Women will eventually have to register for the draft if "true and pure equality" is to be realized in the U.S. military, Army Secretary John McHugh said Monday.
"If your objective is true and pure equality then you have to look at all aspects" of the roles of women in the military, McHugh said, and registration for the draft "will be one of those things. That will have to be considered."
McHugh said draft registration was not a subject to be decided by the services or the Department of Defense, and will ultimately have to be dealt with by Congress. He expected a "pretty emotional debate and discussion."
However, as more military occupational specialties are opened to women, the debate on Selective Service System registration was inevitable, McHugh said. "If we find ourselves as a military writ large where men and women have equal opportunity, as I believe we should," he said.
The question on women and the draft was posed to McHugh and Gen. Mark Milley, the new Army chief of staff, at the annual three-day meeting and exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army at the Walter E. Washington convention center in Washington, D.C. Milley deferred the question to McHugh, saying he could not comment on policy.