Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks met with the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) yesterday at the Pentagon to thank committee members for their work and discuss their experiences while serving on DACOWITS.
She acknowledged the hard work each volunteer member is undertaking, and thanked the group for the 10 installation visits they have conducted for 2023, where they held 48 focus group sessions with hundreds of service members to gain insight into how best to improve the military service experience for women.
“Those numbers and your ability to keep your finger on the pulse of our force are just extraordinary,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks. “I’d like to acknowledge how much Secretary Austin and I value all that you do, and with only 14 members and a small executive staff, it is clear that each of you are punching far above your weight.”
During the 2023 research year, the DACOWITS visited: Fort Liberty, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, Fort Moore, Moody Air Force Base, Naval Station Norfolk, Naval Air Station Oceana, Langley Air Force Base, Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, and MCRD Parris Island.
For the 2023 research year, the Defense Department tasked DACOWITS to examine seven study topics:
- Recruitment Initiatives to Increase Women’s Propensity to Serve
- Retention Initiatives for Servicewomen
- Gender Integration
- Physical Fitness Standards
- Women in Aviation
- Pregnancy in the Military
- Gender Discrimination
Once the group has finished collecting and analyzing data, the Committee will submit recommendations via a comprehensive report to the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) for review and consideration.
The DACOWITS is composed of civilian women and men appointed by the Secretary of Defense to provide advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment, retention, employment, integration, well-being, and treatment of women in the Armed Forces of the United States.
As one of the oldest Defense Department federal advisory committees, DACOWITS’ recommendations have historically been instrumental in effecting changes to laws and policies pertaining to military women. Since 1951, the Committee has submitted over 1,000 recommendations to the Secretary of Defense for consideration. As of 2023, approximately 97% have been either fully or partially adopted by the Department.
More information is available here.