There has been some confusion floating around the Golden State as to whether all men (including trans women) qualify for compelled military service, regardless of identity.

Understanding Draft Registration for Transgender Individuals

In the United States, the Selective Service System (SSS) mandates that all individuals assigned male at birth, including transgender women, register for the draft. This requirement applies to all male U.S. citizens and immigrants aged 18 through 25.

The policy stipulates that transgender women, who are individuals assigned male at birth but who have transitioned to female or self-identify as female, must still register. Conversely, transgender men, individuals born female, are not required to register.


Legal and Administrative Basis For Military Selective Service

The current policy is rooted in the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA), which requires registration based on the sex assigned at birth. The Selective Service System has maintained this interpretation, indicating that until Congress amends the MSSA or passes new legislation addressing gender identity, the requirement will remain as it is.

This means that the registration process does not consider gender changes that occur after birth.  Men who self-identify as women who receive an induction notice can try to file for an exemption from military service at that time.

Credit Canva
Credit Canva

Implications and Future Legislative Changes to the Draft

The Biden administration has upheld existing requirements. In 2021, the administration backed a provision that would require all citizens, regardless of gender, to register for the draft.  If this were the case, men and women would be required to register for the draft. As of now, women may choose to voluntarily serve. A potential change like this could prevent the use of identity politics as a means of draft-dodging. If gender is removed from the current legislation, it wouldn’t matter how you identify, you're in. 

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Despite recent challenges in recruitment, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a competitive labor market, the military branches are adapting with innovative recruiting strategies. The Army has programs to help potential recruits meet enlistment standards, and the Air Force hosts aviation camps to attract young people. While recruiting goals have been missed in some branches, efforts are ongoing to improve enlistment numbers.

What Are The Odds of Being Drafted In California

Despite the requirements for registration, the likelihood of being drafted remains extremely low. The United States has not had an active draft since 1973, and the military currently relies on an all-volunteer force. The Selective Service System exists as a contingency plan in case of a national emergency that requires rapid expansion of the military. Therefore, while registration is mandatory, the probability of an individual being drafted is minimal.

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