The final conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has dropped the provision forcing women to register for the draft. Instead there will be a study reviewing selective service. The Senate passed their version of the NDAA with the provision requiring women to register with Selective Service, the House version did not.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse led a group of 17 Senators urging the conference committee to keep unnecessary “culture warring” out of the bill. The letter was signed by Sasse and U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Perdue (R-GA), James Risch (R-ID), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The text of the letter read:
We, the undersigned, request your consideration on a matter of great importance as you prepare for conference negotiations on the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
As you know, the Senate-passed bill includes language that would, for the first time, require women to register for the Selective Service. We believe it is better to refrain from this expansion and to instead, task an independent commission to study the purpose and utility of the Selective Service System, specifically determining whether the current system is unneeded, if it is sufficient, or if it needs an expanded pool of potential draftees.
We should not hinder the brave men and women of our armed forces by entrapping them in unnecessary cultural issues. Our all-volunteer military is the best military the world has ever seen, and women who wish to serve in this military are free to do so. The provision of the FY17 NDAA requiring women to register for the Selective Service should be removed.
We respectfully ask that you remain mindful of our opposition as you negotiate the final conference product. Specifically, we urge you to adopt the House position.
“Defense bills are common in Washington but, this year, the big story is that both sides will put national security ahead of unnecessary culture-warring,” Sasse said in a released statement. “This is a victory for common sense. It’s encouraging to see Congress do its work instead of jumping into a fight about drafting our mothers, sisters, and daughters when the military isn’t demanding an end to our all-volunteer fighting-force. Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree that keeping our defenses strong is more important than needlessly scoring points on divisive issues.”
“Concerned Women for America recognized the significance and consequences of this drastic change in longstanding military policy. We immediately activated our grassroots and built a coalition to protect America’s daughters and ensure military readiness. I am grateful the NDAA conferees put America’s national security above the push for social engineering,” Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance said in a released statement.
“In the age of political correctness, it is refreshing to see our nation’s leaders prioritize the interests of Americans, instead of caving to political pressure. Our members were instrumental in this victory. Their efforts to educate their senators and members of Congress highlighted the concerns of people across the country,” Nance added.