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John McCain Joins Call to Register Women for the Draft

McCain ripped reports of a possible extension in the Iran nuclear deal deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is the latest to say that women should be registering for the draft.  

While there's no expectation the U.S. military will return to conscription any time soon, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is siding with service chiefs who say that with all combat roles opened to women, the Selective Service system should include them, too.  

"As women serve in more roles across the armed forces, I support the recommendation of the Army Chief of Staff and the Commandant of the Marine Corps that women should register for Selective Service," McCain said in a statement provided to Roll Call. "It is the logical conclusion of the decision to open combat positions to women."  

On the presidential campaign trail, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida have split on the question, with Cruz expressing vehement opposition to expanding the Selective Service requirement over the past several days.  

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a frequent ally of McCain on national security policy, said earlier this week she had reached the same conclusion after hearing from the uniformed leaders of the Army and Marine Corps at an Armed Services Committee hearing last week on broader issues of women in combat.  

All have stressed though that given the current structure of an all-volunteer force, registering for a draft doesn't mean there should be any expectation of one actually happening.  

McCain said, "It is important to point out that because of the resounding success of the All-Volunteer Force, it is exceedingly unlikely that a draft would ever be required again."

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