By Monika Jones, detailee to the Defense Security Cooperation University
This month marks the 20th Anniversary of the landmark United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security (WPS). On October 31, 2000, the UNSCR member nations voted unanimously to ensure the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts of maintenance and promotion of peace and security efforts globally. Further, UNSCR 1325 recognizes the critical need to protect the rights of women, as they are disproportionately burdened by the negative impacts of armed conflict.
The United States developed its first National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS in 2011 in response to Executive Order 13595, which specified initiatives and activities that empowered and enlisted women and girls in efforts to achieve international peace and security, mandating WPS implementation. The 2011 NAP was the first interagency plan to organize the U.S. government efforts to implement UNSCR 1325 into national context. However, WPS efforts have been implemented since 2012 when the Secretary of Defense issued a memo directing the Department to expand or improve upon current activities to implement the intent of the NAP on WPS. The Secretary designated the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy as responsible for coordinating the implementation of the NAP and in 2013, released the DoD Implementation Guide for the NAP on WPS.
In 2017, the United States Congress passed the Women, Peace, and Security Act. This Act directed the Executive Branch to establish a WPS strategy and implementation plan that improves the participation of women in conflict prevention and peace and security processes. Additionally, the WPS Act of 2017 directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to provide training to relevant personnel on the importance of women in the peace process. In 2019, the White House released the U.S. Strategy on WPS and shortly after in June of this year, the DOD released its WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan.
DOD’s WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan is a unifying step towards fully incorporating perspectives of women in military activities, operations, and investments across the continuum of conflict and crisis. DoD’s holistic approach will lead to a unifying policy that codifies best practices to further support national security objectives.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is a key partner in the implementation of the WPS strategic framework which supports our nation’s defense strategy. The Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU), a component of DSCA, is developing training curriculum on WPS that will be initially delivered to Security Cooperation Officers (SCOs). Training provided to the SCOs and other relevant personnel will be deployed as a part of the Security Cooperation Workforce Certification Program, which launched in January 2020. DSCU is working closely with Department partners and WPS subject matter experts to ensure our SCOs, who work hand in hand with our allied and partner nations, are fully equipped to support the WPS objectives of the United States.
Other DSCA components and affiliates also conduct educational and building partner capacity activities in support of the WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan. The Institute for Security Governance (ISG) offers two courses for US allied and partner nations designed to support the goals of UNSCR 1325 and the US WPS Act, and assist partner nations increase female participation in their armed forces and defense decision-making. “Women’s Integration into the Armed Forces” focuses on the benefits, challenges and opportunities of integrating women into the force, with particular emphasis on specific approaches to recruit, employ and retain women, and “Women in Strategic Defense and Security Decision-making” focuses on how to increase women’s participation in executive-level defense decision-making to confront national security challenges.
At the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS), Congressionally-mandated human rights programs deliver WPS content on gender violence, trafficking in persons, and internally displaced persons & refugees. DIILS resident courses incorporate instructional blocks and exercises on topics such as trafficking in persons, gender-based violence and human rights, genocide, prosecuting sexual assault crimes, and WPS.
In support of UNSCR 1325 and the WPS Act of 2017, faculty at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies have hosted workshops supporting Indo-Pacific partners in the development of their own WPS national action plans among Indo-Pacific partners, and all Regional Centers increasingly center WPS principles in resident course curricula.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies has published an edited collection of essays, "Twenty Years, Twenty Stories: Women, Peace, and Security in the Western Hemisphere," that reflect the inclusion of women across mission areas including cyber, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The Perry Center hosted a virtual book launch for this volume on October 29: https://www.williamjperrycenter.org/content/virtual-book-launch-women-peace-and-security-western-hemisphere
For more information on the four lines of effort of the U.S. WPS Strategy and the DoD strategic framework objectives, read on.
To view DoD’s WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan visit: https://go.usa.gov/xGSsK
Find out more about the Security Cooperation Workforce Certification Program: https://www.dscu.mil