Women could begin registering for the draft as early as 2018, or the entire Selective Service System could be abolished by then.
Both options hang over upcoming negotiations connected to the annual defense authorization bill, since House and Senate drafts of the policy measure contain dramatically different plans on whether women should be required to sign up for possible involuntary military service.

The Senate draft includes language that would require all women between 18 and 26 to register with Selective Service officials. They argue in the legislation that “the ban of females serving in ground combat units has been lifted by the Defense Department, and as such, there is no further justification to apply the selective service act to males only.”
House lawmakers at one point had similar language in their authorization bill draft, but stripped it during debate last month. Instead, they favor a report on the possibility of eliminating the Selective Service agency, amid comments from critics that it has outlived its usefulness.
The system costs about $23 million a year to maintain, even though it hasn’t been used in more than five decades. And a 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office called into question whether officials with the system could supply a list of draftees if the Defense Department asked for one, citing shortcomings in the process.
House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders met Thursday to discuss potential sticking points in upcoming conference discussions on a compromise authorization bill.
Senate committee chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said he didn’t see the issue as a major point of contention, even though several senators fought unsuccessfully to strip the change from the bill.