Every year in America, congress passes federal laws regarding military funding and appropriations. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an umbrella term which encompasses the series of federal laws regarding the annual budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense. The NDAA was first passed in 1961 as a means of regulating how military funds are dispensed.
Now there are two new pieces of legislation passed every fiscal year, the NDAA and appropriations bills. Congress uses the NDAA to establish spending guidelines and make organizational changes while appropriations bills are used to provide the funding. Together the NDAA and appropriations bills are meant to provide guidance and accountability for military spending.
They are among the few pieces of legislation that pass regularly with bipartisan support. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have endorsed the NDAA for more than 60 years now, showing constituents that they can agree. Not surprisingly, this important piece of legislation is more than a bipartisan alliance pledging to defend the American public at all costs, as our representatives would have us believe.
The anticipated consistency with which the NDAA passes annually has made it the perfect little vehicle for other agendas which have little to do with defense spending. It seems that it’s easier to tack on additional legislation to an existing bill than it is to defend controversial rhetoric in the court of public opinion.
Non-Military Related Amendments
For instance, the annual defense bill currently includes two anti-gun provisions that can arguably be seen as unconstitutional. Another amendment, The SAFE Banking Act, could help bridge the gap between legal cannabis businesses and the frightened banking industry afraid of federal repercussions.
The SAFE Banking Act has been introduced multiple times. It gets through the House and then dies in Congress. It seems that lawmakers felt that adding it as an amendment to the NDAA for fiscal year 2022 would be the easiest way to finally get it passed, even though it is out of place.
Neither of these items have anything to do with military spending or operations but including them in the bipartisan supported NDAA legislation all but ensures they get written into law. They should be stand-alone bills that are presented to Congress rather than piggy-back legislation that is rammed through based on support for another bill.
As it stands, fundamental changes are coming to the armed forces. Young men have been required to register with Selective Service since 1917 when Congress passed the Military Selective Service Act allowing them to expand military forces through conscription. More than 17.5 million service members have been drafted since.
Selective Service Legislation
While registration for Selective Services has been enacted and discontinued multiple times over the years, young men between the ages of 18 and 25 are currently required to register. Failure to do so is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Government leaders say they prefer a voluntary military system, but they want to know they can call on American citizens through conscription simply by reinstating the draft. Legislation to repeal the draft and abolish the Selective Service System was introduced earlier this year but a quick brief from the Biden Administration left it dead in the water despite bipartisan support.
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) FY 2022
The administration challenged the constitutionality of the current system and instead decided to expand the draft registration to include women in the NDAA for Fiscal year 2022. The Biden Administration, however, was not the only group attempting to close the military gender gap.
The National Coalition For Men (NCFM) filed suit back in 2013 alleging that the Selective Service System was discriminative against men, since women were not required to register. They argued that women could voluntarily serve in combat roles and should be required to register with the Selective Service.
One Senate aide compared drafting men only to “fighting with one hand tied behind your back.” Proponents argue that women make up half of the American population and should do their part by registering for the Selective Service.
Nearly 15 percent of current active-duty military professionals are women and there is no longer any capacity in which women are restricted from service. A group of retired US generals and admirals formed a nonprofit to draw attention to what they say is a growing problem.
In a report they titled Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve , they wrote that “if you want the best caliber of human capital in your military then you must include women.” They say the size of the quality male population alone is simply not enough to support the armed forces.
The decision itself to include women in the Military Selective Service Act is a controversial one. While America hasn’t enacted a military draft in more than four decades, there are proponents on both sides of the argument. Some applaud a more equal distribution of responsibility while others are appalled at the idea of having daughters and sisters eligible to be drafted.
Rebranding the Infrastructure of People
Calling our American women to register with the Selective Service seems more like the rebranding of society’s infrastructure than anything else. It was a fast-track decision made behind closed doors rather than true American policy based on public debate or the result of our democratic process.
There are many women who have wanted an even playing field and equal rights in the military for many years. Those who feel that way should be aloud to register for the Selective Service and serve in the armed forces. I am personally alarmed at the decision itself and the way it is being rammed through.
All women as a group should not be required to serve regardless of draft status. No matter what the free-thinking thought leaders say, men and women were not created equal. Most obviously, there are fundamental physical differences that can have a profound effect on combat abilities.
There are also other considerations that can’t be overlooked, such as the prognosis of pregnancy and childbirth. There are as many residual mental repercussions of war and combat as there are physical, some of which are still being discovered. The aftermath of a war which would require a draft involving women would raise more questions than answers for generations to come.
Men and women are distinctly different and I’m not saying that women should not be able to serve. I’m saying that as a society we can’t overlook those differences in an effort to make everything equal across the board. It is not equal, and it should not be.
There are many who will not agree with this point of view but there are also many who will. I suspect this may be why the amendment was quietly attached to a bill that representatives knew would receive bipartisan support.
I hope another four decades pass without the need to reinstate the draft, but you never know what kind of reckless moves our leaders are making behind closed doors. I’d like to believe that my daughter or granddaughter would be happy to serve our great country, but I also hope I never have to tell them they don’t have a choice.
I think there are likely many Americans who are not quite ready to offer up our daughters, sisters, and granddaughters to serve in a war in some distant land. I am one of those Americans. It doesn’t make me unpatriotic, just old fashioned. I hope America never goes to war again but if we do, I don’t want my daughter drafted.