On June 15, ROA met with Senator Gillibrand’s staffer Ryan Walsh and presented Resolution 13-03 requesting that women be required to register for the Selective Service. ROA argued Selective Service Registration was important for national security and equal treatment. In regards to national security, ROA argued, given that national security risks have been increasing for more than a decade, it is imperative that the country is prepared for any possible national emergency ranging from epidemics to military threats from abroad. Therefore, in an effort to increase the population available to the country, the ROA presented the idea of registering females for the Selective Service.
In ROA’s conversation with Mr. Walsh, one major problem that was considered an impediment to expanding the Selective Service was the “trench mentality” that many have when confronting the Selective Service System. They see the Selective Service as being mainly a reservoir of potential combat troops. This can foster the mistaken impression that women who register for the Selective Service are registering strictly for combat roles. There is a need to change this incorrect perspective about how the Selective Service can be used in a state of national emergency. The Selective Service is not simply for combat positions, but could be used for supplying more medical professionals in epidemics, cyber-security experts as cyber-attacks become increasingly prevalent and other various skills that contribute to the nation’s defense and security.
Including females in the Selective Service System would also bring fairness to the access of certain benefits. Currently, registering for the Selective Service is a requirement for participation in several major federal programs. Males who are eligible for the Selective Service who have not registered cannot receive federal student financial aid nor can they participate in any programs in the Workplace Investment Act, a federal vocational training program. Also, “A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service.” (http://www.sss.gov/FactSheets/FSbenefits.pdf).
Some state benefits are also predicated on registering with the Selective Service System. Forty states, four territories and the District of Columbia have laws linking renewing one’s driver’s license with registering for the Selective Service. In addition, thirty-four States link access to state student financial aid and being able to hold a state job with registering for the Selective Service.
With so many benefits tied to registering for the Selective Service on both the state and federal level, it imposes an extra requirement on males to access them. Including females in the Selective Service System would ensure the same standards are being applied to both males and females in accessing certain state and federal benefits.
Requiring females to register for the Selective Service also equalizes the basic requirements for national service among males and females, which gives males and females an equal chance of serving their country. This communicates to female service members that their contribution is valued as much as their male counterparts. When a substantial amount of female veterans do not view themselves as veterans, this message is important to counter the idea that female military service is somehow inherently different and less significant than their male counterparts.
Therefore, in order to enhance national security, provide greater equity in regards to benefits access and to help promote the importance of female military service, the ROA supports registering females into Selective Service System.