Written by John Smith for USMilitary.com
The pentagon has made the tough decision to lift the long-standing ban in place to have women in combat. Now the questions are flooding in a mile a minute. But where are the answers? President Obama and his cabinet has made one of the most strategic, albeit shocking, moves in the history of the United States Armed Forces however no one can put out any solid answers. One of those questions that are being asked by soldiers and civilians alike is if this bold move will push the government to hold women to the standards that it holds the men to. To be plain—will women have to register themselves for the draft?
Leon Panetta, the outgoing Defense Secretary, announced that the Pentagon had decided to drop the ban and let women finally serve in combat. “If the female soldiers are able to meet the standards in front of them, there is absolutely no reason why soldiers shouldn’t have a chance to prove themselves,” Panetta said.
Even though the move was a strong one and it was completely backed by the White House, everyone is not on board concerning the changes. Many critics are saying that the problem isn’t with competency or physical capabilities but in logistical and legal challenges of trying to make the changes work with current laws. One of the major issues that lawmakers are having issues with is how the government will handle a possible draft.
Tommy Sears, who is the CMR executive director (Center Military Readiness), said that, “Once you allow females into combat roles, you are essentially ordering every woman to fight.” He went on to say that the government is in the minority when it tries to force women who would rather not fight or go to war. When women are free to go to the front, women are going to be held to the very same standards as every male soldier. Plus when you allow women into combat, you have to treat them the same as the men and that means they will have to be a part of the draft as well.
The Selective Service has nothing to do with the Pentagon so they will have to do some damage control with what just happened but the news is that they have a lot of work on their hands. A lot of women, both in the military and civilian, have waited for this day for a long time and it is finally here. However, there are some that do not see this as a good thing. The director of the Selective Service reports to President Obama directly and they will need to see what the fallout is to this decision by the cabinet.
U.S. policy says that if the government changes anything concerning how women serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, then the Pentagon has to provide detailed reports of what the legal implications could be. Right now the Selective Service only requires males age 18 to 25 to be drafted however you have to register a month before turning 18. Since women haven’t had the pleasure of fighting in combat, they do not have to register but that is going to change now.
There are some experts that say the draft is nothing to worry about at the moment because there are too many other issues that will have to be ironed out before then. But President Obama and his staff should have thought about this before making the call. If the draft is reinstated, changing any of the rules will be complicated. The country is known for using volunteers and Obama can call up reserves at any time as well as the National Guard. However, if more people are required, the President could reinstate the draft. That means everything needs to be set in place and approved. It is just a matter of getting it done and getting it done right.