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No, women aren’t required to register for the draft

Current law does not require women to sign up for Selective Service in case there is a draft, but a Senate proposal could change that.

There hasn’t been a military draft in America for decades, but military-age men are still required to register for the Selective Service, which means they could be enlisted if there was a draft. Women have historically not been required to register, but there have been proposals to change that.

A VERIFY viewer saw a TikTok claiming one such proposal has become law.

“Ladies, when you turn 18, you now have to register for the draft,” the TikTok user said in a recent video

VERIFY reader Fallon T. sent the TikTok to the team and asked, “Are women 18-25 required to sign up for the draft?”

THE QUESTION

Are women required to register for the draft?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, women aren’t required to register for the draft.

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WHAT WE FOUND

Most men ages 18 to 25 who live in the U.S. are required to register with Selective Service, which means they could be enlisted if there was a draft. That hasn’t happened since the conflict in Vietnam during the early 1970s, which means registration has essentially been a formality for several decades.

If a draft were required again in the future, men would be called based on a random lottery number and their year of birth, according to the Selective Service System

Women have never been required to register for the draft, and still aren’t today. But there have been some proposals aimed at changing that. 

The bill mentioned in the TikTok sent to VERIFY was House Resolution 4350, the U.S. House’s 2022 version of a yearly military budget law called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While that bill did propose to “expand Selective Service registration to include women,” it never passed the Senate and did not become law. 

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Congress passes a version of the NDAA each year in order to change military policies and outline how funding is spent. 

The Senate’s version of the 2022 NDAA became law and did not require women to register for Selective Service

But the proposal is back on the table in the Senate’s version of the 2023 NDAA, which would “require the registration of women for Selective Service,” according to the bill text. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is the bill’s sponsor.

“The provision also adjusts the Selective Service to ‘meet the diverse mobilization needs of the Department of Defense’ – broadening the Selective Service to support a wide array of national security roles versus just combat replacements, as is the intent now. It also specifies that this is to be used in a ‘time of war,’” a spokesperson for the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) told VERIFY. 

The provision requiring women to register for Selective Service is only in the Senate’s version of the 2023 NDAA, not in the House’s proposed version, a spokesperson said. The House passed its version on July 14, 2022. 

The Senate NDAA has not yet been debated or voted on by the full Senate. It would ultimately “need to be merged with the House bill to produce a final bill – which will need to reach a decision on whether or not to include this language,” the spokesperson said. 

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