McConnell Says Women Should Be Draft-Eligible

     WASHINGTON (CN)- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that women should be required to sign up for the military draft, just as men are required to do.
     On April 1, all branches of the U.S. military were required to open all combat positions to women, with no exceptions.
     Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the announcement last December, which included opening closed positions in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command.
     “Given where we are today, with women in the military performing virtually all kinds of functions, I personally think it would be appropriate for them to register just like men do,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
     Men between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register for the draft, also known as the Selective Service, so they can be drafted to the U.S. military if necessary.
     McConnell is among a growing number of Republican senators supporting mandatory registration for selective service for women.
     “First of all, I don’t anticipate going back to the draft. The professional voluntary Army has been very successful,” McConnell said at a press conference. “We’re talking here about registration for selective service, should we ever go back to a draft.”
     Registration for the Selective Service is also required for various federal programs and benefits, including student loans, job training, federal employment and naturalization.
     “The Selective Service system, if given the mission and modest additional resources, is capable of registering and drafting women with its existing infrastructure,” the Selective Service website states.
     The change would require Congress to amend the law. At this point, the draft continues to register only men ages 18 through 25.
     Last summer, a New Jersey teenage girl brought a class-action lawsuit against the Selective Service, suing for the right to be drafted.

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