One of the first women to earn the Army Ranger tab has come out in support of making women sign up for the draft.
The piece published at the military blog Task & Purpose by Lisa A. Jaster, an Army Reserve Major, follows on the heels of a decision by House and Senate negotiators to drop a provision in the final version of the annual defense bill to force women to sign up for the draft.
For Jaster, this move restricts the opportunities available to women, even if the opportunity is having to sign up for Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18.
“My kids deserve to have the same opportunities to shape the world they live in, regardless of gender, which includes registering for the draft and serving their country,” Jaster wrote.
What negotiators did include in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, however, is a full review of the Selective Service system to see if a draft is still efficient.
Jaster is convinced that this review will determine that excluding half of the population from the draft system is a bad move, as it doesn’t draw from perfectly capable personnel, who just happen to also be women.
Many women are unqualified to be drafted to the front lines should the need arise, but according to Jaster, the same is true for many men, as well.
“Regardless of gender, our military ranks will only be filled with capable and competent personnel who can fight and win under the current battlefield conditions,” Jaster argued.
As an additional argument, Jaster made the point that only having men sign up for the draft devalues female opinions on foreign policy and the appropriate use of the military.
“If we continue to protect our young girls while telling our boys to “man up,” it is impossible for women to have an equal voice at the table where critical decisions are made,” Jaster said. “In this great nation, where we enjoy all the benefits of a freedom that isn’t free, it’s time to let women pay their half of the check.”
Her opinion doesn’t seem to be shared by some Republican members of Congress, who made sure to strip the inclusive draft language from the final version of the NDAA, even though it narrowly passed in House and Senate committees.
Still, she has some allies in the Democratic Party, who intend to revisit the issue. Moreover, both the Pentagon and White House have come out in favor of expanding the draft to women, but it remains to be seen whether expanding the draft is such a priority that it will warrant a veto of the defense bill.