Monday, July 19, 2021

Female Vets in Congress Decry Proposal to Disband Pentagon’s Advisory Panel on Women


 A 70-year-old Defense Department panel focused on women's personnel issues that has advocated for expanded opportunities for female service members must be preserved, say the six female veterans currently serving in Congress.

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) has been suspended temporarily and its membership dissolved as part of a cost and efficiency review of the Defense Department's 42 advisory committees that began in January.

But six members of Congress, led by Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, say the committee's work is too important for the panel to be dissolved or rolled into the newly formed Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

“We are the faces of what DACOWITS has meant for women in the military,” wrote the lawmakers. “As women veterans in Congress, we know the value of expanding opportunities within the services for women and the value that, in turn, has brought to our Armed Forces.”

In January, the Pentagon asked for the resignations of the 21 volunteer members of the committee, a group that included eight retired generals and admirals. The move was part of a larger review of all DoD advisory committees in the wake of last-minute appointments by former President Donald Trump to several boards and committees, including the Defense Business Board.


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