see how you can make that argument."

In this Sept. 18, 2012 file photo, female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division train on a firing range while testing new body armor in Fort Campbell, Ky.
In this Sept. 18, 2012 file photo, female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division train on a firing range while testing new body armor in Fort Campbell, Ky.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
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