Women & the U.S. Military: Combat, Conflict & Command
About the Event:
Retired Lt. Colonel Kyleanne Hunter’s career in the Marines is emblematic of the important and evolving role of women in the U.S. military. She served multiple combat deployments as an AH-1W “Super Cobra” attack pilot in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Hunter was the first female member of HMLA-269 Squadron – the Marine Corps’ first designated Attack Helicopter squadron purposed with providing close in support to Marines under fire.
Since the American Revolution and through every war the nation has faced, women have served in increasingly expanding capacities in support of the U.S. military. When the draft ended in 1973, women represented only about 3% of those serving in the military. Now, women account for over 16% of those on active duty; and women have served as both 4-star generals and admirals. In 2015, all combat positions were opened to women. But with the blurred lines of fighting counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, many U.S. female soldiers have long been exposed to combat with almost 200 women killed in action since 9/11.
Lt. Colonel Hunter and Katherine Kuzminski, Director of Military, Veterans & Society Program at CNAS, will discuss how increased roles for women have led to a more effective military which is more representative of the nation and serves as a better embodiment of American tenets of equality when deployed abroad. They will also discuss those areas still in need of improvement in the military, such as: the need for more women in the highest ranks; the continuing high levels of sexual assault; the challenges of an often male-dominated culture; and the ongoing difficulties to recruit and retain women, especially those who may wish to have a family.
About the Speakers:
Retired Lt. Colonel Kyleanne Hunter, PhD., Marine Corps combat veteran & AH-1W “Super Cobra” attack pilot
Dr. Kyleanne Hunter, PhD, is a Marine Corps combat veteran with multiple combat deployments as an AH-1W “Super Cobra” attack pilot. She finished her active duty time in the Marine Corps’ Legislative Liaison Office in the House of Representatives. She is as Assistant Professor of Military and Strategic Studies at the United States Air Force Academy and the co-director of the Athena Leadership Project. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, and a Masters of Arts and a Doctorate from University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
Dr. Hunter’s research focuses on the intersection of social integration and military effectiveness, with a focus on gender and unconventional warfare. While completing her dissertation was a researcher in residence at University of San Diego’s Kroc School of Peace and Justice. She was co-primary investigator for the Nonviolent Actors in Violent Conflicts project funded by the Carnegie Foundation. Her work has been published in Journal of Peace Research, Armed Forces & Society, and Signs, as well as popular publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, and San Diego Union Tribune. She is co-editor of Invisible Veterans: What Happens When Women Become Civilians Again (Preager Press, 2019) with Kate Thomas Hendricks.
Dr. Hunter is also an adjunct professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She was the former Chair of the Employment and Integration Subcommittee for the Secretary of Defense’s Advisory Committee of Women in the Services (DACOWITS). She was part of the Department of Veterans Affairs inaugural class of “Women Veteran Trailblazers,” and named as one of HilllVets 100 most influential veterans in 2018. She serves on the advisory board for Impact:PEACE. She and her husband reside in Colorado Springs, CO.
Katherine Kuzminski, Director of Military, Veterans and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security
Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is Senior Fellow and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research specializations include DoD institutional and organizational design and management; military recruitment, retention, and talent management policy; veteran and military family issues; and civil-military relations.
Ms. Kuzminski returns to CNAS from the RAND Corporation, where she was a Political Scientist researching military personnel policy. During her time at RAND, she led research teams examining officer personnel management, reserve component transition issues, senior officer selection and development, military culture, and ground force capability development.
From 2013 to 2017, Ms. Kuzminski served as a Research Associate, Bacevich Fellow, and Fellow in the CNAS MVS Program. In her previous time at CNAS, she led the CNAS Women in National Security research portfolio and the Rebuilding the Bipartisan Defense Consensus Project and contributed to the development of the Veteran’s Data Project.
Ms. Kuzminski has testified before the Congressionally mandated National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. Her research and analysis have been featured on NPR, BBC, Federal News Radio, the NBC Nightly News, The Washington Post, and Politico. She is completing her PhD in Security Studies from Kansas State University, where she earned her B.S. in Military History and an M.A. in Security Studies.