PHOTO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Discusses Women And Leadership In National Security At CNAS Conference
March 5, 2015
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today joined Congresswoman Martha McSally (AZ-02) and National Public Radio Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman for a discussion on “Women and Leadership in National Security” hosted by the Center for a New American Security.
The conference, which included keynote remarks delivered by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, focused on the challenges of integrating men and women in the military. Issues related to criminal justice and accountability, cultural, leadership, and institutional challenges as well as what it means to sustain an All-Volunteer Force in war and peace were the focus of two panels.
Congresswomen Gabbard and McSally focused their panel discussion (“The Social and Political Imperative”) on current reform efforts to create more opportunity for women in the military, how those efforts relate to political and societal trends, and broader perspectives on civil-military relations. Both Members of Congress answered questions about their experience in the military, how to ensure fairness and equity in promotion and command selection, and why it is important for U.S. national security that opportunities to serve are open to women.
“There is a culture-change that needs to occur within the military with regard to female service members,” said Congresswoman Gabbard, who enlisted in the Hawai‘i Army National Guard in 2003 and currently serves as Military Police Captain. “While the number of women in senior leadership positions has increased greatly during the past 35 years, their numbers at the top remain small. Rather than seeing women as an integral member of the team, far too often women are seen as somehow disposable and are not an asset to the team’s accomplishing the mission. Ultimately, we must remain focused on ensuring that we maintain the best force to conduct the mission and get the job done. Women have a key role to play in accomplishing that objective, and strengthening our forces at every level.”
According to the Center for a New American Security, “more than 2.7 million service members have deployed over the past 13 years to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters of war. Women represent the fastest growing demographic segment within this cohort and the U.S. veterans community as a whole, making up approximately 12 percent of the deployed force, a higher proportion than during any previous American war.”