National Action Plan: United States of America

Flag of the United States of AmericaIn June 2019, the United States (US) adopted a national strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), with the Trump administration calling it the first of its kind. In previous years, the US developed a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the WPS agenda with the first NAP adopted in December 2011 and the second NAP adopted in June 2016 for the periods of 2011-2015 and 2016-2018, respectively.

In 2017, the Trump administration established the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (signed into law on October 6, 2017), which mandated a government wide strategy on WPS within one year, focused on the increase in participation of women in conflict prevention and peace building.  

The United States has considerable influence in global security as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and an influential  economic, political and military power. The US is a nuclear-armed state, the world’s largest supplier of arms and home country for a significant proportion of the growing private military contracting industry. While in 2013 the US signed the Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the flow of weapons across international borders, the US government in 2019 informed the UN Secretary-General that the US has no intention to become a party to the treaty. The United States is presently engaged in military operations in several locations around the world, such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, in addition to having numerous permanent bases, and joint training operations in places such as Poland, Ukraine, Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Yemen, and Somalia as well as being a major troop contributor to NATO. The US is also a large aid contributor and holds considerable influence in world banking institutions.  

Document PDF: 

Guidance for the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

NAP Reaction

WILPF US: Preliminary Findings from Civil Society Consultations with the U.S. State Department on the U.S. National Action Plan

US analysis: Miller, Pournik, Swaine

WILPF Statement on US NAP

United States Strategy on Women, Peace and Security 2019

WILPF

WILPF was not involved in the development of the US Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security.   

Civil Society Actors

NAP Development: 

The WPS Strategy does not indicate civil society inclusion in the development of the document.

NAP Implementation: 

The WPS Strategy mentions civil society twice in Lines of Effort 3 and 4 (pp. 12-13), emphasizing that the sustainability of the Strategy will require the support of non-governmental entities and organizations, including civil society. However, the WPS Strategy does not specifically indicate how civil society will be included in the Strategy’s implementation. 

NAP Monitoring & Evaluation:  

The WPS Strategy does not indicate civil society inclusion in the monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy. 

Government Actors

NAP Development: 

The WPS Strategy does not have a clear indication of which government actors were involved in the development of the Strategy. 

NAP Implementation: 

The WPS Strategy indicates that the key departments and agencies that will implement the Strategy include, but are not limited to, the Department of State (DoS), Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  

NAP Monitoring & Evaluation:  

The WPS Strategy indicates that individual departments and agencies will be responsible for developing “measurable goals, benchmarks, and timetables for their WPS initiatives” (p. 15). 

Objectives

The WPS Strategy identifies “women’s political empowerment and equality … whereby women can meaningfully participate in preventing, mediating, and resolving conflict and countering terrorism, in ways that promote stable and lasting peace, including in conflict-affected areas” (p.5) as the overarching goal of the United States WPS Strategy: 

The WPS Strategy identifies the following three strategic objectives to work towards the above mentioned end state: 

  • Women are more prepared and increasingly able to participate in efforts that promote stable and lasting peace;

  • Women and girls are safer, better protected, and have equal access to government and private assistance programs, including from the United States, international partners, and host nations; and

  • United States and partner governments have improved institutionalization and capacity to ensure WPS efforts are sustainable and long-lasting.

Action/Activities

The WPS Strategy identifies four “lines of effort” to help “synchronize and prioritize” (pp. 5-6) actions to achieve the three overarching strategic objectives: 

  • Line of Effort 1: Seek and support the preparation and meaningful participation of women around the world in decision-making processes related to conflict and crises;

  • Line of Effort 2: Promote the protection of women and girls’ human rights; access to humanitarian assistance; and safety from violence, abuse, and exploitation around the world;

  • Line of Effort 3: Adjust United States international programs to improve outcomes in equality for, and the empowerment of women; and

  • Line of Effort 4: Encourage partner governments to adopt policies, plans, and capacity to improve the meaningful participation of women in processes connected to peace and security and decision-making institutions.

Each line of effort has a corresponding goal, possible barriers to the implementation of the goal, and a strategic approach, broken down into multiple stages of implementation with corresponding activities: 1) All phases, 2) Preventing conflict and preparing for disasters, 3) Managing, mitigating, and resolving conflict and crisis, and 4) Post-conflict and post-crisis relief and recovery. For example, Line of Effort 1 listed above has the following activities included for all phases:

  • Encourage the increased, meaningful participation of women in security-sector initiatives funded by the United States Government, including programs that provide training to foreign nationals regarding law enforcement, the rule of law, and professional military education. United States courses that historically attract only male international students from certain countries or regions should consider ways to incentivize the inclusion of female students as well.

  • Integrate women’s perspectives and interests into conflict prevention, conflict-resolution, and post conflict peace-building activities and strategies, including women from under-represented groups, via consultation with local women leaders in the design, implementation, and evaluation of United States initiatives;

  • Encourage the inclusion of women leaders and women’s organizations in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in post-conflict peace-building efforts. Where appropriate, United States diplomatic, military, and development interventions will lead by example through inclusion of American women in such efforts, and will engage local women leaders as vital partners, including through support that advances their meaningful political participation and empowerment, capacity, credibility, and professional development; and

  • Use relevant analysis and indicators, including the collection of sex-disaggregated data, to identify and address barriers to women’s meaningful participation in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in post-conflict peace-building efforts and programs, including early warning systems related to conflict and violence.

Timeframe

The implementation period for the WPS Strategy is four years (2019-2023). The Strategy aims to make “demonstrable progress” (p. 5) on the identified strategic objectives by 2023.  

Budget

The WPS Strategy does not contain an allocated or estimated budget. Instead, the Strategy indicates that individual departments and agencies (DoS, DoD, DHS, and USAID) will estimate their resource requirements. 

Indicators

The WPS Strategy does not identify specific indicators other than stating that the “Administration will commit to rigorously track and report on metrics across the interagency on an annual basis” (p. 15).

The WPS Strategy does not identify specific indicators for the strategic objectives either, with the exception of mentioning examples of indicators for one of the illustrative activities of Line of Effort 1, which reads:   

“Use relevant analysis and indicators, including the collection of sex-disaggregated data, to identify and address barriers to women’s meaningful participation in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in post-conflict peace-building efforts and programs, including early warning systems related to conflict and violence” (p. 8).

Monitoring & Evaluation

The WPS Strategy tasks individual departments and agencies with developing “measurable goals, benchmarks, and timetables” (p. 15). However, the Strategy identifies an overarching, multi-tier timeline for the overall implementation of the US WPS Strategy: 

  • No later than 90 days after this Strategy goes into effect, departments and agencies will nominate criteria to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) for inclusion in a United States Government-wide WPS framework for monitoring and evaluating programs. 

  • Within 120 days of the approval of this WPS Strategy, State, DOD, DHS, and USAID shall each develop, in coordination with the APNSA and Office of Management and Budget, and provide to the Congress a detailed, consolidated implementation plan. 

  • Not later than 1 year after submission of this strategy, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of USAID, shall brief the appropriate Congressional Committees on existing, enhanced, or newly established training for relevant United States personnel on the participation of women in conflict-prevention and peace building.

  • Not later than 2 years after submission of this strategy, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of USAID shall submit to the APNSA, and be prepared to brief the appropriate Congressional Committees on, a report that summarizes and evaluates departments’ and agencies’ implementation plans; describes the nature and extent of interagency coordination on implementation; outlines the monitoring and evaluation on policy objectives; and describes existing, enhanced, or newly established training.

Disarmament

The WPS Strategy acknowledges that armed conflicts have a unique and “disproportionate, adverse impact” on women and girls (p. 5). Nevertheless, despite the US position as a leader in global arms trade and military spending, the revised WPS Strategy does not discuss disarmament or demilitarization of the country’s budget to fund humanitarian needs.