Women, Peace and Inclusive Societies
This issue of PRISM, “Women, Peace, and Inclusive Security,” represents an innovative public-private partnership between the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University, the Institute for Inclusive Security, and the National Defense University Foundation.
Terrorism, transnational crime, drug trafficking, cyber threats, hybrid warfare, climate change, mass migration and more have complicated the security environment in unprecedented ways. Whether these constitute an existential threat to the U.S. is debatable. While the gravity of these threats is contested, some believe that, “ISIS and al-Qaeda pose an existential threat because they accelerate the collapse of world order..." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently stated, “In my 50-plus years in intelligence, I don’t know if we’ve been beset by a more diverse array of challenges and crises around the world.” We can say with certainty that the accumulation of new threat vectors, compounded by more traditional dangers has thrown the national security community into disarray. Faced with such diverse challenges, the U.S. and its allies must step up with a response equally diverse, flexible, and adaptive.
Sixteen years have elapsed since the passage of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace, and Security” (UNSCR 1325). That resolution “called for women’s equal participation with men and their full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”
Women play and have played critical roles in today’s security institutions, both in combat, in support, in policy, and in leadership. Today, a cohort of female generals and admirals have already set a high standard for the over 200,000 women in the U.S. Armed Forces who follow in their footsteps.
Despite progress, integration of women in military operations worldwide has not been without challenges. Sexual abuse within armed forces in and out of conflict areas, as well as in peacekeeping operations is a serious issue and is the subject of intense examination and contentious debate. This is an important subject, and its ongoing scrutiny is vital, but it should not detract from the larger issue—the security of the United States and the American people.