The House of Representatives recently passed a measure that automatically registers men aged 18 to 26 for selective service as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This act outlines the U.S. government’s military and national security priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. The NDAA for this year authorizes $895.2 billion in military spending, which is a $9 billion increase from the previous fiscal year.

Although the selective service has not been invoked in over half a century, it is mandatory for all male U.S. citizens to register for the military draft when they reach the age of 18. Failure to register is considered a felony and can lead to various legal challenges. The supporters of this amendment argue that it would streamline the process and help individuals avoid legal issues, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars spent on prosecuting such cases.

The initiative was championed by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan from Pennsylvania and was approved in the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the NDAA earlier this year. The measure passed with an overwhelming 57 to 1 vote. Houlahan emphasized that by utilizing existing federal databases, the Selective Service agency would be able to efficiently register all eligible individuals, ensuring fairness and equity in any future military draft.

In addition to the automatic registration provision, the NDAA also included significant updates such as the largest-ever military pay raise, with a 19.5% increase for junior enlisted troops and a 4.5% increase for others. Furthermore, funding was allocated for the construction of two new Virginia-class submarines and the establishment of a drone force within the U.S. Army, among other provisions.

Despite passing the House with a vote of 217 to 199, the future of the NDAA remains uncertain as the Senate may not take up the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the legislation for including amendments that restrict funding for abortion, transgender medical care, and diversity efforts. Schumer emphasized the need for bipartisan collaboration to pass legislation that respects all those who serve in defense of the nation.

Overall, the latest NDAA encompasses crucial updates and provisions that aim to enhance the military capabilities of the United States. The focus on modernization, equitable draft registration, and improved benefits for military personnel underscores the government’s commitment to national security and defense.