During the House Armed Services Committee's markup on the National Defense Authorization bill for 2014, committee members would not even consider legislation to preserve young women's exemption from Selective Service registration and a possible future draft. CMR has prepared this Policy Analysis to explain why this was a dereliction of duty in Congress, the Pentagon, and in the White House:
Update: On July 29, 2013, Judge Dale S. Fischer of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California dismissed the Selective Service lawsuit filed by the National Coalition for Men. Judge Fischer's ruling stated that the question of whether women should be subject to Selective Service obligations would not be "ripe" for decision until after January, 2016, when the political branches decide policy with regard to women in combat. If Congress does not intervene before then, similar litigation in the future very likely would be resolved in the plaintiffs' favor under the Rostker v. Goldberg precedent.
On January 24 lame-duck Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the administration's intent to eliminate military women's exemptions from direct ground combat battalions. Targeted for unprecedented change would be Army and Marine infantry, armor, artillery, Special Operations Forces and Navy SEALs.
These are small fighting teams that locate, close with, and attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action and a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force's personnel. Their missions go far beyond the experience of being "in harm's way" in a war zone, where our military women have served with courage before and since the attacks of 9/11.
Wrapped in this camouflage-disguised package is a legal time-bomb that gives new meaning to the phrase "war on women." Unless Congress intervenes, a future court will impose Selective Service obligations on unsuspecting civilian women, on the same basis as men.
Defense Secretary Panetta, on his way out the door, casually and irresponsibly endorsed "diversity" for women in land combat, and set in motion incremental plans designed to blunt opposition with a "frog-in-the-pot" strategy. When asked about Selective Service, Panetta said he didn't know "who the hell" was in charge of that. So much for the administration's alleged respect and concern for the "safety" of women:
Under Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, the power to make policy for the armed forces resides with Congress. As explained in this article published in U.S. News & World Report, plans that outgoing Secretary Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey will cut out of this major decision both Congress and the American people.
Civilian and uniformed Pentagon officials, acting under orders from the Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, are ignoring empirical data and findings compiled over 30 years of tests and studies in America and the United Kingdom. Amazon warrior myths and popular culture cannot change the fact that in a direct ground combat environment, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive, or to help fellow soldiers survive.
Parents of young men and women in the military need to be concerned about the unprecedented drive to impose gender-based "diversity metrics" on the military. Parents of civilian boys and girls also need to ask elected representatives in Congress, What are you going to do about this?
Cartoon by Henry Payne, Jan. 31, 2013
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