Global conflict is evolving, and to illustrate that the United States military needs the expertise and viewpoints of all members of society for success. DOD has published the Women, Peace and Security Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan as part of a national effort to promote the safety, equality and meaningful contributions of women around the world, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said.
"By recognizing the diverse roles women play across the spectrum of conflict — and by incorporating their perspectives throughout plans and operations — DOD is better equipped to promote our security, confront near-peer competitors, and defeat our adversaries," he said.
Stephanie Hammond, the acting assistant secretary of defense for stability and humanitarian affairs, briefed the strategic framework during a webinar hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. She said the plan recognizes that identifying "sustainable security approaches that meet the unique needs of an entire population is greater than ever."
From the "Yeomanettes" and "Hello Girls" of World War I through the establishment of the Women's Army Corps and Women's Airforce Service Pilots during World War II to engagement teams of women serving in Afghanistan, the roles and viewpoints women offer to operations have grown officials said, and this plan seeks to ensure this process continues.
Adversaries — from near-peer competitors to ISIS — seek strategic advantages through the global recruitment and exploitation of diverse populations. "We must work together to continue to empower and train diverse talent," Hammond said.
The Women, Peace and Security Strategy agenda is key to upholding international human rights and the rules-based international order the United States and its allies and partners seek to maintain, and it is part of a whole-of-government approach, Hammond explained. She was joined in the webinar by speakers from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Hammond said she sees the plan as a unique engagement opportunity to strengthen relationships with allies and partners through collective efforts to reinforce women's empowerment, meaningful participation and decision-making, protection from violence and access to resources.
"When we recognize the diverse roles women play as agents of change; and when we incorporate their perspectives throughout our plans and operations, we are better equipped to promote our security, confront our near peer competitors, and defeat our adversaries," she said.
Strategies are great, but if they are not followed, they are just so much clutter on bookshelves. DOD has an implementation plan it will follow to ensure this is not a meaningless effort, Hammond said.
The department will work toward fully incorporating the perspectives of women in military activities, operations and investments across the continuum of conflict and crisis, Hammond said. "This is the first departmentwide strategy that outlines how the department will support the intent of the [Women, Peace, Security] strategy through attention to the composition of our personnel and the development of our policies, plans, doctrine, training, operations, and exercises," she added.
This approach will support the lines of effort in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, Hammond said. "It will help the department strengthen alliances and attract new partners by demonstrating U.S. commitment to human rights and women's empowerment, making the United States the partner of choice," shed said.
Hammond outlined three DOD objectives of the Women, Peace Security strategy:
- To be a diverse organization that allows for women's meaningful participation across the development, management and employment of the joint force;
- To work with partner nations to see women meaningfully participate in serving all ranks, and in all occupations in defense and security sectors; and
- To ensure women and girls are safe and secure, and that their human rights are protected, especially during conflict and crisis.
This is the first DOD-wide strategy written to promote the meaningful inclusion of women across the spectrum of conflict, to strengthen partnerships and increase effectiveness and national security capabilities, Hammond said.
This will not happen overnight. The plan lays out a series of intermediate defense objectives and effects to establish and improve policy frameworks and support achievements in gender equality, Hammond said.