From 3-7 December 2018, PKSOI participated in the second Joint-certified Operational Gender Advisor Course (OGC) hosted at the USSOUTHCOM Headquarters. Dr. Elizabeth Lape, the J-7 Deputy of Individual Training and Learning led the course. Students who complete the OGC receive joint credit, and are qualified to serves as Gender Advisors (GENADs) on staffs in operational settings and during exercises.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 (2000) acknowledges the significant effects conflict particularly has on women and girls, and also recognizes the role women play as key stakeholders in promoting lasting peace and security. As of November 2018, this resolution has inspired 79 countries across the globe to invest in national action plans to proactively address these challenges and opportunities within the security environment. In addition to the UNSCR 1325 on peacebuilding, subsequent UNSCRs continue to be published covering: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR); civil society initiatives; Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC); Protection of Civilians (PoC) in Armed Conflict; sexual violence (for example, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as a war crime and ending sexual violence; women in the peace process; violence against men, women and children; sexual violence in conflict, and post- conflict including men; women’s role in conflict prevention/resolution; Countering Violent Extremism (CVE); Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in peace operations; and Human Trafficking (HT).
The OGC is in response to mandatory training required by the 2017 Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act and the U.S. National Action Plan on WPS (2011 and revised in 2016), in which the latter specifies tasks to the Department of Defense (DoD). These DoD tasks encompass five objectives: institutionalization, prevention of conflict, protection, participation and access to relief and recovery. During the OGC, the PKSOI WPS Army Lead representative, COL Veronica Oswald-Hrutkay, a 2017 NATO GENAD course graduate, supported efforts as an instructor and small group syndicate leader, while piloting the draft PKSOI “Commander and Staff Guide to Women, Peace, and Security: Integrating a Gender Perspective into Military Operations.” Twenty students and 4 instructors utilized the guide as a key reference during the course in individual and group exercises, as well as during their final written evaluations. The guide was so beneficial to the students that the Course Director is interested in including the guide as a tool for future OGCs. Inquiries about the draft Guide can be made by contacting the PKSOI WPS Army Lead.
Currently, the OGC is initially rotating through all six combatant commands, with the next course anticipated in EUCOM around May/June 2019. After this, the course may reside in one location within the U.S. In addition to training Gender Advisors, the course expands opportunities to build a support network within the WPS community, as well as to share best practices to integrate WPS concepts efficiently across the DoD.
Other WPS and gender related resources include two Joint Knowledge On-line (JKO) training modules called “Improving Operational Effectiveness by Integrating Gender Perspectives” and “The Role of the Gender Advisors.” In addition, PKSOI collects WPS information within its Stability Operations Lessons Learned and Information Management System (SOLLIMS), which has a separate portal focused on WPS. In November 2017, SOLLIMS published a series of WPS vignettes, called “Operationalizing WPS.” As part of the WPS agenda, Combatant Commands created Directives and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to WPS and the gender perspective, such as PACOM’s Multinational Force SOP.
Looking forward, PKSOI will host a WPS Working Group during its annual Peace and Stability Operations Training and Education Workshop (PSOTEW) from 3-5 April 2019 at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Participants in the past years included WPS interagency, academia, civil society and subject matter experts. In anticipation of the WPS Strategy, DoD is working on a DoD Implementation Plan/Instruction in early 2019. PSOTEW offers an opportunity to bring the WPS community together and work together to synchronize efforts.