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Advisory Committee Gets New Members, New Charter

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2002 – The Defense Department announced Oct. 22 the new members of a revamped, reshaped Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the department wanted to change the way the board did business. "What we decided to do was discontinue the old approach and to have a considerably smaller board," he said during a Pentagon press conference Oct. 22.

The previous committee had 22 members. The newly appointed one, 13.

"My hope would be that this very talented and distinguished group of people will be able to provide advice and suggestions for the department so that our stewardship of the kinds of issues that fall within their charter will be thoughtful and improved," Rumsfeld said. "We appreciate their service."

Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Carole Mutter, the newly appointed chair, said the committee will act as the "eyes and ears" of the Department of Defense on matters within its realm. "We'll be more focused and the information we collect will be able to be used to record data," she said in a phone interview. "This should make it easier to spot actual trends and discount what are anomalies."

Mutter, who served as the head of manpower for the Corps, said the committee was helpful to her when she was on active duty. She noted a case where the committee had visited a base and uncovered issues the Corps needed to address.

"I had been to the base weeks before the committee and in conversations with people at all levels, none of these matters came up," she said. "(The personnel) did come forward through DACOWITS and we were able to address the concerns."

Mutter said the smaller committee would mean changes to operating procedures. She doubts its three standing committees will continue, but they may be replaced by issue-oriented subgroups.

"Over time, we will figure out if these issue-oriented groups lend themselves to a permanent committee," she said.

The committee's charter includes looking at family issues and examining their impact on retention and recruiting. It will also look into professional opportunities for all service members, health care, issues of pregnancy and parenting, single parents, and child care and development.

The group will also examine the effects of frequent family separations, pay, housing and cost-of-living allowances.

Mutter, of Brownsburg, Ind., is joined on the committee by Catherine Aspy of Keizer, Ore.; J.P. Duniphan of Rapid City, S.D.; Bonnie Fuller Ford of Albuquerque, N.M.; Susan Patane of Loma Linda, Calif.; and retired Army Reserve Col. Darryl Ladd Pattillo of Austin, Texas.

The remaining seven new members hail from the metro Washington area: Lynda Davis of Great Falls, Va.; Julie Hamre of Bethesda, Md.; Virginia Rowell of Vienna, Va.; retired Air Force Reserve Col. Vance Shaw of McLean, Va.; and Constance Horner, Margaret Robson and Rosalie Silberman, all of Washington.

The committee provides an invaluable service to the department as an independent body of "citizen" advisers, DoD officials said. The committee does not make policy or act as the voice for the department, they said, but it will provide a conduit service members can use to express their concerns to senior leadership directly.

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