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    USNORTHCOM shapes WPS program

    USNORTHCOM shapes WPS program

    Photo By Thomas Paul | Jennifer Taylor, top right, Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Liliana Moreno Miranda 

    U.S. Northern Command

    In its continuing effort to expand and evolve the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) program, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) hosted a series of WPS barrier analysis focus groups for command members from Feb. 28 to Mar. 3, 2023, at the North American Aerospace Command and USNORTHCOM headquarters on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.

    WPS is a policy framework that recognizes women must be critical actors in all efforts to achieve sustainable international peace and security. WPS promotes a gendered perspective and women’s equal and meaningful participation in peace processes, peacebuilding and security.

    In 2020, Gen. Glen VanHerck, Commander NORAD and USNORTHCOM, released a memo on the WPS implementation guidance for the command:

    USNORTHCOM staff and components will integrate WPS principles into their strategies, plans, and operations to better defend the homeland, strengthen partnerships, and provide flexible responses to civil authorities. The USNORTHCOM WPS program will institutionalize WPS across our missions and functions to improve operational effectiveness, promote opportunities for meaningful participation in decision-making across the command, and ensure safety, security, and human rights for all.

    The Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded research and development center, led the barrier analysis focus groups. Discussions included the understanding of WPS, where WPS is and is not relevant to command missions and functions, and the opportunity to identify any challenges or opportunities for WPS implementation.

    “Participating in the focus groups is an opportunity for each organization to shape WPS implementation – to identify ideas and concerns,” said K. T. Justice, Director of Command Security. “The focus groups will allow the WPS team to establish a baseline for the program and identify challenges and opportunities for better implementation across the command.”

    The History of WPS
    In 2000, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council adopted U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS, the first resolution to address the disproportionate and unique effects of armed conflict on women and girls.

    In 2011, the United States published the first U.S. National Action Plan on WPS in accordance with Executive Order 13595.

    In 2017, the president signed into law the WPS Act (Public Law 115-68), making this the first legislation of its kind in the world to acknowledge the multifaceted roles of women throughout the conflict spectrum and call on the U.S. government to promote the meaningful participation and protection of women globally.

    In 2019, the U.S. government released the U.S. Strategy on WPS, making the United States the first country in the world with both a comprehensive law and whole-of-government strategy on WPS. The strategy compelled the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of State (DoS), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to develop WPS implementation plans.

    In 2020, the DoD published the WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan that provided the DoD objectives to implement DoD Strategy and Act and fulfilled the WPS Act and Strategy requirement to establish plans.

    WPS supports Operation Allies Welcome
    One historic example that highlighted the success of the WPS program was Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) in 2021. As a DoS initiative, OAW enabled Afghan men, women, and children to immigrate out of Afghanistan and to the United States. The program supported nearly 74,000 Afghans – temporarily housed in “safe havens” across eight locations in the United States – working toward U.S. citizenship and a better, safer life in the country.

    USNORTHCOM deployed a total of 27 gender advisory support personnel to those eight locations supporting OAW from September 2021 through February 2022. OAW gender advisors ensured the needs of men, women and children were acknowledged and met – this was the command’s first ever operationalization of WPS.

    “By deploying gender advisors at the request of DHS, we provided a truly ground-breaking and critical resource to the task forces," said VanHerck. “The gender advisors’ thorough assessments and support helped enable the success of Afghans resettling into American communities.”

    WPS Today
    USNORTHCOM’s mission is to integrate WPS principles into its strategies, plans and operations to better defend the homeland, strengthen partnerships, and provide flexible response to civil authorities.

    During the WPS focus group discussions, participants stated the need for more awareness on the WPS program, emphasizing the need for the program “to become an urgent command priority.” Others debated, stating, “There is no cookie-cutter solution for integrating WPS into every mission set,” and strongly advocated for leadership to analyze and see where WPS has relevance.

    Tiffani Phillips, USNORTHCOM’s gender advisor, is extremely optimistic about the way ahead for WPS implementation at USNORTHCOM and in partnership with our Canadian Element NORAD counterparts.

    “We have fantastic senior leader support coupled with effective and engaged gender focal points across the staff, components, and subordinates,” she said. “The successful deployment of gender advisory support during Operation Allies Welcome paved the way for lessons learned to be implemented within the command, across the Department, and with the Interagency.”

    In addition, Phillips stated that initiatives are already in progress to shape the future of the DoD gender advisory workforce to make it more readily identifiable and deployable to support surge operations.



    Date Taken: 03.02.2023
    Date Posted: 03.02.2023 13:23
    Story ID: 439579

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