By The Associated Press
Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units.
A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider this month, touching off a provocative debate about the role of women in the military.
The panel also turned aside a measure backed by Democrats to punish the Citadel military college in South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag.
The United States has not had a military draft since 1973 in the Vietnam War era, but all men must register with the Selective Service Systems within 30 days of turning 18. Military leaders maintain that the all-volunteer force is working and the nation is not returning to the draft.
Hunter’s amendment was part of a defense policy bill that authorizes defense spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1. The committee passed the legislation by a 60-2 vote early Thursday.
The overall bill cuts $18 billion from the wartime operations account to pay for weapons and troops the Pentagon didn’t request, a money-shifting strategy Defense Secretary Ash Carter condemned as a “road to nowhere” that undermines U.S. troops and emboldens America’s enemies.