White House announces support for women in draft

Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers listen to an integration of women in the Canadian Forces brief presented by the 2nd Canadian Division at Camp Ethan Allen Training Sites, Jericho, Vt., Sept. 12, 2015. Canadian Forces integrated women in combat arms occupations in 1989. (Photo by U.S. Army National Guard Pvt. Avery Cunningham)

By Kayla LaRosa 12/4/16

The Obama Administration has publicly declared its support for requiring women to register for the draft. This is a historic shift, as the American military and armed forces have typically been dominated by men.

This decision has been on the table for President Obama since Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ordered that all military jobs, even the most dangerous posts in combat zones, be open to women. Ned Price, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said that the President believes that women in the military have “proven their mettle” after their service and dedicated performance in the conflict zones of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Despite the decision to require women to register for the draft, the White House has emphasized that currently, military service is strictly voluntary – which means that unless the United States were to be involved in a global emergency or war that would hypothetically require a larger military defense, those who registered for the draft would not be sent into combat.

While the White House has supported this position, integrating women into the military has not been, nor will be easy. Top officials in the Army and Marine Corps have said it could take up to three years to fully open all positions to female officers, some of which have been held exclusively by men.

Regardless of the associated struggles, this kind of support for women registering for the draft is historic, and shows the changing ideals of the military and those who are able to serve.