Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services

Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services

The Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) was established in 1951 by then Secretary of Defense, George C. Marshall. The Committee is composed of civilian women and men who are appointed by the Secretary of Defense to provide advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment and retention, treatment, employment, integration, and well-being of women in the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition, beginning in 2002, the Committee began providing advice and recommendations on family issues related to recruitment and retention. Historically, DACOWITS' recommendations have been instrumental in effecting changes to laws and policies pertaining to military women.


Significant recommendations

  • that the policy of establishing a system of appointment and promotion credit list allowances for advanced graduate degrees, professional education beyond the professional training requirement, or beyond the four-year college program, as well as any related experience in determining the rank and promotion dates (Professional Education Date) of directly commissioned officers in any of the Medical or Health components of the Services. It is further recommended that all Services seek to develop and adopt this policy as a valuable adjunct to recruitment and retention of qualified health professionals. Fall 1968
  • that legislation be established to the effect that a married military woman, regardless of grade, can establish a joint domicile with her husband and shall receive Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) in her own right. In the event the husband is also a member of the Military Services, he shall also receive BAQ in his own right. Fall 1968
  • that civilian husbands of military women be authorized access to and use of exchange and commissary facilities. Fall 1968
  • that the Department of Defense prepare a legislative proposal to amend section 3579, Title 10, U.S. Code to provide the opportunity for officers of the Army Nurse Corps and the Army Medical Specialist Corps to exercise command within the Army Medical Department. Further, that similar statutory provisions relative to other military medical departments be reviewed for the purpose of similar modifications. Fall 1973 (This change did not take place until 1998.
  • that, in view of the limited number of women physicians and dentists in the Service, increased efforts be made to inform women in schools and private practice of the opportunities available in military medicine. Fall 1974
  • that the Department of Defense develop, and the Services implement, a sex education program including birth control and venereal disease prevention for all officer and enlisted personnel. As a minimum, the training should be given to all incoming personnel during initial entry training. Fall 1975
  • that the U. S. Navy and The U. S. Marine Corps open their Limited Duty Officer commissioning program to women Fall 1978
  • that DoD's General Counsel make a priority inquiry into the propriety of the Congress of the United States prohibiting any specific or particular medical procedures in military hospitals Fall 1978
  • that the minimum standards for eligibility for admission to the Services should be the same for women as for men, except legitimate physical differences. Spring 1979
  • that insofar as permitted by existing statutes, the Secretary of the Navy provide identical standards, including time in grade, for promotions of men and women in the Marine Corps Fall 1979
  • That DoD and DoT that they support the concept that women and men shall be treated in the same way whatever legislative or policy decisions are made concerning the draft, national services or registration for either. Fall 1979 (At the time, the United States Coast Guard was an element of the Department of Transportation.)
  • that the President of the United States give priority to the consideration of the appointment of women as judges of the United States Court of Military Appeals Spring 1980
  • that the Services take whatever management initiatives are necessary to ensure that lost time in delivery of medical care is reduced, particularly by giving the active duty women members priority of treatment in obstetrics and gynecology. Fall 1982
  • that a form letter signed by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel be placed in the Official Military Personnel File of those female enlisted service members reclassified as a result of Direct Combat Probability Coding (DCPC), stating that reclassification was directed by Department of the Army as a result of the Women In The Army Study and that the service member should not be penalized as a result of action taken by Headquarters Department of the Army and that Letters of Instruction to promotion boards address this issue. Fall 1983
  • that the Services provide information to prospective applicants, prior to enlistment or commissioning, about limitations in particular specialties which exist as a result of combat exclusion laws or policy restrictions. Fall 1983
  • that the Office of the Secretary of Defense reiterate, through the publication of a formal policy statement to commanders and field personnel at all levels, the requirement that women be fully utilized in their assigned operational units Spring 1984
  • that the Services adopt a policy of providing professional assistance for rape victims. When in the absence of military or nearby civilian Community Rape Crisis Centers, victims upon consent should be immediately evacuated to the closest available qualified facility. Spring 1984
  • that commanders be made aware that military women with alcohol abuse problems must be identified as early as their male counterparts Spring 1984
  • that the Marine Corps provided a rationale for the exclusion of women Marine from duty as Marine Security Guards and that the Marine Corps re-examine this policy. Fall 1984
  • that all Services grant 6 weeks post-partum non-chargeable leave Fall 1988
  • that the Department of Defense and the Services remove the requirement that members characterize the legitimacy of their dependent children from DoD and Service forms for quarters allowances, dependent identification cards, dependency support statements, records of emergency data, Servicemen's Group Life Insurance, etc Fall 1988
  • that DoD expand existing leadership training to include dealing with unfounded accusations of homosexuality against Service members. Spring 1989
  • that the Army conduct a 4-year test program under which women in the Army will be allowed to enter all military occupational specialties (including combat and combat support). Fall 1989 (This recommendation has not been implemented as of 2005.
  • that the Secretary of the Navy review aspects of the Marine Corps which continues to hinder full assimilation of women, such as: syllabus differences in Basic Warrior Training/Marine Combat Training (BWT/MCT) programs at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, accepted nomenclature of "Women Marines ("WM") as opposed to other Services which have discontinued use of gender specific labels, limited numbers of female instructors for male recruit training, and failure to eradicate the marketing slogan that characterizes Marines as "a few good men." Fall 1991
  • the Secretary of Defense establish a gender neutral assignment policy in military aviation for all Services Spring 1992
  • that the Army open to the Army Nurse Corps and other AMEDD officers' opportunities for career-enhancing assignments, including command of medical facilities and units involved in delivery of health care. Fall 1992
  • that the Chief of Staff of the Army fully integrate women into all Army ceremonial units, and, in particular, in the Military District of Washington, to include the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Continental Color Guard, and the U. S. Army Drill Team Spring 1993
  • that the Army provide women soldiers with the opportunity to enter unfilled Pathfinder training seats on the same basis as men Fall 1993
  • the Coast Guard adopt treatment guidelines for eating disorders similar to those used by the other Services Fall 1993
  • that the Secretary of the Navy open to women all classes of ships and vessels and their associated billets that remain closed because of cost considerations (although they are legally open after the repeal of the Combat Exclusion law). Spring 1996
  • in the strongest possible terms that the Secretary of Defense open current and future Special Operations Forces (SOF) rotary wing aviation to the assignment of women Spring 1999
  • that plans for future submarine platforms incorporate appropriate berthing and privacy arrangements to accommodate mixed gender crews Fall 1999
  • with regard to women's health needs during deployment, that the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Services collaborate to ascertain what information on prevention and treatment of gynecological infections is available; perform a gap analysis to see what information is lacking; develop additional educational materials as needed; and disseminate that information to Service members, leaders and healthcare personnel and ensure an adequate supply of hygiene products during deployment. Fall 2000

Gender-integrated basic training

External links

For Further Reading

Bellafaire, Judith Lawrence. "Public Service Role Models: The First Women of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services." [1]

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