Now, it’s time to rethink the draft

The government should either include women in the selective service or overhaul the program.

Jasper Johnson

Last week, a House committee passed an amendment that would revise the National Defense Authorization Act, requiring women to register for the draft. 
 
 
This seems like a natural progression after a policy change announced last December that authorized female service in military combat roles.
 
 
The draft has become a hot political topic, and it’s possible that the government could reform the selective service program. As discussions move forward, I expect lawmakers will have to choose between two viable changes: requiring women to register for selective service or overhauling the system entirely.
 
 
On the whole, global gender inequalities impact women, but there are a handful of issues stacked against men. Military service is one of them. Requiring men, but not women, to risk their lives in military conflict is an example of a glaring and codified sexist stance that our culture holds. It belittles men and women by reducing women to dainty caricatures and men to valueless — yet heroic — pawns. 
 
 
We need to equally value the lives of both genders. 
 
 
Because selective service is under scrutiny, this is the opportune time to reassess the system. Perhaps selective service could become optional, with tax incentives or other benefits for those who enlist. Such a change would create a more committed and realistic military backup in times of crisis and modern warfare. 
 
 
No matter what reforms our leaders choose to enact, the selective service system is long overdue for revision. I urge legislators to consider implementing an incentive-based, voluntary system — or, at the very least, include female registration.
 
 
Jasper Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected].