from the less-selective-selective-service dept.
The U.S. Senate has passed a provision that would require women to register for the draft, but don't expect any changes soon:
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a defense authorization bill that would require young women to register for the draft — the latest development in a long-running debate over whether women should sign up for the Selective Service. The provision would apply to women turning 18 in 2018 or later and would impose the same requirements and rules that currently apply to men.
The policy is still far from being law. The House, after considering a similar provision earlier this spring, ultimately passed an authorization bill that omitted it; the two branches of Congress now must resolve the differences between their bills. And the bill faces a veto threat from President Obama over other elements of the legislation, such as the prohibition on closing down the Guantanamo Bay military prison. But the bill's passage brings women a step closer to Selective Service registration — a historic change that has bipartisan support in Congress but is firmly opposed by some conservative lawmakers.
For decades, the U.S. policy of having a draft for men, and not women, was approved as constitutional by the Supreme Court. But as NPR's David Welna reported last year, the court's reasoning relied on the fact that women were barred from combat roles. Now that women are eligible for combat duty, "Congress seems to have lost its court-endorsed rationale for limiting Selective Service registration to males only," David wrote.
Previously: Women Warriors Coming Soon to US Forces
"This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before," Mr. Carter said.
He spelled out the implications of his decision: "They'll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They'll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men."
[...] The practical effect of the announcement is to open up the 10% of positions that still remain closed to women--nearly 220,000 jobs--in infantry, reconnaissance and special operations units.
[Much more after the break.]