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.
Committee members serve as special government employee members, not as official representatives of any group or organization with which they may be affiliated. Members include prominent civilian women and men from academia, industry, public service and other professions. Selection is on the basis of experience in the military or with women-related workforce issues. Members are appointed for a 4-year term of service, serve without compensation, and perform a variety of duties, including visiting military installations annually, conducting a review and evaluation of current research on military women, and developing an annual report with recommendations on these issues for the Secretary of Defense.
DACOWITS gathers information from multiple sources, to include briefings and written responses from DoD, Service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts. The Committee collects 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 examines peer-reviewed literature. Based upon the data collected and analyzed, the Committee will submit recommendations and continuing concerns to the Secretary of Defense.
The Secretary of Defense, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (5 United States Code (U.S.C.), Appendix, as amended) and 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 102-3.50(d). The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) is the Sponsor for DACOWITS.
Authorized by the DACOWITS Charter, the Executive Director of the Center for Women Veterans for the Department of Veterans Affairs will serve as a non-voting, ex-officio regular government employee (RGE) member, who may participate in Committee deliberations.
In accordance with Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 5105.04, “Department of Defense Federal Advisory Committee Management Program,” dated August 6, 2007, and Deputy Secretary of Defense memorandum, “Advisory Committee Management,” dated November 26, 2018, the Military Services will designate a Service Liaison to the DACOWITS. Service Liaisons attend each DACOWITS quarterly business meeting for the entire duration of the public meeting; respond to all DACOWITS requests for information; and ensure the information provided to DACOWITS receives appropriate security reviews prior to the release of any public disclosure of information. Other Defense points of contact are designated through the USD(P&R).