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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 573-96
October 08, 1996

DEFENSE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN THE SERVICES COMPLETE VISIT WITH SERVICE MEMBERS IN EUROPE

The Executive Committee of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) visited with approximately 1,500 U.S. military personnel in Italy, Hungary, the United Kingdom, and Germany during a two week fact-finding mission July 12-27, 1996. The eight member Executive Committee presented their findings in a report to the Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. The report contained a review of the information collected from the military women and men during focus group sessions at each location.

During their travels, the Committee noted concerns of Service members in areas such as forces development and utilization, equality management, and quality of life. The Committee's fundamental mandate is to talk with uniformed Service personnel about their concerns, issues, problems and suggestions to assist in developing their recommendations to the Secretary of Defense. Professionalism and good morale were evident from all Service personnel throughout the trip.

The DACOWITS Executive Committee conducted more than 100 focus groups with military women and men. They also talked to family members and directors of support services. Following each visit, they discussed their findings with command leadership on overall trends on the issues related to their specific installation.

The trip's overwhelming success was due in large part to the support and openness from command leadership, and the candor from the troops. The DACOWITS will be sending the commands visited a copy of the findings to share with their personnel. Holly Hemphill, chair of DACOWITS, said, We want the women and men with whom we met to know that we listened and have shared their concerns with Secretary Perry. We hope this information will assist the Department of Defense in its continuing efforts to improve the policies and programs that affect our military people and enhance combat readiness.

The DACOWITS Executive Committee also visited Jordan at the request of Maj. (Her Royal Highness Princess) Aisha Bint Al Hussein, director of the Directorate of Women's Affairs, Jordan Armed Forces (JAF). During the visit there was a mutual exchange of information and ideas about the role of women in the JAF. The delegation also met with King Hussein and Queen Noor.

DACOWITS members are appointed by the Secretary of Defense and serve as a preeminent source of information on how the Department of Defense's programs and policies affect, in practice or perception, military people in the fleet and field. Additionally, the Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary of Defense and the Services leadership on personnel policy issues. The members serve as individuals, not as official representatives of any group or organization with which they are affiliated.

Reports can be obtained through DACOWITS at 703-697-2122.