Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services visits Peterson SFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody Friend
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, visited Peterson Space Force Base April 8, and April 9, 2024, to speak with service members and gather data about their experiences in the armed forces. 

During the visit, DACOWITS members hosted focus groups with both female and male officers and enlisted members, listening to their diverse perspectives and working to understand issues they may be facing. 

“A major tenet of DACOWITS’ work throughout its history has been directly engaging service members during in-person visits to military installations,” said Shelly O’Neill Stoneman, DACOWITS chair. “In my personal view, this is one of the best parts of this volunteer role – getting out of D.C. and speaking with service members at their duty stations all over the country. We hear from equal numbers of women and men, officer and enlisted, serving in a variety of roles, to better understand their lived experiences as a result of the implementation of these policies and inform DACOWITS’ research.” 

During one of the focus groups, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Sarah Takaki, Space Base Delta 1 Equal Opportunity superintendent, felt empowered coming together with other women across the ranks and work force to share personal experience and family hardships as women in the services. 

“It’s important for leaders to acknowledge that women have different needs, and not try to blanket everyone as having the same needs,” Takaki said. “Policies are extremely important to drive change, but the culture change begins at the unit level, with leaders who truly care and have an understanding for the individual needs of their personnel. I’d say that many of the women speaking up on women’s needs, are in agreement with the need for a ‘culture change.’” 

DACOWITS is a committee of civilian women and men, some prior service, appointed by the Secretary of Defense. Their mission is to gather information regarding women in the services and provide feedback and advice on policies related to the experience and challenges women face in the U.S. military. 

DACOWITS has been effecting change to laws and policies regarding women since 1951. The committee has historically been critical in changing the landscape for women in the armed forces. Since their inception, over 1,000 recommendations have been made to the Secretary of Defense, and as of 2023, approximately 95% of their recommendations have been either fully or partially adopted by the Department of Defense. 

“This was a unique opportunity to learn from the newest service about how female Guardians are serving with pride and what, if any, unintended impediments might stand in the way of their advancement,” Stoneman said. 

To learn more about DACOWITS and its effect on the U.S. armed forces, please visit: