Sens. Isakson and Perdue Oppose Selective Service Requirement for Women

From a joint press release:

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., joined 15 of their Senate colleagues in a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, urging them to keep unnecessary, controversial political measures out of the National Defense Authorization Act as they conduct conference negotiations.

A provision that was opposed by Isakson and Perdue was included in the Senate-passed defense authorization measure to require women to register for the Selective Service. The Georgia senators argue that this requirement has not yet received the proper study and debate and would throw the brave men and women of our armed forces into the middle of heated national political debate.

“When this legislation was passed by the Senate, I urged the president not to play politics with our service members or our national defense, because last year’s presidential veto of this critical legislation was absolutely shameful,” said Isakson. “Today, I urge this committee to do the same by removing the current language that would, for the first time, prematurely and without proper study of its implications, require women to register for the selective service. To be the best militarily, we need an all-volunteer fighting force in which both men and women can choose to serve our country in uniform and advance in rank based on their merit and qualifications. By increasing what we are spending on our national defense to better equip and train our armed forces, we preclude the need for a draft.”

“Today, our all-volunteer military is made up of our nation’s best women and men who have completed rigorous training to obtain their rank and position,” said Perdue. “This critical legislation directly supports our nation’s missions and ensures that our troops have what they need to be successful in the field. Our nation has not had to rely on a draft in almost 40 years so changing the requirements for an inactive program, like the selective service, should not be a high priority of Congress at this time.”

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate on June 14, 2016, by a bipartisan vote of 85-13, and the U.S. House of Representatives in May by a vote of 277 to 147. A House-Senate conference committee now must seek to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill.

A copy of the letter can be seen after the break.

Dear Chairman McCain:
Ranking Member Reed:
Chairman Thornberry:
Ranking Member Smith:

We, the undersigned, request your consideration on a matter of great importance as you prepare for conference negotiations on the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

As you know, the Senate-passed bill includes language that would, for the first time, require women to register for the Selective Service. We believe it is better to refrain from this expansion and to instead, task an independent commission to study the purpose and utility of the Selective Service System, specifically determining whether the current system is unneeded, if it is sufficient, or if it needs an expanded pool of potential draftees.

We should not hinder the brave men and women of our armed forces by entrapping them in unnecessary cultural issues. Our all-volunteer military is the best military the world has ever seen, and women who wish to serve in this military are free to do so. The provision of the FY17 NDAA requiring women to register for the Selective Service should be removed.

We respectfully ask that you remain mindful of our opposition as you negotiate the final conference product. Specifically, we urge you to adopt the House position.


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