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Commission recommends women be required to register for military draft

Women of the United States Navy cross the West Side Highway. A two-year commission determined women should be eligible for the draft. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Women of the United States Navy cross the West Side Highway. A two-year commission determined women should be eligible for the draft. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 24 (UPI) -- A national commission has recommended that women should be required to register with the government in case of a military draft.

The 11-member commission's final report said that requiring all Americans aged 18-25 to register for the Selective Service is a "necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified nation in a time of national emergency."

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Members of the commission briefed the Pentagon on the report on Monday and presented it to the White House and Congressional staffers on Tuesday. The 255-page document was required by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

The chairman of the commission, Joseph Heck, said the commission held dozens of public meetings and considered more than 4,000 public comments during the last two years before compiling the report.

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"The biggest piece of opposition was, we are not going to draft our mother and daughters, our sisters and aunts to fight in hand-to-hand combat," Heck said.

The report does not require action and it was not immediately clear when the House or Senate would consider a measure to institute such a policy.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense opened all combat roles in the U.S. Armed Forces to women, saying the country can't afford to shut out roughly half of the population from supporting its mission of providing national security.

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No one has been conscripted into the U.S. military in more than 40 years, but the Military Selective Service Act currently requires all men to register for a draft when they turn 18.

Registration often takes place automatically when applying for a driver's license or financial federal aid, but failing to register can result in fines, imprisonment or denial of services including federal student loans.

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