Civil Military Support Element (CMSE) El Salvador, a U.S. Special Operations Forces (USSOF) Civil Affairs Team, hosted a Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) conference in Tepecoyo, La Libertad department, El Salvador, on January 27, 2022. Women from various community sectors to include security, education, commercial, and governance attended to engage in civil discourse from a female perspective. Salvadoran communities requested additional information on security, gender issues, health, education, and entrepreneurship during the event.
After CMSE El Salvador’s assessment of women’s perspectives from several communities over the course of their six month deployment, it is clear Salvadorans see the benefits of incorporating women into additional positions within security and government. CMSE El Salvador identified departments both within and outside the government of El Salvador that are creating programs, giving entrepreneurship classes, teaching leadership development, providing health education, and facilitating recruitment into the security sector to encourage woman participation. CMSE El Salvador seeks to support these initiatives and increase the meaningful participation of women in the security sector, including the police and armed forces, particularly at the policy level.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “The United States remains fully committed to advancing UNSC Resolution 1325 as a matter of international peace and security.” The WPS international strategy is to pursue long-term security and stability, while simultaneously demonstrating a commitment to dignity, human rights, and equality. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will support the WPS strategy and “will encourage partner nations to do the same, thereby increasing interoperability and better preparing forces to face complex challenges of the modern battlefield,” the DOD says in its WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan.
Furthermore, El Salvador drafted its first national Action Plan (NAP) in 2017 for Resolution 1325 under then President Sánchez Cerén, which also expressed and affirmed the importance of Resolution 1325 and published a framework for action and implementation. CMSE El Salvador seeks to continue the WPS momentum in El Salvador by advocating for women alongside our Salvadoran counterparts.
Based on the recommendations of the communities and organizations that met with CMSE El Salvador, an educational seminar will be hosted to provide education and training for both the National Civil Police and the Salvadoran Armed Forces. This seminar is a joint effort between the USSOF and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The focus of this seminar will be to promote democratic values and women in security forces and cultivate the importance of including women in meaningful roles within governance, security, and all other sectors.
CMSE El Salvador is comprised of a four-person team. U.S. Special Operation Forces are trained to be highly adaptable and innovative while carrying out the United States’ strategic goals at the grass root level. The team has over a dozen deployments to U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Central Command’s areas of responsibility. The team is led by U.S. Army Captain Samuel Anderson, while the WPS initiative is spearheaded by Staff Sergeant Renee Paul.