Women, Peace, and Security



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Defense Objective 1 in the U.S. Department of Defense WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (SFIP) focuses on ensuring the DOD exemplifies an organization that “allows for women’s meaningful participation” across the U.S. military. The ban on women in combat arms jobs was long seen as one of the most significant structural barriers to women’s meaningful participation in the U.S. Army, denying women access to promotion to the highest echelons of military leadership—which often includes officers who come from the combat arms branches—as well as generating a culture that viewed women as second-class citizens within the military. In 2015, DOD lifted the ban on women in combat arms jobs, but there is more to be done to ensure successful gender integration.

This presentation will include an analysis of women’s integration into U.S. Army combat arms jobs through the lens of WPS and Defense Objective 1 of the DOD SFIP: examine a concrete and actionable definition of “meaningful participation” within the military context; assess meaningful participation of women in U.S. Army combat arms jobs thus far; and make recommendations for the U.S. Army to remove barriers to women’s meaningful participation in combat arms—leading to greater mission, functional, and operational effectiveness.

Publication Date

May, 2023


U.S. Naval War College


Newport, Rhode Island


WPS, women in combat, combat arms units, gender integration, U.S. military, WPS Defense Objective 1

Women, Peace, and Security and Defense Objective 1: Assessing Meaningful Participation of Women in U.S. Army Combat Arms Units