# Registering women for a draft

## Given the current situation, I think that registration of women should

• ### *Extra question: I'm a woman 18-25 AND I would NOT register even if required

• Total voters
31
Gold Member
In the US, there's something called the Selective Service System. I think this quote from their website sums up quite well what they do:
Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. It's important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

- http://www.sss.gov/FSwho.htm
Basically, if there was ever a draft, this is the list of potential draftees. More information is available at their website.

Here's their page explaining why women aren't required to register. It's short, and there's no point in me repeating it here.

There's actually an option on their https://www4.sss.gov/regver/register_nc.asp [Broken] for females. Why, I don't know. Next to the buttons, it says "(Note: Current law does not permit females to register)". And when I filled out the form with my actual information (I am a 23-year-old female US citizen), I received a message saying "Only Males are required to register with Selective Service". From this and my other reading on this a while ago (maybe someone else can confirm), it seems that not only are women not required to register, women are not allowed to register. That is, if I tried to register another way, say, by mail, my registration would again be rejected.

Here's a link to Rostker v. Goldberg, from which the next two quotes are taken, since SSS's link isn't working for me (and I like this site better anyway). I got from it that SCOTUS just deferred to Congress:
Congress' determination that any future draft would be characterized by a need for combat troops was sufficiently supported by testimony adduced at the hearings so that the courts are not free to make their own judgment on the question. And since women are excluded from combat service by statute or military policy, men and women are simply not similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft, and Congress' decision to authorize the registration of only men therefore does not violate the Due Process Clause. The testimony of executive and military officials before Congress showed that the argument for registering women was based on considerations of equity, but Congress was entitled, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, to focus on the question of military need, rather than "equity."
From Marshall's dissenting opinion:
By now it should be clear that statutes like the MSSA, which discriminate on the basis of gender, must be examined under the "heightened" scrutiny mandated by Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976). [n3] Under this test, a gender-based classification cannot withstand constitutional challenge unless the classification is substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental objective. Kirchberg v. Feenstra, 450 U.S. 455, 459, 459-460 (1981); Wengler v. Druggist Mutual Ins. Co., 446 U.S. 142, 150 (1980); Califano v. Westcott, 443 U.S. 76, 84 (1979); Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268, 278 (1979); Craig v. Boren, supra, at 197. This test applies whether the [p88] classification discriminates against males or females. Caban v. Mohammed, 441 U.S. 380, 391 (1979), Orr v. Orr, supra, at 278-279; Craig v. Boren, supra, at 204. [n4] The party defending the challenged classification carries the burden of demonstrating both the importance of the governmental objective it serves and the substantial relationship between the discriminatory means and the asserted end.
I'm not interested in whether anyone, male or female, should be required to register or whether there will ever be a draft. I want to know 3 things:

1) Do you think the administrative burden of registering women justifies this gender-based discrimination? The best estimates I found:
SSS officials estimate that the agency would need 17 to 23 more staff over
its fiscal year 1998 authorized staff level and about $4.6 million to$5.2 million over its fiscal year 1998 budget if it were required to register
women in addition to men. The funds would be needed to cover costs for
personnel, printing, program contracts, U.S. Postal Service
reimbursement, postage, procurement of state Division of Motor Vehicles
lists of names and addresses, awareness materials, equipment, supplies,
and services.

- http://www.gao.gov/archive/1998/ns98199.pdf (PDF) / http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:H4AcL83X6OYJ:www.gao.gov/archive/1998/ns98199.pdf [Broken] (HTML)
2) You have a list of women. In the event of a draft, if you need women, draft them, and if you don't need women, don't draft them. Do you think executing this plan would be too difficult for the US military?

3) If women were not excluded from combat service, do you think this gender-based discrimination (registration) would still be justified?

I think it's only fair that if men are required to register, then women should also be required to register. I think it's also fair that if men are required to register, then women who want to register should be allowed to do so. I say no to (2) and (3), but I'm not sure how much money fairness is worth in this case. I mean, I don't like having to listen to some ***** tell me that women aren't equal because we don't fight in combat, but I don't really care what some ***** says anyway. I think my real concern is that they might indeed be merely empty gestures, me registering and them letting me. Do you think this is really a battle worth fighting?

(Woops. Perhaps a mentor could kindly fix the fourth poll option to read "be allowed but not required AND I'm a woman 18-25 AND I would NOT voluntarily register".)

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Bystander
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honestrosewater said:
(snip) Do you think this is really a battle worth fighting?
Not really. In the $90/mo. days, yeah. The training capacity is no longer up to handling a draft, the budget can't handle conscripts in "cannon fodder" lots ($100k/a, probably \$200k/a per trained pair of boots by the time anything "big" happens).

Selective Service is as outdated as local ordinances requiring motor vehicles to stop and pull off the road when within 1/2 mile of ridden horses or horsedrawn vehicles.

Gold Member
So your opinion is that the discrimination isn't justified because there shouldn't be a SSS in the first place? That is, you think the government cannot satify the burden of demonstrating the importance of the governmental objective it serves?

Bystander
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honestrosewater said:
So your opinion is that the discrimination isn't justified because there shouldn't be a SSS in the first place?
Not "shouldn't be," so much as useful at one time (probably not ever necessary), and so useless today as to be irrelevant. Fighting SSS is not unlike picketing manufacturers of chastity belts --- there are none, there is no market, and, yeah, it'll attract attention, but not necessarily give the audience the message you wish to transmit.

That is, you think the government cannot satify the burden of demonstrating the importance of the governmental objective it serves?
Read this three times, and still can't understand what you're asking --- or offering as a rhetorical paraphrase --- rephrase, please?

honestrosewater said:
So your opinion is that the discrimination isn't justified because there shouldn't be a SSS in the first place? That is, you think the government cannot satify the burden of demonstrating the importance of the governmental objective it serves?
Discrimination? You think it's a bad thing that women aren't included in the draft? I bet you'd change you're mind if we entered WWIII.
On another point, there are several justifiable reasons why they aren't in the draft. Sure women are capable of fighting, just as much as men, but don't kid yourself. Men and women are different, and that's a fact. It's not discrimination, it's just true. There are certain things men are naturally inclined to, and therefore on the stastical whole, better at. Shooting a machine gun and killing people fit neatly in that category. Conversely there are things women are more naturally inclined to, and therefore stasticly better at, then men. Please, don't misinterpret what I'm saying, I don't think men are better then women and therefore the only ones qualified. If a woman puts cares to she can make just as good a soldier as a guy, but the point of fact is that on the overwhelming whole they do not choose too. To use a draft to force them to fight in a war would just be wrong.

BobG
Homework Helper
Given the current situation where registration is still required for males, I believe women should be required to register, as well. While women are excluded from combat service (meaning direct combat), they are not excluded from just about any combat support role. Finding people to fill combat support roles is as important as filling the combat roles.

In fact, in many of the combat support roles women do fill, the line between "support" and "direct" combat is pretty fine. They generally have less of a chance of being killed or wounded but are still serving in roles where they need to be capable of fighting. (16% of the military is female while about 2% of those killed in Iraq have been female).

GAO Military Demographics
http://icasualties.org/oif/female.aspx [Broken]

Personally, I think the idea of a draft is unworkable. Today's military is a lot more than laying in a trench and firing a gun. Too much money is invested in training to spend it on draftees who would tend to lack motivation and would be more likely to get out of the military as soon as possible.

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Gold Member
Bystander said:
Not "shouldn't be," so much as useful at one time (probably not ever necessary), and so useless today as to be irrelevant. Fighting SSS is not unlike picketing manufacturers of chastity belts --- there are none, there is no market, and, yeah, it'll attract attention, but not necessarily give the audience the message you wish to transmit.
I see the similarities, but a difference is that only one would be, in the eyes of the objectors, unjustified discrimination by their government.
Read this three times, and still can't understand what you're asking --- or offering as a rhetorical paraphrase --- rephrase, please?
Heh, sorry. That was from Marshall's opinion:
The party defending the challenged classification carries the burden of demonstrating both the importance of the governmental objective it serves and the substantial relationship between the discriminatory means and the asserted end.
In other words, you don't think that registering only men in SS is an important enough thing for the governmnet to do that it is justified discriminating in the process of doing it?

As long as men are required to register, so should women. You can talk all you want about how men are better suited to killing people, but the simple fact is that as a registered male, my chances of getting drafted (and subsequently killed) are more than doubled because women can't be drafted. That's not equal protection, and is unconstitutional.

Gold Member
Dawguard said:
Discrimination? You think it's a bad thing that women aren't included in the draft?
Yes, I think it is unfair, and I think unfairness is a bad thing.
I bet you'd change you're mind if we entered WWIII.
What do you know about me that makes you think so?
I don't know whether I would ever fight in a war (the idea does upset me at the moment), but I suppose my decision would depend mostly on the war. I don't think I would want to be "spared" solely because I was a woman.
Would you make the same bet if I was a man?
On another point, there are several justifiable reasons why they aren't in the draft. Sure women are capable of fighting, just as much as men, but don't kid yourself. Men and women are different, and that's a fact. It's not discrimination, it's just true.
That only men are allowed to register is discriminatory. The question is whether that discrimination is justified or not.
There are certain things men are naturally inclined to, and therefore on the stastical whole, better at. Shooting a machine gun and killing people fit neatly in that category. Conversely there are things women are more naturally inclined to, and therefore stasticly better at, then men. Please, don't misinterpret what I'm saying, I don't think men are better then women and therefore the only ones qualified. If a woman puts cares to she can make just as good a soldier as a guy, but the point of fact is that on the overwhelming whole they do not choose too. To use a draft to force them to fight in a war would just be wrong.
This is only a list of potential draftees. If you don't want to draft women, just don't draft them. That was one of my questions.

Bystander
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honestrosewater said:
(snip)In other words, you don't think that registering only men in SS is an important enough thing for the governmnet to do that it is justified discriminating in the process of doing it?
Selective Service provides a number of "patronage" positions to fill, just like "Tea Tasters," and one can argue discrimination, but asking congress to expand the "patronage" rolls to redress the discrimination ain't gonna fly, nor is asking congress to trim the "patronage rolls" --- Tea Tasters have been around from the beginning, been regularly put on the block, and regularly spared the budget axe. Is it conscious, deliberate discrimination? No. It's just a matter of saving a few "plums" for a few good friends without expanding the orchard and being obviously greedy.

There are no tax breaks or liabilities associated with being registered. No political advantages, social advantages, some liability to being registered when job hunting (not these days), doesn't look one way or the other on a resume (being graded 4F used to be a problem, but the facilities for the physicals are long gone, so no sweat there).

There's a lot more "good" to be done vis a vis gender discrimination in this country in attacking public schools every time a female gets told she'll never pass physics or an advanced math course --- lot of that going around.

Gold Member
BobG said:
While women are excluded from combat service (meaning direct combat), they are not excluded from just about any combat support role. Finding people to fill combat support roles is as important as filling the combat roles.
One of the arguments that I saw against requiring women to register was that, during mobilization, some significant number of noncombat positions, which women could otheriwse fill, actually need to be filled by combat-ready soldiers, ready to be rotated or something like that. But I think this is irrelevant anyway. When this hypothetical draft occurs, if the military doesn't want to draft women, it can just not draft them. Cross their names off of the list. Problem solved. I am only talking about registration, not drafting.

The problem that I see is that I can't shake the feeling that it's a hollow victory, or an empty gesture. Or maybe it's just that people being excluded from certain positions based solely on their gender -- rather than their ability to perform the duties of that position -- is what's bothering me, and SS registration seems relatively trivial.

honestrosewater said:
That only men are allowed to register is discriminatory. The question is whether that discrimination is justified or not.
Other then direct combat roles there is nothing in the military then men can do that women can't. It's not that they're not allowed, it's that they aren't requiered. Sure you can say that if men are required then so should women, but we have to deal with reality. Most women would not want to be included in the draft, and I don't blame them. I will continue to say this, that men and women are different. It isn't discrimination to recognize that difference and make varying requirments acordingly. One of those variances is that men are required to register and women aren't. If a women wants to join, fine and dandy, but we can't make her. You may say it's discrimination, I say it's common sense. If you want a completely even and nondifferential world then you have to eliminate the sexes altogether, and that just isn't gonna happen.

Women are allowed to serve so they should be required to register.

Gold Member
(Everyone,)
As it said in the links I provided, part of DoD's reasoning is that women are excluded from direct combat positions and most draftees would be filling direct combat positions, so registering women for a draft is effectively a waste of resources. The problem there is that administrative burden hasn't been a good enough reason for discrimination in the past.

From Marshall's dissenting opinion:
...the Government makes no claim that preparing for a draft of combat troops cannot be accomplished just as effectively by registering both men and women but drafting only men if only men turn out to be needed. [n11] Nor can the Government argue that this alternative entails the additional cost and administrative inconvenience of registering women. This Court has repeatedly stated that the administrative convenience of employing a gender classification is not an adequate constitutional justification under the Craig v. Boren test. See, e.g., Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. at 198; Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 690-691 (1973).

mattmns said:
Women are allowed to serve so they should be required to register.
That makes for good bumber sticker arguments, but we need to deal with larger issues and more facts. Tell me why they should be required. I have given you my opinion why they shouldn't be. If you respectfully dissagree, please state why.

Also, I'm not saying I don't agree with it for the same reasons as the DoD. Whether they think it is right or wrong is irrelevant to its state as such.

Men fight the wars. It's been that way since the dawn of civiliation. Sure, women are capable but they are, in part, why men fight wars: to maintain our way of life which includes keeping our wives and children safe at home.

That makes for good bumber sticker arguments, but we need to deal with larger issues and more facts. Tell me why they should be required. I have given you my opinion why they shouldn't be. If you respectfully dissagree, please state why.
They should be required to because men are required to, and not requiring them violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution.

No it does not, being drafted is not a right. I don't think that we should, as a nation, send our women to fight. Women played a key role in WW2, but were never drafted.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
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My opinion is that women have fought long and hard for equality, and that means equality, not just picking and choosing the things that sound good and leaving out the bad. So long as registering for the selective service is required for men, it should be required for women. If the idea of sending women into battle bothers some people, then maybe it will give them reason to give another thought to whether the battle is really the only solution to the problem at hand. I don't think it's any less appalling to send men into battle for anything other than the most desperate situations where no other solution is available.

Gold Member
deckart said:
Men fight the wars. It's been that way since the dawn of civiliation. Sure, women are capable but they are, in part, why men fight wars: to maintain our way of life which includes keeping our wives and children safe at home.
What makes you think the decision is up to men alone? I think the decision is (ideally) supposed to be up to US citizens of voting age, regardless of gender.
cyrusabdollahi said:
No it does not, being drafted is not a right.
But being treated equally, except where discrimination is justified, is a right.

cyrusabdollahi said:
No it does not, being drafted is not a right. I don't think that we should, as a nation, send our women to fight. Women played a key role in WW2, but were never drafted.
Lol.. being drafted isn't a right in any sense. It's more along the lines of only one gender paying a tax, being summoned to jury duty, paying alimony or child support... Requirements, not rights.

Where is there discrimination? Did I ever say women can't join the military if they want to?

Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
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Dawguard said:
It isn't discrimination to recognize that difference and make varying requirments acordingly.
That's the definition of discrimination.

www.m-w.com said:
1 a : the act of discriminating b : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently
2 : the quality or power of finely distinguishing
3 a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment <racial discrimination>
and for good measure, the definition of "discriminate"
www.m-w.com said:
1 a : to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of b : DISTINGUISH, DIFFERENTIATE <discriminate hundreds of colors>
2 : to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences; especially : to distinguish from another like object
intransitive senses
1 a : to make a distinction <discriminate among historical sources> b : to use good judgment
2 : to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit <discriminate in favor of your friends> <discriminate against a certain nationality>

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Gold Member
cyrusabdollahi said:
Where is there discrimination? Did I ever say women can't join the military if they want to?
It isn't about joining the military. This is about registering with the SS. I am a woman who wants to register, I tried to earlier today, and I was not allowed to.

There really is no question that the law is discriminatory. Only men are required (and, as far as I can tell, allowed) to register. That is gender-based discrimination.

The hole point of the SS is to get drafted into the army. Why would you want to register for the SS if you don't want to join the army?