The U.S. Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Act of 2017 is one of the most comprehensive WPS laws in the world. It is intended to help transform government structures to support women’s leadership and meaningful engagement in ending conflict and creating sustainable peace. Building on WPS principles introduced through the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, the WPS Act underscores women’s full participation in society as a means to achieve better security, health and economic outcomes, as well as more successful peace processes.

As one of the four primary U.S. departments and agencies tasked with creating detailed strategies on WPS implementation in 2020, the Department of Defense is working to prioritize the perspectives, safety, and meaningful participation of women across all facets of national security. Additionally, the department is mainstreaming a gender perspective into DoD plans, operations, activities, and investments. For the DoD, this initiative is critical for successfully addressing the complex security challenges the United States faces. 

USIP and the Department of Defense hosted a discussion on the military’s progress and commitment to implementing the WPS agenda in their operations. To inform and strengthen engagement between the U.S. government and civil society organizations, the discussion also included key questions from the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on WPS (USCSWG). The USCSWG is a USIP-hosted nonpartisan network of over 50 civil society organizations with expertise on the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and the importance of their participation in peacebuilding. 

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #WomenPeaceandSecurity.


Lise Grande, welcoming remarks
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Kathleen H. Hicks
Deputy Secretary of Defense 

Admiral Craig S. Faller
Commander, United States Southern Command, U.S. Department of Defense

Lieutenant General Thomas A. Bussiere
Deputy Commander, United States Strategic Command, U.S. Department of Defense

Lieutenant General Michael A. Minihan
Deputy Commander, United States Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Department of Defense

Ambassador Andrew Young
Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, Africa Command, U.S. Department of State

Brigadier General Rebecca J. Sonkiss
Deputy Director for Counter Threats and International Cooperation on the Joint Staff, J5, U.S. Department of Defense 

Valerie Hudson
Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair, Texas A&M University

Kathleen Kuehnast, moderator
Director, Gender Policy and Strategy, U.S. Institute of Peace

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