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818th MSAS facilitates Women, Peace and Security talks in Chad

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- A variety of factors make up and support a successful military. These areas include armaments, force size, training and intelligence to name a few. However, one that is often overlooked and is vital to the success of military operations is diversity.

To help bridge these gaps in diversity, a team from the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron is traveling to Chad in support of the Women, Peace and Security initiative aimed at addressing the concerns of women in the military.

“We want to create opportunities for women in leadership positions to collaborate and interact in a way that allows them to have a voice in their own progression and advancement in the military,” said Capt. Ariel Saltin, 818th MSAS training flight commander.

At the end of last year, Saltin identified a need for professional development and mentorship after traveling to several African countries and meeting with women in the military. She took steps to become more knowledgeable and educated on the issues and has led the 818th MSAS’ internal effort to speak to these issues.

Saltin will facilitate and guide strategic conversations with about 15 female Chadian officers later this year. The results of the conversation will then be presented to the Chadian Chief of Defense as a recommended path forward toward meeting their WPS goals.

The WPS discussions come at the request of the security cooperation office at the U.S. Embassy in Chad and is a core mission of the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Department of State.

“WPS has been a high interest area of the geographic combatant command, as well as the Department of State for several years, yet security cooperation offices have struggled to find clear ways to support,” said Lt. Col. Ryan McCaughan, 818th MSAS director of operations.

Since the signing into law of the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017, AFRICOM has looked for new and innovative ways to integrate WPS initiatives. The 818th MSAS is taking this strategic objective and bringing it to the tactical level.

“The 818th MSAS built the capability and independently trained our personnel to cover this critical area because we firmly believe that a diverse, well-integrated military will make our partners in Africa more capable and more lethal,” McCaughan said.

In militaries where money is scarce, diversity initiatives are often prioritized lower in favor of other programs.

This initiative aims at building true inclusion by reforming personnel structure and leadership at the institutional level.

“Diversity makes our partners more innovative, more creative, more adaptive to an ever-changing enemy and, ultimately, diversity makes our partners more lethal and more equipped to achieve their own, as well as U.S. shared objectives,” McCaughan said.