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From Draft NOtices, October-December 2016

Female Draft Registration Still Looming

— Rick Jahnkow

Legislation that would require women to register for the draft was still uncertain as of our publication date [see following update]. The U.S. Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 contained such a requirement, while the House of Representatives’ version did not.

The differences between the two versions were supposed to be resolved by a joint Senate/House conference committee before the October 1 start of the next fiscal year, but slow progress has made it unlikely that a bill with final language will be sent to Congress until after the November election.

The Senate’s NDAA language would impose draft registration on women when they turn age 18, beginning January 1, 2018. The House version would only require a study to evaluate the impact that female registration might have on readiness, as well as the possible effects of ending male draft registration.

Meanwhile, a hearing has been scheduled for October 24 in an ongoing lawsuit that is challenging the constitutionality of male-only draft registration. The hearing will be held in the Federal District Court in Los Angeles. If the suit succeeds, and if Congress does not pass legislation to extend registration to women, it could ultimately terminate the draft registration program. Congress could continue to fund the Selective Service System, but then SSS would have little justification to exist.


Update (11/10/2016:

An article appeared on claiming that the joint conference committee is likely to go with the House version of the NDAA and remove the Senate language that would require women to begin registering with Selective Service in 2018. However, the court challenges (there are more than one) could eventually produce a ruling that male-only registration is unconstitutional, in which case Congress would be forced to either put the issue back on its agenda, or allow registration to come to an end. Another uncertain factor is what the new incoming president might do regarding the opening of combat jobs to women. If he reverses the DoD’s current policy, it could neutralize the court challenges and leave male-only registration intact.

For more information, contact: Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft, Also, see

This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (


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