you can't fix a perceived bias with an actual bias
I got a nice note the other day from a new reader who unsubscribed from this substack. In summary, he subscribed for the naval commentary but, “…did not like politics coming in to my email.”
I assume that was because of DivThu. He only subscribed for a week, and last week’s DivThu was his first.
As I’ve mentioned before, for almost two decades DivThu is the thing I least like to write about, and as the record shows … I’ve stopped a few times only to pick it up again. However, it keeps coming up - and at least for awhile this was one of the few places that pushed back. We now have more company … but the nasty words and personal attacks continue…but that just comes with the territory.
You see, those who are interested in American national security issues may not be interested in socio-political Cultural Marxism, but it sure is interested in us. Silence is approval … or survival.
Today’s example heads back to our military’s institutions of higher education.
It should go without saying that…you get what you hire. You will taste the spices you put in your stew.
Are some of our hires “bad” people? Perhaps not. I don’t think so. Do they have sub-optimal ideas or counterproductive or unworkable world views? Perhaps.
Are they just the byproduct of spot-welded hiring decisions forces by Congress?
So, how are things going at our war colleges? As we are facing the greatest military challenge since the fall of the Soviet Union and are still two years after the surrender of Kabul and trying to come to grips with the greatest national humiliations since the fall of Saigon in 1975 - are we properly focused?
One would think we would be focused on ideas, understandings, and primarily quality of scholarship about the profession of arms in support of the national security goals of our nation.
One would think, but … perhaps we are not fully understanding the means to get to the end.
We are a nation awash in colleges and universities … but we only have a precious few war colleges and universities. They need to be focused in both their hiring and scholarship to areas that improve warfighting. People can disagree on what does that - and I think we need to do that here.
With minimal commentary from me, I’d like to present to you a couple of articles in from Joint Force Quarterly, from National Defense University (NDU) Press.
As described in The American Spectator, the articles are by;
… Magdalena Bogacz, assistant professor at the Global College of PME at Air University, that argues that U.S. national security would be enhanced by increasing female faculty in professional military education; and one by Barbara Salera, assistant professor at Defense Security Cooperation University, that promotes “gender balancing” and “gender mainstreaming” in security cooperation programs that promote “peace and security efforts” with partner nations.
Let’s dig in to a few pull quotes starting with Magadalena Bogacz who had a Doctorate in Education and teaches in Leadership and Ethics at the Global College of PME at Air University. She is consistent in her focus and keeps on this well known path of scholarship for her (her dissertation was on "Gender parity in American academic philosophy: a promising practice study");
Dr. Bogacz’s research explores the social dimensions of education, with a specific focus on inequities in faculty socialization, gender gaps among university professors, organizational culture, and factors of motivation that impact organizational change. Her passion for working toward gender parity in philosophy stems from a belief that the participation of women would strengthen the field by strengthening the knowledge that is produces.
The title of her article in JFQ is, Enhancing National Security: Increasing Female Faculty in Professional Military Education Would Strengthen U.S. Security;
…PME experiences a persistent problem: “the counterproductive ‘sea of sameness.’”1 PME is dominated by men, just like the military and majority of academia. In fact, women, on average, occupy only 10 percent to 15 percent of all faculty positions at Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force PME institutions.2 Gender disparity is even more pronounced at the senior Service schools. This is to say that there is a slightly higher percentage of women faculty in primary developmental education schools, but the number decreases as the level of education increases, with the fewest women faculty in senior developmental education schools such as the Air War College or Army War College.
Thus, PME with such a small percentage of women instructors is at best limited in scope, because it eliminates a variety of different perspectives, and at worst unreliable, because it produces limited knowledge. There might be truths to which national security will have no access unless PME increases the diversity of instructors’ experiences.
As we see often here, well meaning people - which I have full confidence that Bogacz is - can simply be wrong or incredibly blinkered as a result of defending a world view they are heavily invested in. They could also be correct...but the 2nd and 3rd order effects of what she proposes would not be a military you would want to go to war with. It could never get there.
Of note, nowhere are “perspectives” or “experiences” tracked as a metric, nor does Bogacz propose such. The implication here is that a person’s ideas and views are determined by their immutable characteristics and that you can assume the opinion of someone simply if they are XX or XY. That is an incredibly retrograde view that my mother - a trailblazer and then entrepreneur from the late 1950s through the turn of the century - spent her whole life fighting against. I reject it fully.
…female academics make it easier to understand women in war, female peacekeepers, violence against women, and women who are political leaders, as well as the perspectives of the U.S. allies and partners that have a “feminist foreign policy.”
Again with the sexual determinism. From my commissioning at the end of the 1980s through my last deployment to Afghanistan in ‘08-09, I served next to, for, and with women in uniform and civilian position. Especially in Afghanistan, they were interchangeable with everyone else. It was the quality of your work, not which billeting you were slotted in to. Women from female E5 explaining to this Navy Commander what a “hand receipt” was, to Majors just out of SAMS, to senior SES and GS coming in as positional experts - no one cared they were female when important work was needed to be done.
The situation of women in PME is reflective of academia as a whole. Numerous studies demonstrate that women have been underrepresented, underrated, and underrewarded in most academic disciplines for decades.15 Some fields, however, are more gender-imbalanced than others. For instance, the extreme underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields and occupations is well documented.16 Such gender disparities permeate academia and labor markets, as shown by various measures, from the number of students enrolled in undergraduate courses and the number of students earning degrees to the number of full-time faculty members and earning gaps.
Yes they do - and I will note that the author has a doctorate in education. What is the “gender imbalance” for those who have a doctorate in education.
Wait, I got this;
Fields experiencing severe gender imbalance have been equated to a microcosm of the larger U.S. society, in which hierarchies arise from systemic discriminatory practices.19 If this is true, women’s underrepresentation in PME may be a result of systemic gender discrimination. And if so, then advancing inclusion of women as PME faculty is a matter of gender equality and fairness of organizational practices.
Are fields such as the author’s in education also suffering from “systemic discriminatory practices?” How about health and medical sciences? Lawdy … look at the sexists in public administrations!
Of course not. People have agency … and if, as the author keeps insisting indirectly, that one’s sex influences their thoughts, then perhaps men and women simply have different predilections when taken as an aggregate. Sure, there are individual exceptions … but … in aggregate you can see a pattern. If she wants to play that game, then we can play it.
If there is equal opportunity, then what is the problem? If strict “equity” is the goal, then should doctoral programs in education, health, and public administration start having a selection bias in favor of men to get balance? …because that is what Bogacz seems to want to see at our war colleges but in a bias towards women;
The dynamic and globally integrated environment requires a new and all-encompassing approach to teaching and learning. Such a new approach should, in principle, provide a more comprehensive learning experience and thus generate more comprehensive knowledge about the security environment. One way to generate a competent and exhaustive teaching and learning environment is by bringing in diverse talent. Educators are supposed to challenge students, and a nondiverse faculty has less of a chance of challenging students. Moreover, by including more female voices, PME would increase its chances of gathering, assessing, analyzing, evaluating, and disseminating information in a more inclusive, global, and complete fashion.
Again, sexual determinism in thought? Men cannot equally think globally and completely? Really?
Now we get to proposals.
Barriers to Faculty Diversity. In the past few decades, many colleges and universities have embarked on a journey to increase historically underrepresented minorities and women on their faculties. As a result, much has been published on best practices for improving faculty diversity in terms of recruitment and retention.26 Yet most institutions remain homogenous, and men still assume disproportionately more academic leadership positions than their female counterparts.
There are complex hurdles to faculty diversity. For instance, several scholars have noted five important barriers:
the “pipeline” challenge
outdated faculty recruitment and retention practices
faculty diversity myths that abound in higher education
the decentralized administrative culture of the academy
the view that faculty diversity is incompatible with academic excellence.27
In terms of the gender gap among faculty, I would add two more obstacles that specifically impede women’s progress in academia: historical barriers that kept women away from education for centuries, and current challenges that women face in academia, such as gender discrimination, gender bias, and stereotype threat. To overcome these challenges and increase the number of female faculty at PME institutions, our efforts should focus equally on hiring and retention practices. We need to search for, onboard, and keep the best possible women faculty members by updating our hiring and retention practices and creating an organizational culture and day-to-day work environment that will make women want to come to and stay at PME schools.
….and…be a bit more specific on your proposals…
…PME hiring committees need to know about gender gaps in PME as well as understand historical barriers that have kept women from entering PME. They also need to possess adequate skills to successfully implement diversity-oriented hiring and retention practices, all while actively reflecting on their own gender biases.
…and how do you operationalize this? Again, be specific…
PME hiring committees need to be self-motivated to reach the goal of hiring more women faculty. Hiring committee members must recognize diversity as important and valuable in and of itself.
Oh, a political test. That doesn’t have a history…
In addition, they should feel confident in their abilities to implement the necessary measures, such as gender-equitable hiring practices, to successfully reach organizational goals.
…and there you go. A call for quotas.
Consequently, to help hiring committees reach the goal of diversifying faculty in terms of gender, PME institutions should prioritize organizational change by promoting a culture of inclusivity. One method of doing so involves having effective role models in leadership positions, who set high expectations regarding faculty diversity and provide top-down support, such as effective hiring infrastructure, financial resources, and professional development opportunities for hiring committees’ members.
…and more political discrimination that eliminates anyone who believes that race, creed, color, or sexual discrimination is bad and that people deserve to be judged on individual merit and the content of their character? Sounds like this would weed out a lot of “diversity of viewpoint or perspective.”
That is, of course, the point.
In case you are note catching the subtle hints;
… PME needs to hire more women. What follows is a short list of evidence-based gender-equitable hiring and retention practices derived from my earlier work. These faculty recruitment and retention strategies have been shown to be promising in attracting, hiring, and keeping a more diverse pool of faculty.
There you go. Red in tooth and claw.
…intentional and diversity-oriented language in job advertisements…Each position description should be crafted with language that appeals to underrepresented populations and should contain a note on PME’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts.
That is, of course, intentionally exclusionary and discriminatory.
Diversifying a pool of initial candidates is important; it increases the chance of getting the best woman for the job.
Not the best person for the job. Not the most qualified. We are well past meritocracy.
Also, while we are here … will someone please define what a woman is?
Our next article from Quarterly is Integrating Women, Peace, and Security Into Security Cooperation, by Barbara Salera who holds a PhD in Political Science and is Assistant Professor at Defense Security Cooperation University.
Currently, the benefits of SC (Security Cooperation) programs fall disproportionately on male members of partner-nations’ militaries.
Being that from the Albania to Zimbabwe we are looking at 95-75% of the members are male … so that makes sense … but here we go again.
BTW, if you wonder where “Women, Pease, and Security” (WPS) studies comes from as of late, give a nod to Speaker Ryan and President Trump;
In 2017, under the Donald Trump administration, the United States sought to institutionalize its NAP when Congress passed Public Law 115-68, The Women, Peace, and Security Act. This legislation has been touted as “the first legislation of its kind globally”; it seeks to incorporate the priorities of the WPS agenda into law.22 The WPS Act of 2017 specifically requires “relevant Federal agencies” to formulate a coordinated strategy and implement integrating WPS objectives into various activities. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 202023 further reinforces the WPS framework by legislating that DOD incorporate “gender perspectives and participation by women in security cooperation activities to the maximum extent practicable.”24 In 2022, DOD spent approximately $5.5 million to hire personnel, establish policies, and integrate relevant training for WPS into professional military education institutions, with an additional $3 million for SC activities.25
With the WPS framework now having the weight of law, SC planners and practitioners must consider how to integrate its requirements into activities. Military planners often look to doctrine for guidance on how to accomplish objectives, but as currently written, joint doctrine does not provide adequate guidance on integrating a gendered analysis into planning.26 Although Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning, mentions “gendering analysis” as an important aspect of depicting the operational environment, it gives no further guidance. It may be an assumption that a gender advisor (GENAD) would conduct this analysis. Many combatant commands do have GENADs on staff to assist in integrating WPS objectives, but even those tasked to serve may have limited experience.27 As one GENAD put it, being tasked often falls on the “nearest woman” and is in addition to her regular duties.28 Such a process further confuses what GENADs are to do, other than advocate for or consider women’s rights and increase the number of women participants (often referred to as gender balancing), as opposed to conducting a gender analysis.
So, as with many things we cover on DivThu, this is about jobs, empire building, and growing a cadre of politically like-minded people to expand a bridgehead in what you see as non-cooperative institution. Once there, and especially with the access and influence you can get with a miliary budget and culture, you can use it in a quasi-imperialist effort to export to the world Western gender theory, as it appears we generate more specialists in this area than can be consumed locally.
Get comfortable with the phrase, “mainstreaming gender.”
Regardless of where you stand on the topic, I highly encourage you to read the full article as the advocates of this world view are not going anywhere. If you want to understand where they are coming from, then let them tell you.
I’d also ask for you to show some respect to their tactics and strategic patience. They did this with purpose and not overnight. Legislation matters, and they got what they needed in Congress to give them a hook to bring in all sorts of other issues. If you are the party of government - and the left unquestionably is - then you know how to work the bureaucracy to grow your empire and expand your rice bowl.
Just check out how the Biden Administration leveraged it in the summer of 2022;
The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-68) (WPS Act) codified the United States Government’s decades-long, sustained commitment to the principles of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda.
Department of Defense. The Department of Defense (DoD) WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (SFIP) established three Defense Objectives to support the WPS Strategy’s Lines of Effort (LOEs): (1) modeling and employing women’s meaningful participation in the Joint Force; (2) promoting partner nation women’s participation in all occupations in the defense and security sectors; and (3) ensuring partner nations protect women and girls, especially during conflict and crisis. In FY 2021, DoD spent $5.5 million to establish policies and programs to advance implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-68), hire and train qualified personnel, and integrate WPS into relevant training curriculum and professional military education for the Armed Forces. In modeling women’s meaningful participation, Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost took command of U.S. Transportation Command and Army General Laura Richardson took command of U.S. Southern Command. The Department initiated use of $3 million from the International Security Cooperation Programs (ISCP) Account to conduct security cooperation (SC) programs that incorporate gender analysis and advance women’s participation in defense institutions and national security forces. This work was complemented by the Department’s efforts to support an Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, which prompted historic reforms to preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence across the force—reaffirming DoD’s commitment to advancing WPS goals within our military.
Most of the world is not Denmark … and I would think someone with a lot of time in Africa would appreciate it … culture is sticky … but as with most of the characteristics of an imperialist’s mindset, that can be ignored;
By mainstreaming gender during the planning process, the United States can ensure that tangible benefits of SC activities reach both men and women.
It is important to reinforce that gender mainstreaming is not the same as gender balancing. Gender mainstreaming requires more than just increasing the number of women in each activity; it includes such efforts as developing an understanding of why the number of women is limited to begin with. Such an understanding requires an investigation into why women do or do not join the security sector and what impediments they face once there. Impediments can be both policy-based (that is, policies against women in combat roles) or due to traditional gender norms. In addition, does the partner nation have the capacity to absorb an influx of women? Are there barracks? How would uniforms be adjusted to accommodate physical differences between men and women? How robust is the sexual assault prevention program? What type of policies does the partner nation have regarding pregnancy and childbirth? Without serious considerations of these types of issues, any program focused on gender balancing will fail in the long run.
Until gender mainstreaming occurs, the United States will continue to fail to meet gender-balancing targets over the short and long term. This is not to say that the United States should abandon these efforts. Although five out of the six countries that receive the most security sector assistance continue to have large gender gaps, countries in which the United States has prioritized gender inclusion have smaller security sector gender gaps than the United States.41 Finally, in countries that have to make choices between guns and butter, incorporating WPS principles into security sector activities will make the perceived benefits of these programs more widespread among the beneficiary partner nation’s society. It could also make any planned U.S.-backed security cooperation activity beneficial to all segments of society, not just the military sector. Security cooperation activities can thus enhance overall acceptance of U.S. actions and activities among the general population, further building U.S. soft power and access to the partner nation.
For those who have spent a few years in the Operational Planning environment … you can see how this will gum up the works;
The first and most vital step in the integration of WPS into SC activities must be accomplished during the assessment—the first activity in SC planning. An initial assessment “provides an understanding of the context, conditions, partner capabilities, and requirements to inform security cooperation planning and implementation.”42 Initial assessments can be conducted by means of a variety of tools and methods. Common methods and tools used in initial assessments include strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis; political, military, economic, social, information, and infrastructure (PMESII) analysis; and diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DIME) analysis. Integrating WPS objectives should begin with assessments that mainstream gender through conducting a gender-based analysis that moves beyond simple demographic information to include a “‘lens that brings into focus the roles, resources, and responsibilities of women and men within the system under analysis.’”43
Generally, these assessments should be conducted with input from all stakeholders, to include the partner nation. Partner-nation stakeholder teams should trend toward gender balancing as a start. When women are included in assessments, definition of problems, causes, and solutions can go beyond “abstract do-gooding with minimal connection to the battles [women] are waging . . . in their own communities.”44 Both SWOT and PMESII are flexible tools in which information vital to gender mainstreaming can be captured. Through these basic analyses, SC planners can understand what roles men and women play in the security forces, the government, or the ministry of defense, and how security issues affect men and women differently. The table presents a list of possible questions for inclusion in a PMESII analysis; however, its list is by no means exhaustive, and the type of information required is situation dependent. When possible, it is important to include sex-disaggregated data, which can provide important information on who benefits from what, how women are integrated into society, and how to best target SC activities for the purposes of integrating women. Sex-disaggregated information should also be tracked, to be included in subsequent assessments.
Every OPLAN development or revision will have to include an embedded gender studies seminar and perhaps a struggle session or two if they feel their concerns are not welcomed enthusiastically enough by everyone.
Think you might want to push back? Are we all OK with this … delaying a HADR until the East Timorese get onboard with Fourth Wave Feminism?
Just to drive the point home;
Under U.S. law, SC planners must consider “gender perspectives”
Well done everyone in Congress. Well done.
When you see “gender-balancing” think “equity” which in practice naturally means, “quotas.” In the zero-sum game that is personnel assignment, that means discrimination on the basis of sex.
Especially at the input, output, and outcome levels, a gender-balancing approach (seeking to focus on ensuring greater gender representation) in addition to gender mainstreaming can yield more robust results and reportable data on progress being made toward achieving both the SSCI and WPS objectives.46 Recruitment, education, training, exercises, key leader engagements, and institutional capacity-building activities should include gendered scenarios and gender-based milestones whenever possible.
Do I have to highlight my gender-based Decisive Points, Decision Points, Lines of Operation, Goals, or Desired Effects with a special font or shaded with a different color? Is there a certain percentage I have to designate as such?
Is this good or bad? Will this create a better military planning structure?
These are good questions … or are they good questions? Are these questions one can even ask? Is it allowed? Can one critique any of this without being called nasty names?
To ask these questions is to, perhaps, answer them. We’ll see.