June, 22

Women, Peace, Security panel marks anniversary of Department of the Air Force Strategic Action Plan

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The Military Women’s Memorial hosted a Women, Peace, and Security panel at Arlington National Cemetery, April 1, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the Department of the Air Force’s WPS Strategic Action Plan.

The DAF WPS Strategic Action Plan serves as a comprehensive framework outlining the critical role women play in international peace and security efforts while advocating for their meaningful participation in all levels of decision-making.

During a keynote address, Kristyn Jones, assistant secretary of the Air Force (financial management and comptroller), performing the duties of under secretary of the Air Force, underscored the pivotal role of WPS strategies and principles in bolstering national security.

“The Women Peace and Security Act of 2017 seeks to incorporate women in peace and security – not just as a manifestation of our values of equality and inclusion, although those are important; but because of the empirical evidence that their participation leads to better security outcomes,” Jones said.

Gwendolyn DeFilippi, principal assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs, echoed this sentiment during her remarks.

“Women, Peace, and Security isn’t just making sure that women have a place at the table within the DoD,” Defilippi said. “It is making sure the right voices are heard when resolving complex security issues across the globe, to consider all things that contribute to security— not just armed conflict — with the ultimate goal of enhancing security and sustaining peace by including all perspectives.”

The event also featured a fireside chat with retired Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, the first director of staff of the United States Space Force, and Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt, deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear. The two share a special bond as the first and second women to join the Space Force, respectively.

Armagno reflected on what her journey was like and the importance of having female mentors.

“I had never experienced [female] leaders like that, and we’re still friends to this day,” Armagno said. “They got me through so much because I was able to see what I wanted to be.”

In Burt’s case, she did not encounter a female boss or mentor until she reached the group commander level.

“I had to rely on male mentors who were smart enough and open enough to see talent regardless of gender,” she said. “It was hard though because they didn’t really talk to me about family and kids and that balance that you get when speaking to female mentors.”

The biggest theme across their discussion was the importance of being visible for those who come after them.

“We are representing the next generation,” Burt said. “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

The Women, Peace, and Security series exists to enhance and amplify women’s voices as they participate in policy discussions and offer perspectives stemming from their experiences in public and military service.

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