Registering Women for Draft: Empty Pro-Equality Gesture Won’t Boost Military Readiness

COMMENTARY Defense

Registering Women for Draft: Empty Pro-Equality Gesture Won’t Boost Military Readiness

Sep 30th, 2021 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
James Jay Carafano

Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges.
Pfc. Elliotte Villafan, a CBRN specialist with the California Army National Guard, gets dressed in protective gear on April 21, 2021 during training in Charlestown, S.C. Spc. Darianne Hudson / U.S. Army

Key Takeaways

There’s zero, less than zero, likelihood that this initiative will improve the military in any way—ever.

This an effort to appear “woke,” while doing less than nothing for the military—or for women.

If the Pentagon really wants a further option, let’s have a voluntary registration, where qualified men and women can sign up for call-up.

Every year for decades, Congress has passed a National Defense Authorization Act.

This year will likely be no different. But there’s a provision in this year’s bill that requires young women to register for Selective Service—that is, the draft.

This is just a bad idea that ought to be taken out of the legislation.

There’s a simple rule for what ought to be in defense legislation: Does it promote the common defense?

Drafting women doesn’t. And here’s why: There’s zero, less than zero, likelihood that this initiative will improve the military in any way—ever.

For starters, Selective Service, more commonly called the draft, contributes nothing to military readiness.

The draft is an anachronism masquerading as something that’s still relevant. The draft contributes nothing to deterring the likes of China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea.

The draft does nothing to build better citizens or patriotism, since other than filling out a form, it requires nothing from our youths. The vast majority of them would not qualify for military service whether they were drafted or not.

The reality is the odds of anyone entering military service from the draft is about as likely as President Joe Biden coming clean about inflation, Afghanistan, or the southern border.

Perhaps that’s why politicians promoted this completely symbolic move to draft women. They know there are likely no consequences for doing this.

On the other hand, it’s a completely empty gesture for a politician to claim they are pro-equality. This an effort to appear “woke,” while doing less than nothing for the military—or for women.

The last thing America needs are more people worshipping at the altar of wokeness, as opposed to living in the land of reality.

Further, this rush to draft our daughters ignores the views of tens of millions of Americans who have a moral objection to the notion that as a matter of principle we would force our wives and daughters to fight in combat. Nobody asked them.

A cadre in Congress just decided they thought they would do this without a national debate or a mandate from the American people. It’s a very Biden-esque way of doing things. It’s just not a very American way of doing things.

In fact, with so many Americans opposed to mandatory vaccinations, who thinks they would be more enthusiastic about compulsory military service?

Rather than political—and insulting—symbolism, if Congress really cared about military readiness, why don’t they take real measures to improve military readiness?

Voluntary military service is a great strength of a free society. Let’s make that stronger. Let’s encourage young Americans to serve.

If we want more young men and women to serve their country, let’s improve voluntary opportunities to serve. Let’s create more opportunities for them to join the Reserves and National Guard, expanding options to be citizen-soldiers.

If the Pentagon really wants a further option, let’s have a voluntary registration, where qualified men and women can sign up for call-up in times of national emergency and designate whether they would be willing to serve in combat or non-combat roles.

Congressional leaders should come to their senses and take the “draft our daughters” clause out of the bill. Let’s step back and have an honest discussion in the light of day with Americans about what they really want and a serious assessment from the Pentagon about real measures to improve military preparedness.

Let’s leave the woke aside for once.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal