Ten retired military leaders have joined an effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court declare the male-only military draft unconstitutional.

Former Director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden and retired Army General Stanley McChrystal are among those supporting the petition of the National Coalition for Men (NCM), according to Newsweek. The news magazine said the retired military officials had filed an amicus brief on February 10.

Military Times reported that the NCM was being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The news organization also noted that the NCM's petition had been filed on January 8 and the Selective Service System had to submit its response by March 15.

The amicus brief was quoted by Newsweek as asserting that "requiring both women and men" to sign up for the draft was "long overdue." The brief also said the male-only draft was "the last vestige" of a US military force "that no longer exists," Newsweek reported. Military Times quoted the brief as saying that, in the event of a war requiring the use of the draft, "women will be necessary to meet the military's needs."

Women in combat

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a similar case in 1981, Newsweek and Military Times recalled.

The court decided in favor of allowing a male-only draft, the news organizations noted. They explained that, at that time, women were not allowed to serve in combat and the court justified its position by saying that the purpose of the draft was to ensure that the country had a large enough fighting force in the event of war.

The American military did away with the ban on women in combat in 2013 and the new law suit was filed soon afterwards, according to Military Times. The NCM was asking the court to reconsider its 1981 ruling, but it was not asking for women to be subject to the draft, Newsweek noted.

'Sex stereotypes'

Rita Tabacco Mar, of the ACLU, was quoted by Newsweek as saying that the male-only draft was "based on outdated and sexist notions" and that "sex stereotypes" did not belong in America's laws.

She said that requiring men, but not women, to register for the draft "treats women as unfit for this obligation of citizenship," according to Newsweek.

Military Times recalled that last year the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service had recommended that women be made subject to the draft. The documents of the commission, which has since gone out of existence, can be seen online until the end of August 2021.

Failing to register for the draft could result in a young man losing his eligibility for federal student aid, job training and employment with the federal government, according to Newsweek. The draft has not actually been used for more than 45 years, according to Military Times.

'Not my daughter'

Most of America's military leadership did not want to resort to conscription, but there were some who wanted to bring back the draft, Military Times reported. The news organization pointed to retired Army Major General Dennis Laich as one such proponent of a return to the draft. According to Military Times, Laich has expressed concerns that if the Supreme Court struck down the male-only draft, then it would be up to Congress to eliminate draft registration completely or require women to register. A protective impulse - "no way you're going to draft my daughter" - could sway members of Congress to do away with the draft altogether, Laich told Military Times.

Military Times noted that Hayden, a former director of the CIA, and McChrystal were joined in their amicus brief by the following retired Army officials: Army Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, Army Major General Randy Manner, Army Major General Gale Pollock, and Army Brigadier General Marianne Watson.

Navy Rear Admiral John Hutson and Navy Rear Admiral Harold L. Robinson also signed the amicus brief, as did Marine Corps Brigadier General Stephen Cheney and Air Force Brigadier General Carlos E. Martinez, Military Times said.