The White House and the Pentagon on Thursday respectively announced support for requiring women in the U.S. to register for the military draft when they turn 18, USA Today reports.
The announcement makes Barack Obama the first president since Jimmy Carter to endorse universal registration for the Selective Service. The White House previously was pretty neutral on the subject, but in a new statement to USA Today, Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, revealed the administration had changed its stance:
“As old barriers for military service are being removed, the administration supports — as a logical next step — women registering for the Selective Service.”
The Pentagon echoed Obama’s support, with spokesman Peter Cook saying in a statement, “It makes sense for women to register for Selective Service just as men must.”
The statement came the day before the House of Representatives is set to vote on a defense bill that would remove a provision that passed the Senate to add women to the draft, according to USA Today. Instead, a compromise version wants a commission to investigate whether women should be included in the Selective Service or if the draft should even exist.
Obama apparently supports an all-volunteer military force and has no intention to reinstate the draft. Instead, the White House hopes to demonstrate gender equality in the armed services and to foster a sense of public service by requiring women to register.