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US Senate Prepares To Expand Selective Service to Women as Well as Men

Edward Hasbrouck / Antiwar.com - After months of delay, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday that the Senate is "likely" to vote this week on an annual defense [sic] bill which includes a provision – already approved by the House of Representatives in its version of the bill – to extend the President’s authority to order men to register with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft to include women as well.

Last month, after the Senate Armed Services Committee, meeting in closed session, approved and sent to the Senate floor a version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would expand draft registration to young women as well as young men, a coalition of opponents of the draft called on the Senate to end the failed draft registration program entirely instead of trying to expand it.

An amendment (S.Amdt.4161) that would replace the portion of the Senate version of the NDAA expanding draft registration with the provisions of the Selective Service Repeal Act has been proposed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

But the Wyden-Lummis amendment (S.Amdt. 4161) is only one of 653 amendments to the NDAA that have been proposed in the Senate, and the Senate won’t have time to consider or vote on most of these amendments. Opponents of conscription and war should encourage Senators to support the Wyden-Lummis amendment to the FY 2022 NDAA, and continue to urge Senators and Representatives to endorse the Selective Service Repeal Act of 2021 (H.R. 2509/S. 1139). Regardless of last-minute lobbying, however, the Senate is likely to join the House this month in voting to authorize the expansion of Selective Service to women, without a vote on this proposal in either chamber of Congress except as part of overall votes to approve the entire 3,000-page "must-pass" omnibus bill in which it is included.

That Congress is about to authorize the expansion of draft registration to women does not mean that it’s a fait accompli, however. Under both the House and Senate versions of the FY 2022, the authorization for the President to order women to register for a possible draft would not take effect until a year after its enactment. It’s possible that, having made their point about supposed gender equality in war, some in Congress could get cold feet or come to their senses next year, and repeal the authority for draft registration entirely before trying to follow through on implementing its expansion to women (and risking another embarrassing fiasco like the one that followed the attempt to get men to register with Selective Service in the 1980s).

An Undiscussed Consequence of Expanded Draft Registration

Rick Jahnkow / Committee Opposed to Militarism & the Draft - The most immediate danger of expanding draft registration to women is not, as some people think, an increased likelihood of a draft. The chance of that happening anytime in the near future continues to be remote. It wasn’t even on the table for serious government consideration after 9/11, or during the multiple U.S. troop deployments to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A much more imminent danger is the actions that will be taken in schools to convince the female half of the 18-year-old population to join males in registering with Selective Service.

In the 1980s, we saw how relatively low rates of male draft registration in some parts of the country plagued Selective Service. The agency would issue press releases claiming that young men were overwhelmingly showing their patriotic willingness to submit their names and contact information for the sake of national readiness, but then the media would often report that actual numbers of registrants were below the stated expectations of Selective Service. The embarrassed draft agency had to come up with an excuse for the dearth of registration enthusiasm, and the best it could come up with was that there was a simple lack of awareness among young men. This was despite millions of dollars spent on Selective Service registration promotions and the enormous amount of media coverage devoted to the issue. And when the first registration resister trials were initiated to “send a message” about the risks of non-compliance, we learned in California that the state’s registration rate went down!

House and Senate Armed Services Committees vote to make women register for the draft

Edward Hasbrouck / Antiwar - On September 1st, 2021, the House Armed Services Committee joined the Senate Armed Services Committee in voting 35-24 to expand registration for a possible military draft to include young women as well as young men.

Following this House committee vote and an earlier Senate committee vote in July (before Congress’s summer vacation), the versions of the annual "must-pass" National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to be considered later this fall in both the House and Senate will include provisions requiring women to register for the draft within 30 days of their 18th birthday and report to the Selective Service System each time they change their address until their 26th birthday, as young men have been required to do since 1980.

An alternative compromise amendment to suspend draft registration unless the President declared a national emergency and put the Selective Service System into standby was submitted before today’s committee session, but ruled out of order on the basis of arcane PAYGO procedural rules. Under the same rules, the amendment to the NDAA to expand draft registration to women was ruled in order, considered, and adopted without any antiwar opposition from members of the committee.

Profiles for People of Color in the U.S. Military 2020-2021

At the end of 2020, the Defense Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Board released a report aimed at identifying ways to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. military.

Among the report’s findings: The enlisted ranks of the active and reserve military were “slightly more racially and ethnically diverse than its U.S. civilian counterparts.” But not the officer corps. Furthermore, it found that the civilian population eligible to become commissioned officers was “less racially and ethnically diverse than the civilian population eligible for enlisted service.”

The breakdown of all active commissioned officers: 73% white; 8% each Black and Hispanic; 6% Asian; 4% multiracial; and less than 1% Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native. And the diversity gap widened the higher individuals moved up in the ranks.

The report emphasized the increasing importance of the representation of minorities reflecting the nation’s morphing demographics, saying the Defense Department “must ensure that all service members have access to opportunities to succeed and advance into leadership positions.”
Source: https://apnews.com/

Too Fat To Fight? Obesity, Bio-Politics and the Militarization of Children’s Bodies

From: McSorley, K. (ed.) (2012) War and the Body: militarization, practice and experience - London: Routledge

 

Joseph Burridge and Kevin McSorley - The United States military stands ready to protect the American people, but if our nation does not help ensure that future generations grow up to be healthy and fit, that will become increasingly difficult. The health of our children and our national security are at risk. (Mission: Readiness, 2010: 7)

 

Introduction

 

“The Offi cial Portrait of the Military Junta,” oil on canvas, 173 x 218 cm, 1971. (© Fernando Botero, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York.)On the 13th of December 2010 US President Barack Obama signed into law a piece of legislation commonly referred to as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The law had passed a vote in the House of Representatives eleven days earlier, with near unanimous bipartisan support, and had been designed to, among other things, move towards provision of more healthy food for school children across the entire United States via establishing higher nutritional standards through a revised National School Food Lunch Program. One prominent organisation that lobbied strongly for this legislation, garnering significant media attention(BBC 2010, Shalikashvili and Shelton 2010), was Mission: Readiness. This campaign group, populated largely by retired senior members of the US military, addresses a range of issues connected with children, but in this case directly addressed itself to their food consumption, its impact upon rates of obesity, and the consequences that they argued this was having upon American military recruitment. Specifically, Mission: Readiness’ contributions to the debate used an anticipatory logic, and were addressed to an alleged need to do something about American children’s bodies because, increasingly, too many such bodies were considered at risk of becoming ‘Too Fat To Fight’ the title of one of the organisation’s reports (Mission: Readiness 2010) and this chapter.

House Hearing on Selective Service

May 19, 2021 / Edward Hasbrouck / Antiwar.com - A House Armed Service Committee (HASC) hearing on May 19th heard from witnesses on only one side of the debate over whether to end draft registration or extend it to young women as well as young men. But despite the one-sided panel of witnesses, questions and comments from members of Congress highlighted the failure of the ongoing attempt to get men to register for a future military draft, and the lack of any feasible way to enforce a future military draft of men or women.

The Chair of the Armed Service Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), opened the hearing by noting a written statement submitted by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). Rep. DeFazio is one of the initial co-sponsors of the bipartisan Selective Service Repeal Act of 2021 (H.R. 2509 and S. 1139), which is pending in the Armed Services Committees in both the House and the Senate.

According to Rep. DeFazio, "President Carter reinstated draft registration in 1980 largely for political reasons. Military draft registration has existed ever since, requiring all men aged 18-26 to register with the Selective Service System (SSS). It should be repealed altogether…. The SSS is an unnecessary, unwanted, archaic, wasteful, and punitive bureaucracy that violates Americans’ civil liberties… It’s beyond time for Congress to repeal the SSS once and for all."

The NDAA for 2021 expands the programs of the Pentagon in our public schools

Gary Ghirardi / NNOMY/ https://bit.ly/NDAAfor2021 - A not surprising but concerning feature of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act is the doubling of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps in our public schools and the expansion of DoD STEM and of the STARBASE Program into territories that the United States of America controls in the Pacific.


In the case of the JROTC the following is stated in the NDAA Report for 2021:



Expansion of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program (sec. 547) The committee recommends a provision that would amend section 2031(a)(2) of title 10, United States Code, to insert language expanding the purpose of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) to include an introduction to service opportunities in military, national, and public service. The provision would also require the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a plan to establish and support not fewer than 6,000 JROTC units by September 30, 2031.1



As of 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense cites that JROTC programs associated to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, are taught as elective courses at more than 3,000 high schools nationwide.2 How those expanded programs might be purposed is not totally defined other than a recommendation that there be added a focus within JROTC on cyber security education in schools.

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