WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Judge Gray H. Miller of Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas ruled that the male-only registration system of the Military Selective Service Act could no longer be justified following the 2015 decision to open all combat positions in the U.S. military to women. Chairman Heck and Vice Chair for Military Service Debra Wada responded to the ruling today.
“The court’s decision makes the work of this Commission all the more important and relevant,” said Chairman Joe Heck. “This Commission has a critical role in making recommendations to guide policymakers and is studying a wide range of possible changes. Not only is the Commission discussing whether women should register, but whether the nation still needs a registration system. The district court’s opinion means change is inevitable and the status quo is untenable.”
“As Vice Chair for Military Service and former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, I’ve seen first-hand the essential roles that women play in today’s military,” said Wada. “Since 2013, when the Department of Defense first lifted gender-based restrictions on service, female service members have become increasingly more integrated into combat units across the services, leading to renewed questions around women registering for the Selective Service System. Friday’s ruling acknowledges this reality and reinforces the importance and relevance of the Commission’s mission – to evaluate all aspects of the Selective Service System and develop recommendations to better adapt the system to meet 21st Century challenges.”
The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service is an 11-member bipartisan commission tasked for the first time in American history, with comprehensively and holistically reviewing the Selective Service System, along with military, national, and public service. The Commission will examine Selective Service System issues in depth during four public hearings scheduled for April 24 and 25 at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The hearings will feature testimony from expert panelists on a range of topics relating to selective service, as well as an opportunity for members of the public to provide comments directly to the Commission. More information can be found on the Commission’s website, www.inspire2serve.gov.
The Commission hopes to ignite a national conversation about ideas of service as it develops recommendations for the Congress, the President, and the American public by March 2020. The Commission invites the public to share comments on its website and join the digital conversation on service by following the Commission on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.