For the first time in the United States' 245-year history, American women could be required to sign up for the Selective Service after legislation expanding the draft is expected to get the green light from Congress, a report out Wednesday stated.
The question of who should be compelled to serve has been debated in the US for years. Now it looks likely to pass with a bipartisan coalition of support.
Wednesday's report notes the backers include veterans, feminists and even traditional Republicans - lawmakers ranging from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to Democrat Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth have said it's time to expand the draft to women.
Opposition has been relatively scant - about a dozen Republican senators have stood against the measure. Lawmakers who oppose the Selective Service in general could also vote against the bill.
Earlier this month, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley introduced an amendment to strip the gender-neutral Selective Service language out of the NDAA. It's not clear if the bill gained much traction.
Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler spoke out against the measure on Wednesday morning.
' Using women as a chess piece in a political “equality” argument is not only misguided but is insulting to our female population,' she wrote on Twitter. 'Claiming their inclusion in the draft would prove “equality” is ridiculous.'
Conservative groups have also stood against the reform.
'There is nothing hindering women’s ability to volunteer and serve in the military, so there is no need for this dangerous and unnecessary draft mandate contained in the NDAA,' public policy organization the Family Research Council tweeted Tuesday.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced support for the Selective Service to be expended to women, a measure that's part of this year's military spending bill. Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer told colleagues on Sunday that it'll likely be voted on this week
The provision is included in the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives by a 316 - 113 vote in September.
If passed, all US citizens aged 18 to 26 would be required to sign up regardless of gender identity.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York wrote to colleagues in a letter on Sunday, 'it is likely that the Senate considers the NDAA this upcoming week.'
The change would be mostly symbolic - the government hasn't drafted men for combat since the Vietnam War.
But should it ever need to be used again, Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania warned, an expansion would allow the military to tap into a broad range of necessary experiences.
'God forbid, if we're in that place where we need to call on everybody to help us, we will need all kinds of skills,' Houlahan, an Air Force veteran, told Axios.
'Cyber-related skills, as well as other sorts of skills that we don't necessarily currently think of when we think of the Selective Service.'
'It seems to me given that women are playing every single possible role in the military,' Maine Senator Susan Collins told Huffpost on Wednesday. 'The registration should apply to both men and women.'