“Women, Peace and Security isn’t just a nice to have but it is a core value that we have…to create a more ready, a more resilient, and more effective military…”

GEN Laura J. Richardson,
Commander, U. S. Southern Command

Women, Peace, and Security (WPS)

What is Women, Peace, and Security (WPS)?

Women Peace and Security is a global policy framework arising out of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts of the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, including women’s participation within the security sector and member nation armed forces. Nine additional resolutions that comprise the WPS agenda have been passed since UNSCR 1325 was adopted.

WPS and the DoD

After the adoption of UNSCR 1325, UN member countries issued National Action Plans to implement the WPS agenda, with the U.S. issuing its implementation plan in 2011, and then updating it in 2016. In 2017, the U.S. become the first country to codify WPS into law.

  • 2017: U.S. WPS Act becomes first law on WPS; Tasked DoD, DoS, USAID, & DHS to implement WPS.
  • 2019: U.S. Strategy on WPS released to guide USG WPS implementation.
  • 2020: DoD Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan provides defense objectives for DoD to meet WPS Act requirements. 
  • 2021: The Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military report includes five WPS recommendations.

These documents form the foundation of the Army’s requirement to institutionalize and operationalize Women, Peace and Security across its commands, missions, and functions. There is an annual Congressional reporting requirement for DoD organizations to provide input on the progress they are making in implementing WPS.

Why WPS Matters

Integrating WPS principles improves operational effectiveness, promotes opportunities for meaningful participation in decision-making across DoD, and ensures safety, security, and human rights for all.

WPS in Practice in the Military

Combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq revealed capability gaps on the ground that left U.S. forces unable to interact with half of the population, limiting operational effectiveness. By using a gender lens these operational gaps can be filled—from the recruitment and employment of Soldiers, to carrying out missions on the ground, to succeeding in the future operating environment including near peer competition. Women, Peace, and Security is an emerging capability that uses gender to analyze the operational environment in order to more effectively fight and win our nations wars.

The U.S. Army Approach to WPS Implementation

As the designated Office of Primary Responsibility for WPS for CAC, PKSOI is approaching this mandate by:”

  • Raising awareness of WPS background and requirements across the Army enterprise
  • Establishing the U.S. Army Gender Advisor (GENAD) and Gender Focal Point (GFP) network
  • Leveraging the GENAD/GFP network to revise and incorporate WPS into Doctrine, Professional Military Education, Training, and planning and operational frameworks.

DoD WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan: Defense Objectives

Defense Objective 1Defense Objective 2Defense Objective 3
The DoD exemplifies a diverse organization that allows for women’s meaningful participation across the development, management, and employment of the Joint Force.Women in partner nations meaningfully participate and serve at all ranks and in all occupations in defense and security sectors.Partner nation defense and security sectors ensure women and girls are safe and secure and that their human rights are protected, especially during conflict and crisis.