WASHINGTON — The White House confirmed today that President Obama supports women registering for Selective Service but emphasized that it’s “a question for Congress to resolve.”
National Security Council spokesman Ned Price told CNN in a statement Friday that including women in the Selective Service is the “logical next step” after opening up all military roles to women.
At this time, all male U.S. citizens and immigrants between 18 and 25 years old are required by law to register. The White House had previous not taken a position on whether women should also be required to sign up.
“It is an important issue and the president does believe that the military is strongest when we do draw from a pool of all eligible recruits, irrespective of gender,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters at today’s briefing. “So the president values the service of all men and women who can comprise our all-volunteer force. And if you look at the brave men and women who serve our country now in uniform, they’ve all proven their mettle in missions around the world, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
“We remain committed to an all-volunteer force that meets the highest standards of performance, that applies equitably to all those who serve, and that sustains a strong legacy of public service.”
Schultz added that “the draft registration is a vivid reminder to our nation’s youth about the value of public service, and as old barriers get removed, the president supports women registering for the Selective Service.”
In a June Economist/YouGov poll, 61 percent of men and 39 percent of women said women should be required to register for Selective Service. Twenty percent of women surveyed were not sure.
Defense Department officials have not shown opposition to making women sign up.
Trump didn’t talk about the draft on the campaign trail; it was a question posed to primary candidates at the February New Hampshire debate, but Trump was not one of the candidates who offered an answer.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opened all combat roles to qualifying women last December, with only the Marine Corps dissenting. This week, 13 women became the first female armor officers after graduating from the Basic Armor Officer Leadership Course at Fort Benning. They face additional months of training before taking command of a platoon.
Ten female infantry officers also graduated in October from Fort Benning’s Basic Infantry Officer Leadership Course. Three women have graduated from the grueling Ranger School.