Effectiveness of U.S. Military Female Engagement Teams
Long, Gail C.
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Female Engagement Teams (FET) are one of many efforts that have gained visibility since the U.S. entered Iraq and Afghanistan. As emphasis in these wars continues to be placed on counterinsurgency (COIN) and population-centric conflict, enabling programs/teamsnamely, Female Engagement, Human Terrain (HTTs), Provincial Reconstruction (PRTs), District Support (DSTs)have been constituted to target perceived gaps in access to the population, cultural and contextual frameworks, local level governance structures, and development needs. While the HTTs, PRTs and DSTs typically operate within a joint civil-military organizational structure, the FETs are distinguished by their purely military character, as well as their assignment of personnel with arguably little discernible background or training relevant to the job. The issue of training and methodology of FETs is especially important due to the sensitivity of their mission (i.e., working with women in a conservative and often dangerous environment) and the trajectory toward which it takes the military, into what has been a purely civilian domain. From a strategy perspective, the aims and results of the program are relevant to understanding how U.S. military leaders view the role of women in the success of COIN, as well as how inter-agency cooperation and civil-military relations are evolving.
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