Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse led a group of 17 Senators in urging the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees to keep unnecessary culture warring out of the National Defense Authorization Act as they prepare for conference negotiations.

Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree that taking care of national security is more important than running up the score in unnecessary and divisive culture wars,” said Senator Sasse. “Rather than reflexively jumping into a heated debate about drafting our nation’s mothers, sisters, and daughters, we should consider the fact that the greatest fighting force in history—our Armed Forces—is an all-volunteer fighting force and no one is urging Congress to change that. As the Conference Committee negotiates the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress should task an independent commission to study the Selective Service System and determine if it even needs any expansion.”

The letter was signed by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). 

The text of the letter is found below.

Dear Chairman McCain:

Ranking Member Reed:

Chairman Thornberry:

Ranking Member Smith: 

We, the undersigned, request your consideration on a matter of great importance as you prepare for conference negotiations on the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

As you know, the Senate-passed bill includes language that would, for the first time, require women to register for the Selective Service. We believe it is better to refrain from this expansion and to instead, task an independent commission to study the purpose and utility of the Selective Service System, specifically determining whether the current system is unneeded, if it is sufficient, or if it needs an expanded pool of potential draftees.

We should not hinder the brave men and women of our armed forces by entrapping them in unnecessary cultural issues. Our all-volunteer military is the best military the world has ever seen, and women who wish to serve in this military are free to do so. The provision of the FY17 NDAA requiring women to register for the Selective Service should be removed. 

We respectfully ask that you remain mindful of our opposition as you negotiate the final conference product. Specifically, we urge you to adopt the House position.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) 
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 
Senator John Thune (R-SD) 
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) 
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) 
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) 
Senator John Boozman (R-AR) 
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) 
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) 
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) 
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) 
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) 
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) 
Senator David Perdue (R-GA) 
Senator James Risch (R-ID) 
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) 
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Related Files