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Official Says DOD Is Seeking Pathways to Better Integrate Women Into Workforce

The "Women, Peace and Security Framework and Implementation Plan" was published by the Defense Department in June 2020. That plan was the result of the "Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017," Public Law 115-68, which was signed into law on Oct. 6, 2017.

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Class Coordinator
Army Sgt. 1st Class Tamara Latch, a sexual assault response coordinator, conducts training at 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Fort Campbell, Ky., Jan. 27, 2022.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Michael Eaddy
VIRIN: 220127-A-ZY466-347C

The three objectives of DOD's plan are:

  1. That the department exemplifies a diverse organization that allows for women's meaningful participation across the development, management and employment of the joint force.
  2. That women in partner nations meaningfully participate and serve at all ranks and in all occupations in the defense and security sectors.
  3. That partner nations' defense and security sectors ensure women and girls are safe and secure and that their human rights are protected, especially during conflict and crisis.

Elizabeth Phu, principal director of cyber policy in the office of the secretary of defense, spoke Jan. 27 about the implementation plan during a panel discussion about national defense and gender issues at Georgetown University in Washington.

Integrating women, peace and security ideals into plans, strategy and policy is important, as is helping allies and partners understand the value of inclusivity and diversity, Phu said.

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Seaman Stitching
Navy Seaman Elisa Vega removes stitching from a cover aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in the South China Sea, Jan. 26, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Singley
VIRIN: 220126-N-MM912-1031

Phu noted that her office didn't promulgate this implementation plan, but that everyone in the department has a responsibility to think about these issues and look for opportunities to better integrate women into the workforce.

Part of the answer, she said, is figuring out how to more effectively recruit, select and retain women, — both on the civilian and the military sides of DOD.

A woman works on a laptop.
Medical Care
Army 2nd Lt. Mary McCowen, a registered nurse assigned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Md., updates a patient’s medical chart at the Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo, Texas, Jan. 27, 2022.
Photo By: Army Spc. James Alegria
VIRIN: 220127-A-HV314-0002

"When you ignore any segment of the population, you run the risk of not grabbing the best talent available for critical missions. And so, in some sectors, the progress is a lot slower than others, but I do see progress overall," she said.

She said supervisors — including males and females — should look to find the best talent available and they need to embrace diversity, including age, experience, race and gender as absolutely key to developing the workforce we need to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Carla Koppell, a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the senior advisor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Georgetown University, was also on the panel.

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Wire Work
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Ramirez ensures an arresting wire is online aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in the South China Sea, Jan. 26, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Singley
VIRIN: 220126-N-MM912-1035C

Koppell helped create the first U.S. national action plan on women, peace and security, which preceded the "Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017."

"My hope is that as we move forward in the 2020s and beyond, we see really comprehensive application and implementation of the act through the Department of Defense and through other organs of U.S. foreign policy," she said.

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