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Women Not to be Considered for Draft

By Staff Sgt. Kathleen T. Ollander, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 29, 1996 – American women don't have to worry about being drafted should the United States enter into a major conflict -- at least for the time being, a Selective Service System spokesman recently said.

"Our country has never drafted women, ever," said Lewis C. Brodsky, director of public and congressional affairs for the Selective Service. "The president asked that it [requiring women to register] be looked at about a year and a half ago. They [Department of Defense] looked at it and say they've reached no conclusion.

"Certainly the role of women is changing in the military. We may have to look at it more as the role of women continues to evolve," he said. "But right now, they feel that volunteers are all that are needed, in terms of women."

Brodsky said women aren't being considered for a draft because, historically, the draft was used to fill combat units. "Ninety-seven percent of all draftees went to the Army from 1948 to 1973, when the draft ended," he said.

With the current combat-exclusion laws covering women service members, they are precluded from being drafted for these units. Congress would have to change the law to require women to register and be drafted, Brodsky said.

An estimated 94 percent of the 18- to 25-year-old men in the United States have registered for the draft. Congress reinstated the registration requirement in 1980, after a seven-year lull. Men are required by law to register with the Selective Service System upon reaching their 18th birthday.

"However, if we had to draft health-care professionals -- doctors, nurses, medical technicians -- there's a very strong likelihood, with the numbers DoD would require in such a draft, a skill-specific draft, women ... could be considered because so many women are doctors, nurses and medical technicians," Brodsky said.

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