Women in Military

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JEFFERSON CITY - Women may possibly have to register for the draft at 18 like men if some military officials have their say. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and the Senate Armed Services Committee met with military officials on Tuesday. Recently, the Pentagon opened all jobs in combat units to females. 

One of the officials, Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, said, "Senator, it's my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions ... every American who's physically qualified should register for the draft."

"Selective Service System" remained a top trend on Facebook on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

One commenter wrote, "Well they have a valid point you demand equal treatment and to be able to any job you should also be in the draft to do those jobs. Now I believe the requirements for said jobs should not be altered for women. If you can't do the job with out changing the requirments you shouldn't get the job."

Another commenter wrote, "I agree, and I'm a female already serving."

CW5 Michelle Struemph, Command Chief Warrant Officer for the Missouri National Guard, said this is could be a historic change if it happened.

"It's significant for the Missouri Guard," Struemph said. "Because we have recently just last month, as a matter of fact, opened up our combat engineer positions, infantry, and field artillery positions to females."

Struemph said whether male or female, the nation needs access to all eligible citizens. 

"As a gender, there have been over 9,000 US service women that have earned their combat action and badges due to actions performed in Iraq and Afghanistan," Struemph said. "And, over 1,000 have died for their country."

About a year ago, the Missouri National Guard realized only 14 percent is female, compared to, nationally, the Army National Guard which is 16 percent. Missouri has developed a mentorship program aiming to raise those demographics. 

"First, we want to recruit more females," Struemph said. "Then, we want to reatain them and mentor them through those midgrade ranks and teach them the resiliency skills, leadership skills, you know, how to be successful in interview processes to where they can actually... compete for, you know, senior level positions."

The draft first came into place during World War I. The US has not had a draft since Vietnam. 

"Anything is possible," Struemph said when asked about chances of another draft occuring. "I think, you know, as a military, we're posturing ourselves. We're forming programs and processes for successful integration and so that we don't encounter a lot of problems should that come into effect." 

Currently, only men have to register 30 days after they turn 18. 

It is not known when updates for this issue will be brought up again.