News | July 7, 2023

Integrating Women, Peace, and Security Into Security Cooperation

By Barbara Salera Joint Force Quarterly 110

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Dr. Barbara Salera is an Assistant Professor at Defense Security Cooperation University.
General Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, delivers remarks at Women, Peace, and Security roundtable as part of Continuing Promise 2022, in Cartagena, Colombia, November 13, 2022 (U.S. Navy/Sophia Simons)

Security cooperation (SC) programs—or Department of Defense (DOD) activities “to build and develop allied and friendly security capabilities for self-defense and multinational operations . . . provide the armed forces with access to the foreign country . . . [and] build relationships that promote specific United States security interests”1—are one of the most widely used tools the United States has at its disposal to achieve national security and foreign policy objectives. Each year, the United States transfers billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, training, and credit to foreign countries to help build partner-nation militaries in service of achieving American interests.2

The success of using SC to achieve national security objectives or to build partner-nation military capacity, however, remains uneven even under the best of circumstances.3 For SC activities in partner nations to achieve results the United States seeks, all segments of society must be included. Currently, the benefits of SC programs fall disproportionately on male members of partner-nations’ militaries.4 Not only are women excluded, they are often perceived as passive observers or victims of insecurity as opposed to thinkers and actors involved in ensuring a nation’s security.5 As a reflection of American values, women should have equal access to the benefits of SC and other U.S.-provided assistance programs and need to be included in wider peace and security efforts. As Anne Witkowsky has argued, when women are included, they “enlarge the scope of [peace] agreements to include the broader set of critical societal priorities and needs required for lasting peace.”6

Integrating women into peace and security operations can also act as a force multiplier in the planning and execution of these activities.7 There is a reason that even traditionally conservative terrorist organizations, such as Boko Haram, often recruit women as suicide bombers.8 Women, especially in conservative societies, have access to people and places that men may not.9 In addition, because of a focus on male power centers, women’s value and power in paternal societies are often overlooked, to the detriment of military operations.10 Gendering analyses and integrating women into SC planning will widen the scope of what is possible to accomplish. Without a complete understanding of the context of a conflict, it is difficult for a military organization to establish objectives, much less identify the means to accomplish them. Robert Egnell argues that “gendered dimensions of conflict can indeed be tremendously transformative by affecting both what the operation does and how it does it, in terms of its priorities and tactics.”11 Finally, women need to be integrated into security sector activities just as a matter of building a more representative, responsive, legitimate, accountable, and democratic government.12 The Joe Biden administration’s National Security Strategy clearly makes building “an inclusive world” an important objective, reinforcing the need to expand the scope of security cooperation to include women to achieve this end.13

In widespread recognition of the benefits of female inclusion in peace and security issues, on October 31, 2000, the United Nations (UN) unanimously passed UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS).14 This resolution recognized the importance of women in advancing peace and security. The passage of UNSCR 1325 highlighted the influence nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can have on introducing and institutionalizing norms of behavior on an international scale.15 The passage of UNSCR 1325 has had a profound effect on member states, which were urged to integrate gender perspectives into peacekeeping operations,16 to invite gender training “into their national training programmes for military and civilian police personnel in preparation for deployment,”17 and to develop national action plans (NAPs), which structure the implementation of a WPS “regime” at the country level.18

One of the earliest countries to develop a NAP was Denmark, which created its plan in 2005, followed by Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom in 2006.19 The United States did not develop and release its NAP until 2011, when many countries, such as the United Kingdom, were already busy refining theirs.20 Between 2000 and 2020, the UN implemented WPS objectives through gender balancing, which seeks to increase “the number of women in a given role” and through a practice known as gender mainstreaming. According to the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, gender mainstreaming is a “strategy for promoting gender equality . . . [that] involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities—policy development, research, advocacy/dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.”21

In 2017, under the Donald Trump administration, the United States sought to institutionalize its NAP when Congress passed Public Law 115-68, The Women, Peace, and Security Act. This legislation has been touted as “the first legislation of its kind globally”; it seeks to incorporate the priorities of the WPS agenda into law.22 The WPS Act of 2017 specifically requires “relevant Federal agencies” to formulate a coordinated strategy and implement integrating WPS objectives into various activities. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 202023 further reinforces the WPS framework by legislating that DOD incorporate “gender perspectives and participation by women in security cooperation activities to the maximum extent practicable.”24 In 2022, DOD spent approximately $5.5 million to hire personnel, establish policies, and integrate relevant training for WPS into professional military education institutions, with an additional $3 million for SC activities.25

With the WPS framework now having the weight of law, SC planners and practitioners must consider how to integrate its requirements into activities. Military planners often look to doctrine for guidance on how to accomplish objectives, but as currently written, joint doctrine does not provide adequate guidance on integrating a gendered analysis into planning.26 Although Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning, mentions “gendering analysis” as an important aspect of depicting the operational environment, it gives no further guidance. It may be an assumption that a gender advisor (GENAD) would conduct this analysis. Many combatant commands do have GENADs on staff to assist in integrating WPS objectives, but even those tasked to serve may have limited experience.27 As one GENAD put it, being tasked often falls on the “nearest woman” and is in addition to her regular duties.28 Such a process further confuses what GENADs are to do, other than advocate for or consider women’s rights and increase the number of women participants (often referred to as gender balancing), as opposed to conducting a gender analysis.

This article provides a quick overview of WPS guidance documents and provides some insight on how to integrate WPS objectives into SC planning and activities through use of gender mainstreaming to both ensure gender balancing and conduct a gender analysis. Integrating WPS objectives into SC activities is not only mandated; it is also key to ensuring SC objectives have the intended effects on achieving interoperability and long-term global security and regional stability.

An important point to reinforce is that while the phrase women, peace, and security singles out women, it is important not to think of achieving WPS objectives as simply a women’s issue. WPS objectives are human rights objectives. Partner nations that take achieving WPS objectives seriously probably also take supporting and protecting human rights seriously. In addition, integrating women into security and overall gender equality has been linked to durable postconflict peacebuilding, societal stability, peaceful conflict resolution, and higher overall socioeconomic development.29 For the United States, these outcomes translate to regional stability and security aligned with the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance objectives. Additionally, WPS objectives and better integration of women into security give the United States a comparative advantage over near-peer competitors. Through WPS objectives, the United States is seeking to build a security relationship with the whole of society, as opposed to near-peer competitors that seek to simply reinforce the status quo. Human rights and WPS objectives demonstrate a clear soft power advantage that the United States has in its approach to security cooperation; it seeks to invest in the people of a country as opposed to grooming leaders for transactional access to partner nations. Even in highly conservative societies, integrating WPS concepts into SC activities has the potential to enhance the relationship with the United States, build interoperability, and help set the stage for access.

Lieutenant Vicky Nguyen, Gender, Peace, and Security advisor with Royal Australian Navy, presents during “Women and Security during Disaster” lecture at Palawan State University, during Pacific Partnership 2022, Puerto Princesa, Philippines, August 12, 2022 (U.S. Navy/Jacob Woitzel)

U.S. Guidance on WPS

U.S. action to further WPS objectives predates 2017; however, the WPS Act served as the catalyst for the formal integration of gender and gender-based criteria into SC activities. This act tasked the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and any other department or agency specified by the President to develop a common strategy to fulfill the policy objectives outlined in the legislation as well as develop appropriate goals, benchmarks, and performance metrics to ensure accountability and effectiveness of plans to achieve policy outcomes outlined in the legislation. In June 2020, DOD released the WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (SFIP) to organize and outline its efforts to achieve the objectives in the 2019 U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS Strategy).

The SFIP outlines three major objectives: “to model and employ WPS principles, to promote partner nation women’s participation, and to promote protection of partner nation civilians.”30 The SFIP applies to the entire DOD and will require it not only to coordinate internally and across agencies but also to develop a whole-of-society approach, entailing engagement with civil society. SC activities, when seeking to incorporate SFIP and WPS Strategy principles, should try to go beyond the obvious low-hanging fruit of ensuring gender diversity and inclusion among participants. Modeling behavior may be a good place to start with some partner nations, but it alone will not lead to durable progress toward WPS Strategy objectives. An October 23, 2020, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy guidance memorandum reinforces the importance of WPS principles by requiring DOD to apply them to “the development of its policies, plans, doctrine, training, education, operations, and exercises.”31 In addition, UN-mandated military and peacekeeping operations, in which partner nations may participate, will often include objectives and outcomes related to the WPS agenda and UNSCR 1325.32 It is to the benefit of both the United States and partner nations to integrate WPS objectives into SC activities, beginning with planning.

Integrating WPS objectives into SC activities can be a difficult task even under the best of circumstances; it is nearly impossible if there is no clear guidance on how to go about it. Many SC planners may seek guidance from doctrine; its role is to provide “useful guidance to military leaders” as well as a “shared conceptual framework” on how tasks are to be accomplished.33 However, Jody Prescott cites a “U.S. military failure to consider gender as an operational factor.”34 Using gender-neutral language in doctrine and other guidance is not a reflection of gender neutrality as much as it is of gender exclusion. Upon further assessment of U.S. joint civil affairs doctrine, Prescott concludes, “The lens through which the operational environment is analyzed is male, apparently based on the assumption that what is applicable to the men in a civilian population is equally applicable to the women.”35 Even within the U.S. Services, the U.S. military’s gender-neutral approach has not had the intended consequences of achieving gender equality. Kyleanne Hunter writes that in Iraq, the “intersection of a deeply gendered conflict with gender-neutral standards resulted in unintended [negative] consequences” for force effectiveness.36 In Iraq, female U.S. Servicemembers were brought in for a “uniquely gendered reason”: to interact with local Iraqi women in ways that male U.S. Servicemembers could not. If the female Servicemembers were doing a job men could not (that is, serve on Lioness teams), women were seen as invaluable. Once this gendered job task was not the focus of female military members, unit cohesion decreased, as many male Servicemembers believed women would not be able to “hack it,” and it became increasingly difficult for “men to understand and often accept the importance of women.”37 This attitude has led to problems with the U.S. military’s ability to recruit and retain women, dampening the force multiplier effects of gender balancing. If gender-neutral language does not work domestically, why would doctrine writers expect gender-neutral doctrine to provide an adequate guide to military planning? Therefore, without integrating WPS objectives into SC planning, joint doctrine cannot provide adequate guidance to planners.

In addition to guidance on how to integrate WPS objectives into current SC planning and activities, effective integration requires cultural knowledge beyond the traditional sources of information often relied on by SC planners. Incorporating cultural gender knowledge of a partner nation when conducting SC planning assessments is now a must. Demographic breakdown of partner-nation participants is good information to include, but integrating WPS principles in a meaningful manner requires more—specifically, an understanding of the second- and third-order effects of any planned activity on both men and women considering their roles in a partner nation’s society. This goal is better accomplished through gender mainstreaming. Following the strategy of gender mainstreaming will ensure that SC activities actively support WPS principles. And not only will this strategy enhance DOD progress toward achieving the WPS Strategy objectives, it also will enhance the overall effectiveness of SC programs by ensuring all segments of society see a benefit to maintaining a relationship with the United States. By mainstreaming gender during the planning process, the United States can ensure that tangible benefits of SC activities reach both men and women.

It is important to reinforce that gender mainstreaming is not the same as gender balancing. Gender mainstreaming requires more than just increasing the number of women in each activity; it includes such efforts as developing an understanding of why the number of women is limited to begin with. Such an understanding requires an investigation into why women do or do not join the security sector and what impediments they face once there. Impediments can be both policy-based (that is, policies against women in combat roles) or due to traditional gender norms. In addition, does the partner nation have the capacity to absorb an influx of women? Are there barracks? How would uniforms be adjusted to accommodate physical differences between men and women? How robust is the sexual assault prevention program? What type of policies does the partner nation have regarding pregnancy and childbirth? Without serious considerations of these types of issues, any program focused on gender balancing will fail in the long run. Getting women to join is one thing; getting them to stay is another.

In general, because globally men dominate the security sector, the tangible and intangible benefits of security sector assistance, whether it be security assistance or security cooperation, fall disproportionately on men.38 This is not to say that achieving the public good of security only affects men, but through these programs, it is often men who are being trained, learning new skills, or having access to travel and educational opportunities. The United States has tried to ameliorate this situation by incorporating gender-based targets for participation in programs such as international military education and training,39 but for various reasons, such targets are often not met.40 The gender balancing approach is a good start, but a gender mainstreaming approach will ensure that these gender-based targets lead to lasting change.

Until gender mainstreaming occurs, the United States will continue to fail to meet gender-balancing targets over the short and long term. This is not to say that the United States should abandon these efforts. Although five out of the six countries that receive the most security sector assistance continue to have large gender gaps, countries in which the United States has prioritized gender inclusion have smaller security sector gender gaps than the United States.41 Finally, in countries that have to make choices between guns and butter, incorporating WPS principles into security sector activities will make the perceived benefits of these programs more widespread among the beneficiary partner nation’s society. It could also make any planned U.S.-backed security cooperation activity beneficial to all segments of society, not just the military sector. Security cooperation activities can thus enhance overall acceptance of U.S. actions and activities among the general population, further building U.S. soft power and access to the partner nation.

Army Major General Jami Shawley, Commanding General of Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa, conveys importance of including women in discussion of security during Women, Peace, and Security Conference, March 21, 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya (U.S. Air Force/Rachel L. VanZale)

Reflections on Mainstreaming Gender

The first and most vital step in the integration of WPS into SC activities must be accomplished during the assessment—the first activity in SC planning. An initial assessment “provides an understanding of the context, conditions, partner capabilities, and requirements to inform security cooperation planning and implementation.”42 Initial assessments can be conducted by means of a variety of tools and methods. Common methods and tools used in initial assessments include strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis; political, military, economic, social, information, and infrastructure (PMESII) analysis; and diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DIME) analysis. Integrating WPS objectives should begin with assessments that mainstream gender through conducting a gender-based analysis that moves beyond simple demographic information to include a “‘lens that brings into focus the roles, resources, and responsibilities of women and men within the system under analysis.’”43

Generally, these assessments should be conducted with input from all stakeholders, to include the partner nation. Partner-nation stakeholder teams should trend toward gender balancing as a start. When women are included in assessments, definition of problems, causes, and solutions can go beyond “abstract do-gooding with minimal connection to the battles [women] are waging . . . in their own communities.”44 Both SWOT and PMESII are flexible tools in which information vital to gender mainstreaming can be captured. Through these basic analyses, SC planners can understand what roles men and women play in the security forces, the government, or the ministry of defense, and how security issues affect men and women differently. The table presents a list of possible questions for inclusion in a PMESII analysis; however, its list is by no means exhaustive, and the type of information required is situation dependent. When possible, it is important to include sex-disaggregated data, which can provide important information on who benefits from what, how women are integrated into society, and how to best target SC activities for the purposes of integrating women. Sex-disaggregated information should also be tracked, to be included in subsequent assessments.

Table. Integrating Gendered Analysis Using PMESII

Under U.S. law, SC planners must consider “gender perspectives”; this process requires assessments to move beyond simply depicting that, say, piracy or human trafficking is an issue into capturing how these threats to security affect men and women differently—which is the heart of what it means to conduct a gender analysis. Providing this information can also make further assessments, such as determining what specific training and equipment a country would need to improve security, much clearer. For example, a state with weak borders may have difficulties with drug trafficking or human trafficking, and combating each of these requires different tactics, techniques, and procedures, thus affecting the type of SC activities needed for the United States to assist the state in developing capabilities. If interceptions include victims of sexual exploitation, a type of human trafficking that primarily affects women, security forces training needs to include how to process these types of victims. In addition, any recruitment activity associated with building this operational capacity may have to include gender-based representative milestones for effective implementation. A basic gender analysis can then be further enhanced through gender mainstreaming.

For example, if a significant SC initiative (SSCI) includes building capacity to counter human trafficking, perhaps one of the activities would be to build a program to recruit and retain females to assist in processing the influx of female victims. Gender balancing would only direct SC planners toward increasing female presence in terms of numbers, possibly through the development of quotas. However, this will not be enough to retain female military members. Gender mainstreaming would demand an analysis as to why women are not joining in the first place, and if they join, why they are not staying. What are the formal and informal policies around female military members? Are all career fields open to them? Do women have a path of progression? And even if women do receive the training, are they allowed to practice in the field in which they were trained? Gender mainstreaming provides a tool to integrate gender perspectives to ensure meaningful progress is made toward achieving WPS objectives.

Requirements levied on SC planners through the assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AM&E) framework should also consider a gender-based analysis. Depending on the results of the initial assessment, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy prioritization and planning processes, such as setting the SSCI objectives, should integrate WPS-informed goals in specific language whenever possible. When developing SSCI objectives, SC planners should be asking how the effects of the achievement of the objective could fall on men and women within the partner-nation’s society differently and adjust accordingly. It is important to remember that considering gender perspectives is not code for “woman” but a requirement to understand how programs may affect men and women differently.

For example, an NGO had an objective to decrease malnutrition rates for inhabitants of a refugee camp. Aid workers distributed sacks of raw bulgur wheat, and malnutrition rates for all groups except young men dropped. Single men were starving; many also died. When the NGO investigated why the starvation rate of young men was not decreasing, it found that they were eating the bulgur wheat raw. In its raw form, bulgur wheat has no nutritional value; it must be cooked. Because of traditional gender norms, single men did not know how to prepare bulgur wheat to eat; therefore, they were starving to death “with the food that they needed in their hands.”45 How could this intervention have been different if the NGO had considered a gender perspective?

In addition, reforming SSCI objectives to be specific about what type of behavior the beneficiary partner nation should exhibit at the completion of the SSCI will provide a better basis to develop other AM&E products, such as the theory of change, the performance monitoring plan, and the five-year plan. Because SC planning is traditionally done “backward” (developing the objective and working down to activities needed), incorporating gender into SSCI objectives would also ensure that SC activities would be aligned with WPS outcomes at all levels. Additional steps should be taken to mainstream gender at all levels of the logic framework by asking at each level, “Who benefits?” when developing and refining inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Looking at how men and women may benefit differently could also lead to important distinctions in performance indicator reference tools.

Especially at the input, output, and outcome levels, a gender-balancing approach (seeking to focus on ensuring greater gender representation) in addition to gender mainstreaming can yield more robust results and reportable data on progress being made toward achieving both the SSCI and WPS objectives.46 Recruitment, education, training, exercises, key leader engagements, and institutional capacity-building activities should include gendered scenarios and gender-based milestones whenever possible. Including these milestones can also enhance performance monitoring by increasing the data available. For example, if an SSCI objective is to build maritime security, the working or transportation habits of women and children greatly affected by maritime insecurity can become a proxy indicator of an increase or decrease in maritime security.

Gender-based milestones are a good start toward achieving WPS objectives, but they should be used together with gender mainstreaming at all levels of planning and execution. This method is integral to ameliorating some of the negative outcomes of integrating gender into SC activities. In male-dominated societies, women who join traditionally male careers (such as security forces) put themselves at great risk. In developing countries, joining security forces can be considered a “dangerous act” for women.47 In partner nations where women constitute a larger percentage of security forces, institutions dealing with sexual assault, gender discrimination, and mental and physical health support as well as physical support structures, such as women’s barracks, may need to be expanded and adequately resourced.48

In addition, women who are recruited, regardless of their training, can often find themselves relegated to traditional roles, such as serving or cleaning, either due to lack of support or even to institutional barriers, such as the coding of combat positions as male-specific.49 In such cases, institutional capacity-building initiatives may have to work closely with governments to recode positions as gender-neutral.50 Ensuring security force institutions have proper infrastructure to support a greater number of women forces is an important defense institution–building issue, because provision of these services is closely linked to force readiness and retention. Many women who were Afghanistan’s “firsts” (helicopter pilot, fixed-wing pilot) have fled the country and are now living in exile, fearing for their safety if they were to return.51 SC activities that seek to increase recruitment and retention of women need to assess the capacity of institutions to absorb the higher numbers.

U.S. Army Master Sergeant Leia Puco, with U.S. Army Pacific Command, addresses Fijian government and civil society organization stakeholders at Fiji Women, Peace, and Security National Action Plan Orientation Workshop, in Suva, Fiji, September 20, 2022 (U.S. Army/Hailey Miller)

Overcoming WPS Integration Obstacles

Some may argue that it is already difficult enough to develop and administer a program building a capability a partner nation desires; it can be next to impossible to integrate WPS objectives into security cooperation. For example, a recent update on barriers to the successful implementation of SC programs in Georgia cited cultural differences as a factor. A U.S. foreign area officer stated that “cultural gaps are typically a greater impediment to mutual understanding.”52 Georgia does have a history of relative gender equality; therefore, integrating WPS objectives should pose few additional obstacles.53 However, countries that do not have a history or culture of gender equality may chafe at the paternalistic way another requirement is levied on them.

Recent examples in Nepal demonstrate that progress, although painfully slow, is possible if WPS objectives are prioritized and integrated from the very beginning of the planning process.54 Additionally, the United States has not levied these requirements alone; it is simply following through on objectives rooted in UN initiatives. Getting partner nation buy-in on the importance of achieving WPS objectives can be approached the same way an SC officer does for other SC activities: identifying how WPS objectives overlap with the objectives and values of the partner nation. Information gleaned from the initial assessment, especially if it contains gender-disaggregated data analysis, can be useful in this endeavor. In addition, many countries already have NAPs that can be used as starting points for getting them to take an active role in integrating WPS objectives into planned activities. Integrating WPS objectives should be presented as a tool for achieving national and regional security objectives, not as an obstacle to them.

A secondary caveat that may pose challenges to integration of WPS objectives is that SC officers and planners may believe they lack subject matter expertise in gender mainstreaming and/or a sufficient understanding of how best to go about integrating the objectives into SC activities. DOD policy has already prioritized the integration of WPS into education and training, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency has employed WPS subject matter experts to assist in the task of integrating WPS objectives into higher SC planning objectives. But these people are only a small portion of the SC workforce. Introduction to gender perspectives should be included in professional military education curriculum at all levels to expand knowledge of the WPS regime across American military forces, raising awareness of the positive outcomes to all types of military operations when gender perspectives are addressed. It would also allow GENADs or other gender leaders to spend less time explaining concepts or convincing a skeptical audience and more time progressing toward achieving WPS objectives. After all, if men are involved, then gender is already involved.

Colonel Pam Ellison with Hawaii Army National Guard speaks to students on Women, Peace, and Security initiatives and integration into peacekeeping operations, in Pusat Misi Pemeliharaan, Indonesia, July 19, 2022 (U.S. Marine Corps/John Hall)

Final Remarks

The purpose of security cooperation is to develop relationships, build capacity, and ensure access to partner nations to achieve U.S. objectives. The achievement of this purpose is enhanced through a holistic application of WPS through gender mainstreaming. But the lack of guidance on this process and the use of gender-neutral language in doctrine foster the exclusion of gender analyses in the planning and implementation of SC activities. Failure to mainstream gender risks telling only half the story of a partner nation. Partnership assessments based on incomplete information can lead to less well-defined SSCI objectives, theories of change, and logic frameworks. Without well-defined plans, SSCIs are less likely to produce the strategic effects SC planners are seeking to accomplish. Additionally, SC plans that do not mainstream gender into their analysis will have greater difficulty integrating WPS objectives into SC activities and making meaningful progress toward achieving them. JFQ


1 U.S. Code Title 10, Armed Forces, § 301, “Definitions,” December 22, 2022,

2 “DSCA Celebrates 50th Anniversary,” Defense Security Cooperation Agency, 2021,

3 Angela O’Mahony et al., Assessing, Monitoring, and Evaluating Army Security Cooperation (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2018),

4 Angelic Young, “Toward a More Inclusive Approach to U.S. Security Assistance,” U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, April 2018,

5 Valerie Norville, The Role of Women in Global Security, Special Report 264 (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, January 2011),; Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), 34.

6 Anne A. Witkowsky, “Integrating Gender Perspectives Within the Department of Defense,” PRISM 6, no. 1 (2016), 35,

7 Robert Egnell, “Gender Perspectives and Military Effectiveness: Implmenting UNSCR 1325 and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security,” PRISM 6, no. 1 (2016), 72–89,

8 Kathleen Turner, “The Rise of Female Suicide Bombers,” Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses 8, no. 3 (March 2016), 15–19,

9 Marie O’Reilly, “Inclusive Security and Peaceful Societies: Exploring the Evidence,” PRISM 6, no. 1 (2016), 21–33,

10 Joachim Ottosson, “Women’s Patterns of Movement as Indicators of the Security Situation,” in Whose Security? Practical Examples of Gender Perspectives in Military Operations, 2015, ed. Li Hammar and Annika Berg (Stockholm: Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations, February 2015), 32–33,

11 Egnell, “Gender Perspectives and Military Effectiveness,” 77.

12 “Soldiers Not Numbers: Integrating Women Into African Militaries Must Go Beyond Quotas and Traditional Roles,” African Defense Forum, January 14, 2015,

13 National Security Strategy (Washington, DC: The White House, October 2022), 18,

14 Jody Prescott, “Gender Blindness in U.S. Doctrine,” Parameters 50, no. 4 (Winter 2020), 21–32,

15 Tourunn L. Tryggestad, “Trick or Treat? The UN and Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security,” Global Governance 15, no. 4 (October–December 2009), 539–557.

16 United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, S/Res/1325, October 31, 2000, 4,

17 Ibid., 2.

18 This context uses Stephen Krasner’s definition of a regime as “principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given area.” In this case, the given area is integration of UNSCR 1325. See Stephen D. Krasner, “Structural Causes of Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables,” International Organizations 36, no. 2 (Spring 1982), 182–205.

19 Paul Kirby and Laura J. Shepherd, “The Futures Past of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda,” International Affairs 92, no. 2 (2016), 373–392,

20 Ibid.

21 “Gender Mainstreaming,” United Nations Entity for Gender Inequality and the Empowerment of Women,

22 United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (Washington, DC: The White House, June 2019), 2,

23 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Pub. Law 116-92, 116th Cong., 1st sess., December 20, 2019.

24 Ibid.

25 “DOD Announces Women Peace and Security 2022 Report,” Department of Defense (DOD), July 19, 2022,

26 Prescott, “Gender Blindness in U.S. Doctrine.”

27 Sophia Jones, “The Many Dangers of Being an Afghan Woman in Uniform,” New York Times, October 5, 2018,

28 Interview conducted in June 2022.

29 Åsa Ekvall, “Norms on Gender Equality and Violent Conflict,” E- International Relations, June 10, 2013,; Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen, “We Are Not Helpless: Addressing Structural Gender Inequality in Post-Conflict Societies,” PRISM 6, no. 1 (2016), 122–139,

30 Women, Peace, and Security Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (Washington, DC: DOD, June 2020), 10,

31 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Memorandum, Implementation of the Department’s Women, Peace, and Security Strategic Initiative Framework and Implementation Plan (Washington, DC: DOD, October 23, 2020).

32 Lena P. Kvarving and Rachel Grimes, “Why and How Gender Is Vital to Military Operations,” in Teaching Gender in the Military: A Handbook, ed. Bojana Balon et al. (Geneva: Geneva Center for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces and Partnership for Peace Consortium, 2016), 9–25,

33 Barry R. Posen, “Foreword: Military Doctrine and the Management of Uncertainty,” The Journal of Strategic Studies 39, no. 2 (2016), 159–173,

34 Prescott, “Gender Blindness in U.S. Doctrine,” 22.

35 Ibid., 24.

36 Kyleanne Hunter, “‘In Iraq, We Were Never Neutral’: Exploring the Effectiveness of ‘Gender-Neutral’ Standards in a Gendered War,” Journal of Veterans Studies 7, no. 2 (2021), 8,

37 Ibid., 7, 14, 15.

38 Young, “Toward a More Inclusive Approach to U.S. Security Assistance.”

39 “International Training,” in Defense Security Cooperation Assistance (DSCA) Manual 5105.38-M, Security Assistance Management Manual (Washington, DC: DSCA, 2012),

40 Jones, “The Many Dangers of Being an Afghan Woman in Uniform.”

41 Ibid.

42 DOD Instruction 5132.14, Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation Policy for the Security Cooperation Enterprise (Washington, DC: DOD, January 2017), 13,

43 Quoted in Kathleen Staudt, “Gender Mainstreaming: Conceptual Links to Institutional Machineries,” in Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women, ed. Shirin M. Rai (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2003), 51,

44 Enloe, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases, 34.

45 Sahar Alnouri, “Global Gender and Integration,” video, 9:18, TEDx Portland Conference, 2012,


46 Egnell, “Gender Perspectives and Military Effectiveness.”

47 Jones, “The Many Dangers of Being an Afghan Woman in Uniform.”

48 Whitney Dudley and Robert Stewart, “Women in Special Security Forces: What the U.S. Can Learn From Afghans,” The Rand Blog, March 28, 2016,

49 Jones, “The Many Dangers of Being an Afghan Woman in Uniform.”

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.

52 Joseph C. Bilbo, brief to author, December 16, 2020.

53 Global Gender Gap Report 2020 (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2020),

54 Joe Evans and Akriti Rana, “Gender Considerations in Military Planning: Examples from Nepal,” Small Wars Journal, February 4, 2018,