The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is composed of civilian women and men appointed by the Secretary of Defense to provide advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment, retention, employment, integration, well-being, and treatment of women in the Armed Forces of the United States.
DACOWITS gathers information from multiple sources, to include briefings and written responses from Defense Department, Service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts. In addition, the Committee collects qualitative data from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits. To evenly distribute the research, the Committee is structured into three subcommittees: Recruitment and Retention, Employment and Integration, and Well-Being and Treatment. Based upon the data collected and analyzed, the Committee submits recommendations and continuing concerns via a comprehensive report to the Secretary of Defense.
As one of the oldest Defense Department advisory committees, DACOWITS’ recommendations have historically been instrumental in effecting changes to laws and policies pertaining to military women. Since 1951, the Committee has submitted over 1,000 recommendations to the Secretary of Defense for consideration. As of 2023, approximately 95% have been either fully or partially adopted by the Department.