By Derrick Broze
The U.S. Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017 with provisions that will force women to sign up for potential military draft and continues the practice of indefinite detention.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a $602 billion annual defense budget that President Obama has promised to veto because the bill does not allow for the closing of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Senate Bill 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, passed with a vote of 85 Senators in favor and 13 against.
One issue the entire Congress seemed to agree on was voting against closing military bases around the world. While the Pentagon called for budget cuts stating that the military has more space than they need, Congress refused to go along with the cuts. “Besides, several lawmakers have argued that the Pentagon has cooked the books to justify its conclusions or at least didn’t do the math completely,” the Associated Press reports. The Senate also voted against an amendment to close the infamous military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Another contentious area of debate was the mandate to force women who turn 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018 to register for Selective Service. Males are already required register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The United States has maintained a volunteer military force since 1973, but through Selective Service the military could reinstate a draft and call upon registered males and females. Those who do not register could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although the penalty has rarely been enforced.
The most horrendous part of the NDAA 2017 is that that the annual military budget continues to include a provision which allows for indefinite detention of American citizens without a right to trial. Many of you may remember that President Obama had no problem signing the NDAA 2012 in 2011, which legalized the indefinite detention of American citizens suspected of ties to terrorism. The indefinite detention provision is still contained in the NDAA, and has been approved by Congress and signed by President Obama every year since it first passed.
On Thursday June 9, Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Dianne Feinstein of California spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of an amendment bill which would have removed the indefinite detention clause from NDAA 2017 and offered protections to American citizens weary of a federal government with too much power. The “Due Process Guarantee Amendment to the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017” would have clarified “that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.”