SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The U.S. Joint Staff, in conjunction with the Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Strategic Plans and Policy, has developed and is conducting the first U.S. DoD Operational Gender Advisor (GENAD) Course (OGC) at the Mission Training Complex, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, June 4-8.
The OGC aims to train personnel to serve as GENADs in support of operations and exercises. The OGC also supports the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) mandate for training as required by the WPS Act signed into Public Law last year, as well as the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
“The OGC will provide the DoD with organic capability to produce trained GENADs for military commanders – the first of its kind in the U.S. It has already been documented as a certified joint course, providing joint credit to graduates,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lape, Deputy Director Individual/Collective Training on the Joint Staff. “We designed this course to be fully exportable and intend to hold two more convening in the next twelve months, one in U.S. Africa Command and one in U.S. European Command.”
Following the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and due to events occurring in the world at that point, women’s groups came together and pushed for gender perspective to be included in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) international peace and security agenda.
In 2000 the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security recognizing for the first time that gender inequalities exacerbated during the conflict impede the establishment of sustainable peace and development. One of the developments that came out of additional guidance was the position of Gender Advisors, who provide guidance and advice to commanders on how to integrate gender perspective into operations and missions.
“This training is vital to gaining insight into how gender issues factor into military operations,” said Royal Australian Air Force Air Commodore Phil Champion, Regional and Multinational Engagement Advisor for Strategic Planning and Policy for USINDOPACOM.
“Understanding the social dynamics within a population or community is crucial to know how the security needs of different groups develop and change, and how military operations and armed conflict affect them.”
The OGC is a five-day residential course; however, it has been designed to be fully exportable to other commands and services. The learning outcomes of the course are based on the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations and the Australian Defence Force courses to ensure interoperability.
GENADs are key advisors to commanders, providing expert application of how gender perspectives affect the human domain, permitting operational planners to consider a more holistic picture.
“Gender in operations is complicated and widely misunderstood as ‘women’s issues’ or ‘equal opportunity’ but it is much broader than that,” said Cmdr. Suzanne Mainor, the political-military advisor for the Women, Peace, and Security portfolio on the Joint Staff and course attendee. “The erosion of women’s rights in a region provides one of the best predictors for instability that we have so gender perspective is a critical early warning tool.”
For the initial OGC course, there are 24 students: 9 men, 15 women. Of those, 14 are service members, 10 are civilians, 16 are USPACOM members, and 8 are students attending from other organizations that include two Australian Officers.