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Fact check: Is Jacky Rosen forcing ‘our daughters’ into the draft?

Updated June 19, 2024 - 10:27 am

Republican Senate candidate Sam Brown posted a video on X over the weekend criticizing his Democratic opponent Sen. Jacky Rosen for voting to “make signing up for the draft mandatory for our daughters.”

In the video, which has more than 740,000 views, Brown says it is an “unbelievable and unacceptable way” for senators to be voting right now and says the policies of the Biden administration have left a “severe deficiency in our recruiting of a volunteer army.”

“I volunteered to serve,” he says. “My wife volunteered to serve. I honor all those who volunteer to serve. But this is absurd. This is unacceptable. Our daughters will not be forced into a draft. You should be ashamed of yourself, Jacky Rosen.”

The Army veteran is correct in that Rosen did in fact vote in favor of requiring women to register for the military draft, but he fails to mention the fact that there hasn’t been a military draft since the Vietnam War.

Brown is referring to a vote Rosen made as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. She voted with 21 other members — an almost even mix of Democrats and Republicans — to advance the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2025 fiscal year to the Senate floor last week.

The act includes an amendment to the Military Selective Service Act that would require the registration of women for Selective Service. Currently, all American men are required to register for the draft when they turn 18. The last military draft was in 1973, more than 50 years ago.

Congress and the president can reinstate the draft in a national emergency or war that the country’s current all-volunteer military can’t support, but there are no plans to reinstate a draft.

The U.S. has used systems of conscription since the Revolutionary War era, and in 1940 before the U.S. entered World War II, the first peacetime draft was enacted, according to the Selective Service System. From 1976 to 1980, registration was suspended, and the Selective Service System entered into a “deep standby” position.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter reinstated Selective Service registration for men.

Proposals to include women in selective service registration was first recommended in 2020 by the 11-member National Commission on Military, National and Public Service, which is chaired by Joe Heck, a former Nevada Republican congressman. The proposal came five years after the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women.

“This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified nation in a time of national emergency,” the commissioners wrote in the 255-page report.

The vote to include women in the draft in the Senate Committee on Armed Services has taken place for the past four years and has consistently received bipartisan support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, has for years said the draft should also apply to women.

GOP Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have all supported the measure in the past.

There have been efforts to repeal the Military Selective Service Act as a whole. GOP Rep. Perry Scott of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced legislation in 2021 and 2023, but it has not made it through the congressional Committees on Armed Services.

Brown’s campaign did not return requests for more details on Brown’s position regarding Selective Service and what actions he would take on it, if elected.

Have you seen claims from politicians that should be fact checked? Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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