Top Generals Want Women to Register for Draft

'Every American who's physically qualified should register'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2016 1:32 AM CST
Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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(Newser) – The US military's opening of all combat roles to women has also apparently opened the door for unisex conscription. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, the chiefs of the Army and Marine Corps testified that they believe it's time for women to register for the draft the way men have to do when they turn 18, NBC News reports. "It's my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions ... every American who's physically qualified should register for the draft," said Marine Corps chief Gen. Robert B. Neller. Army Gen. Mark Milley agreed that the exemption should end and "all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft."

The draft ended in 1973, though Jimmy Carter brought back the requirement to register in 1980 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, NBC notes. Sen. Claire McCaskill told the hearing that she thinks it's time for women to sign up for the draft because it would help steer them toward military careers, Stars and Stripes reports. "Part of me believes that asking women to register like we ask men to register would [possibly] open up more recruits," she said. The generals testified that it is going to take up to three years to integrate women into all combat roles, and that physical differences between men and women will affect integration, CBS News reports. (In 2014, the Selective Service System ordered 14,000 men born in the 19th century to register for the draft.)

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