|Coffman, Defazio introduce bill to eliminate Selective Services System|
WASHINGTON—This morning, U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced legislation to abolish the Selective Service System.
“In a bygone era, the draft played an important role in securing our nation,” Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said. “However, given the state of our modern military, we do not need Selective Service. Even at the heights of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our military never requested conscription.”
Selective Service is an independent agency within the United States government that maintains a database on all males between 18 and 25 years of age in case conscription is needed. The System, which was disbanded in 1975 and reinstated by Pres. Jimmy Carter five years later, costs taxpayers over $24 million a year and requires all males to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days after their 18th birthday.
"Our all-volunteer military is the best in the world," DeFazio said. "The Pentagon has said there is no military or national security imperative to reinstate the draft, making the current Selective Service infrastructure an obsolete and unnecessary $24 million a year expense. Given the current fiscal climate, taxpayers should not be forced to fund it.”
The Supreme Court in Rostker v. Goldberg (1981), decided it was constitutional to require only men to register with the Selective Service. According to the court, the prohibition on women in combat meant they would not be needed in the event of a draft, and thus it would not be necessary for them to register. This January the Department of Defense overturned the military's ban on women serving in combat. With women now being eligible to serve in combat, the constitutionality of Selective Service registering only men is now subject to question. According to Coffman, instead of spending additional taxpayer dollars to expand the system, it would be better to abolish Selective Service.
Coffman and DeFazio stress that the legislation will not jeopardize national security, as the military has not needed the draft in over 30 years. The measure allows the President to reinstate the program during a national emergency via executive order.
Published March 6, 2013