"I think they'll be surprised by the number that will come forward," said the 25-year Navy veteran who retired in the 1990s. She said the Navy faced a similar question then: Did women want to go to sea?

If you asked someone in 1985 about going to sea, she would have been thinking: `Girls don't do that and so I don't want to do that,"' Manning said. "But when push came to shove, they did it, they loved it."

Changing the rules for a potential future draft would be a difficult proposition.

The Supreme Court has ruled that because the Selective Service Act is aimed at creating a list of men who could be drafted for combat -- and women are not in combat jobs -- American women aren't required to register upon turning 18 as all males are. If combat jobs open to women, Congress would have to decide what to do about that law.