Washington. 12 March 2019. The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) released its 2018 annual report on March 11, 2019.

DACOWITS provides the secretary of defense with recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment, retention, employment, integration, well-being, and treatment of women in the U.S. armed forces via a comprehensive annual report. The report is available online and includes detailed reasoning supporting each recommendation addressed by the committee.

Established in 1951, DACOWITS is one of the oldest Department of Defense (DOD) Federal Advisory Committees. The committee was created following the signing of the 1948 Women’s Armed Services Integration Act to assist with recruiting. Over the years, the DACOWITS charter has expanded, enabling the committee to submit numerous recommendations to the secretary of defense. The majority of proposals have been either fully or partially implemented. DACOWITS is instrumental to the DOD and has made significant contributions on topics including the opening of closed positions to women; improvements to the health of deployed servicewomen; increased marketing, accession, and recruitment of women; and increased parental leave authorizations.

During 2018, DACOWITS gathered information from multiple sources, to include briefings and written responses from DOD, service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts. The committee collected qualitative data from focus groups and interactions with service members representing the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard during installation visits. Additionally, the committee examined peer-reviewed literature.

Based upon the data collected and analyzed, the Committee submitted nine recommendations and one continuing concern to the secretary of defense on the following topics: marketing strategies, gender integration, Marine Corps recruit training, personal protective equipment and gear, healthy unit climate, parental leave policies, performance evaluations, and transition assistance.