So Can Women Be Drafted Now?

Selective Service: They don't have to sign up
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2013 12:06 PM CST
So Can Women Be Drafted Now?
Women's new combat roles raise questions about their Selective Service eligibility.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Since they're now eligible to join combat units, should women be required to sign up for the Selective Service—the organization that keeps records for any future draft? At least for now, it seems that women will remain exempt: "Even though the secretary of defense has decided to allow women in combat jobs, the law has not been changed to include this," according to a statement by the Selective Service System. "Consequently, only men are currently required to register."

In announcing women's acceptance into combat units, defense secretary Leon Panetta was less clear. "I don’t know who the hell controls Selective Service," but it's up to them to make the decision, he said. With new combat jobs available to women, Panetta must inform Congress about the legal ramifications of the move as it relates to Selective Service, Politico notes. Any change to the law would be in the hands of Congress. "Until Congress and the president make a change, we will continue doing what we’re doing," says a Selective Service spokesman, per the Washington Post. But the issue could hit the courts in the next few years. (Read more Selective Service Administration stories.)

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