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