Congressional Republicans Want to Draft Your Daughter | Opinion

In the coming weeks, the United States Senate is expected to bring the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the floor for debate and presumed passage. This annual bill is considered "must-pass" legislation, as it reauthorizes and funds the U.S. military. The House of Representatives already passed its version of the NDAA earlier this year. The NDAA is usually one of the few major pieces of annual legislation to regularly receive broad bipartisan support.

This year, however, the inclusion of a dangerous and inexcusable provision should instead result in overwhelming bipartisan opposition. Sadly, that appears unlikely to happen unless Americans rise up and make their voices heard.

Buried in the legislative text of the NDAA is a provision that requires both men and women to now register with the Selective Service when they turn 18 years old. The Selective Service is the agency tapped in the event that a military draft becomes necessary amidst a national emergency. Since its inception, only men have been required to register.

But that may very well soon change.

Members of Congress have now decided to draft our wives, sisters, daughters and granddaughters in servitude to ever-shifting sensibilities of "equity," instead of prioritizing our nation's war-fighting prowess. The ivory tower delusions of the university faculty lounge have finally made their way into our nation's defense posture, and the consequences are likely to be catastrophic.

If this provision remains in the NDAA and the NDAA is signed into law by President Biden, women will be forced into front-line combat roles in the event of a national emergency, facing off against battle-hardened, violent men seeking to kill them. Such daft policymaking weakens America's defense at a time when our enemies in Beijing, Tehran and Moscow are on the move.

Proponents of this provision have argued that such a scenario will never occur, and that top military brass would never conscript women into front-line combat roles regardless of any statutory changes. But the American people were also recently assured that the Taliban would not suddenly take over Afghanistan in a weekend, that no Americans would be left behind at the mercy of Taliban jihadists and that al-Qaeda was "gone" from Afghanistan.

We know how that ended.

One might therefore forgive extreme skepticism that any new NDAA daughter-drafting language won't result in women being forced into front-line roles in a future war. After all, it was the Obama Department of Defense that opened up all combat roles to women back in 2015. The foundation has already been set.

Some may scoff at such an "archaic" concern and comfort themselves with tropes about how women are just as capable as men in high-intensity front-line military combat settings. Let us be clear: They are not. Even setting aside the biological truths that underlie the physical differences between the two sexes insofar as such things as muscle mass and bone density are concerned, non-biological empirical data also show as much.

A 2013 U.S. Marine Corps study showed that all-male units have a higher performance than mixed-gender units in 70 percent of combat tasks, including marksmanship and nearly every scenario requiring both speed and strength. Women have also been shown to experience far-higher injury rates than men when undergoing equivalent training. The injury rates for women have occasionally been 10 times higher than for men.

Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines,
Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, who had been deployed to Afghanistan, arrive in formation for their homecoming at US Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California on October 3, 2021. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

And when the Army recently opened its gender-neutral fitness standards and issued its findings in 2019, it revealed that 84 percent of women could not meet the minimum standard, compared to just 30 percent of men.

This data do not suggest women should not serve in the military at all. Indeed, women have admirably served in uniform in various capacities since our nation's inception, and they will continue to do so. What the data do show is that when it comes to combat, placing women in front-line roles in service of an ideological agenda is going to get a lot of Americans unnecessarily killed—and increase the likelihood that our nation will suffer battlefield defeat.

The draft exists as a backstop to quickly replenish combat losses and add manpower in the event of a national emergency. Doubling the pool of draftees, many of whom will not meet the physical demands of front-line hand-to-hand combat, is the precise opposite of the policy one should want if our military were to need many qualified soldiers in a short amount of time.

Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), have vocally fought this policy, going so far as to call out fellow Republican colleagues and threaten to oppose them for any prospective House leadership position based on support for drafting our nation's daughters.

But others have shown a far more contemptible degree of cowardice.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who serves as the most powerful Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, approved of the new draft language and has remained silent about it despite representing a congressional district with a Partisan Voter Index of R+18.

Rep. Rogers has a daughter. Should a major war break out, would she be conscripted into service alongside the daughters of Rogers' other constituents? Or would her father's connections and decades in the throes of the D.C. swamp ensure her exemption from the front-lines that the rest of the peasants would be forced to endure?

This is, of course, rhetorical. We all know the answer.

The Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco exposed the weakness of our nation's military and political leaders to the entire world. Increasingly dire crises with regard to our unsecured southern border, rising inflation, supply-chain chaos and a persistent pandemic undergird an increasing sense of unease among Americans about our nation's trajectory.

The likelihood of a major war is only growing. Look no further than Beijing's increasing belligerence toward Taiwan and its escalating aggression in the South China Sea.

We cannot enact policies that pose such a real risk to our military integrity for the hollow approval of coastal elites and ideological extremists in academia.

Republicans in the Senate must band together to oppose this new language on the draft. And consequences must be inflicted by voters on any House Republican who issues his/her stamp of approval in a final NDAA conference report.

Politicians can repeal and amend statutory language, but they cannot repeal and amend basic biology. The fact is, my daughter, your daughter and your granddaughter do not have an equal opportunity to survive on the battlefield.

C.S. Lewis once warned about a future dystopia in which, "We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."

A man who approvingly votes to send the daughters of his constituents and neighbors to the front-lines is a man in name only; without a chest, cowardly, dishonorable and unfit to represent our republic.

Drew White is a public policy consultant specializing in federal legislation. Prior to starting his own practice, he was a legislative strategist for Heritage Action, served in the U.S. Senate as a senior advisor to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and spearheaded federal policy analysis for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.