On October 31, 2023, the anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), the White House released the 2023 U.S. WPS Strategy and National Action Plan. This was the second U.S. Government WPS strategy, reflecting the progress made and lessons learned since the release of the 2019 Strategy on WPS.
The 2023 Strategy is a result of coordination among the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense (DoD).
WPS principles are integral to U.S. national security and advance National Defense Strategy objectives by enhancing the recruitment, readiness, and retention of our joint force and defense workforce; shaping DoD operations to incorporate a gender perspective; and working with allies and partners on WPS implementation to build resilience against competitors’ coercive actions.
In the last four years, DoD has made significant strides implementing and institutionalizing WPS. Notable efforts across DoD include:
- Advancing women’s meaningful participation in the U.S. military, including by enhancing protections against sexual assault and harassment. Secretary Austin directed the establishment of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military to take bold action to address sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. military. The subsequent report identified more than eighty recommendations for DoD to improve climate and culture, prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, better care for survivors, and hold perpetrators accountable.
- Investing in and establishing a Gender Advisory Workforce by creating Gender Advisor positions across the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Military Departments and Services, and the Combatant Commands. These full-time Gender Advisors will promote women’s meaningful participation in the U.S. military across DoD Components and in the military and security forces of partner nations.
- Embedding WPS principles into defense engagements with partner nations around the world. In the Western Hemisphere, Secretary Austin and Chilean Defense Minister Maya Fernandez agreed to create a WPS Subcommittee to the Defense Consultative Committee, the annual bilateral meeting between the United States and Chile led by the DoD Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Chilean Ministry of Defense. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command created a regional gender advisor course to train personnel from partner nation militaries to develop the skills necessary to operationalize and institutionalize WPS practices within the defense sectors of allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Following the release of the 2023 WPS Strategy, DoD will now turn to implementation.
The 2023 U.S. WPS Strategy and National Action Plan can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/10/31/fact-sheet-release-of-the-2023-women-peace-and-security-strategy-and-national-action-plan/