Story by PO1 Robin Peak on 04/08/2019HONOLULU (April 5, 2019) - The U.S. Joint Staff, in conjunction with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Strategic Plans and Policy, has developed and conducted the third U.S. DoD Operational Gender Advisor Course (OGC) at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The OGC aims to train personnel to serve as Gender Advisors (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 of 2017, as well as the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.
Maj. Gen. Suzanne P. Vares-Lum, the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), gave opening and closing remarks during the course.
"One of the most important things that I saw in this iteration is that we had representation from across the globe," said Vares-Lum. "U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Forces Korea, U.S. Forces Japan, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. European Command, and all the branch components, all here present will now go back and educate their commands on what this is and how it helps us win and win before fighting."
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.
Maj. Chris Telley, information operations officer for Special Operations Command South, was one of the attendees at the course and said, "It has been, and a fantastic and eye-opening opportunity and this training is going to change not only how my unit does business but how we plan, train, and operate in the environment."
GENADs are critical advisors to commanders, providing expert application of how gender perspectives affect the human domain, permitting operational planners to consider a more holistic picture.
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 a 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.
"USINDOPACOM has been leading the way in this effort, and we have been working very closely with the Joint Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense, and I am very proud of the work we have done in putting together and delivering this training," said Vares-Lum.