STUTTGART, Germany - United States Africa Command and United States European Command personnel took part in the Operational Gender Advisor Course June 10-14, 2019 at the Patch Community Club on Patch Barracks.
The course was developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to train U.S. military and civilian personnel to serve as gender advisors or human security focal points during an operational deployment or at the combatant command and component level. It supports the DOD training requirement mandated in the recently signed U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security.
“We know that gender and human security issues have a profound influence on security outcomes within our area of responsibility,” said Cori Fleser, AFRICOM gender advisor and lead planner for the course. “Hosting this course was optimal for the command because it gives staff the knowledge, skills, and ability to account for that influence and implement the WPS legislation within the range of activities we conduct annually with our African partners.”
Twenty-three students comprised of civilians and uniformed military personnel representing five of the six geographic combatant commands and interagency members from the U.S. Agency for International Development and Homeland Security Investigations attended. During the five-day course, students participated in a series of lectures and group exercises to examine and practice integrating gender and human security considerations into military planning, operations, and activities.
Released in June, the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security highlights the diverse roles women play as agents of change in preventing and resolving conflict, countering terrorism and violent extremism, and building post conflict peace and stability.
It focuses on three objectives: women’s participation in efforts to promote stable and lasting peace; women and girls’ safety, protection, and equal access to assistance resources; and enhancing the capabilities of the U.S. Government and partner governments in implementing the WPS agenda.
U.S. Africa Command recently instituted its first command policy on Women, Peace, and Security, which identifies roles and responsibilities for command senior leaders and establishes dedicated staff to implement the WPS legislation. Nine students from AFRICOM attended the course as an immediate step to implement the new policy by developing skills to account for human security differences between men, women, boys, and girls within their daily duties.
“Integrating Women, Peace, and Security considerations must be part of the planning process,” said Army Brig. Gen. John Hashem, deputy director of AFRICOM Strategy, Engagement and Programs. “When we bring together the right team with different viewpoints, we can get after complex problem sets with more innovative solutions.”
The network of human security focal points established at AFRICOM will advance the command’s ability to implement the objectives outlined in the WPS strategy within annual security cooperation, operations, and engagements with African partners, Hashem added.
AFRICOM and EUCOM will host a second iteration of this training in spring 2020 to continue training staff.