UNI ROTC thoughts on new defense bill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI ROTC thoughts on new defense bill

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For the first time in history women may soon be required to register for the draft. At the beginning of the year the United States opened up all combat jobs to women. And earlier this week, The Senate approved a huge defense bill that includes an amendment to require women to register for selective service.

Though the United States hasn't drafted anyone since the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago, it's not stopping lawmakers from considering a change. Some think involving women in the draft is unnecessary, but others are in full support.

Jon Thompson spent 30 years in the military, he now works as the ROTC enrollment officer at The University of Northern Iowa.

He says women in the draft wont change anything.

"The army is much better and stronger because the women are in it," said Thompson.

The ROTC program at UNI says no matter man or woman they hold everyone to the same standards.

"Male and female as long as they meet the standard they have the same opportunities to serve," said Thompson.

The same opportunities, something men and women in military did not share in the past. Women weren't allowed to fight on the front lines of combat until just last year, exempting them from registering for the draft.

"They've always played an important role in the military, they've always filled important positions," said Thompson.

Jon stresses, women are important and make the army stronger.

"I've worked with some very impressive women through out my career, in a lot of different areas, I don't think they are stepping up anymore, they have always done a great job, they have always been valuable contributors," said Thompson.

If the bill is passed, women who turn 18 on or after January 1, 2018 will have to register for selective service.

The White House is threatening to veto the defense bill, but not because of the selective service proposal.

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