Congress must decide about draft for women -Carter
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[February 04, 2016]
Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Defense
Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday it was up to Congress to decide
whether to require women to register for the military draft, and he
expected U.S. lawmakers to take up the issue this autumn.
Carter said the question was a natural outgrowth of his decision
last year to open all combat positions to women.
He said that move was necessary to ensure that the U.S. military, an
all-volunteer force, reached the most diverse group of applicants.
"We need to reach the largest pool of people that we can, and women
make up half of our country," he told a group of Marines at Marine
Corps Air Station Miramar in California.
The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer force since the 1970s,
but young men must register for the Selective Service in case the
draft is reactivated.
The top U.S. Marine Corps and Army generals said on Tuesday that
women should be required to register for the military draft, along
with men, as the armed forces move toward integrating them fully
into combat positions.
Carter declined to give his opinion on the matter when pressed by
reporters after his remarks, saying only he expected lawmakers to
address it this autumn.
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Carter announced in December that the military would let women serve
in all combat roles, prompting opposition from many Republican
members of Congress, some of whom said it would force women to
register for the draft.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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