June 18, 2024
It’s time once again to feature some of the smart conversations that occur around the country through the Eisenhower Series College Program. For over 50 years, the Eisenhower Program has reached out to colleges and town halls across the nation to introduce War College students to audiences that are often unfamiliar with members of the U.S. military. This episode features Qiana Harder, Seana Jardin, and Carina Kelley as they discuss their personal and professional experiences as women serving in the United States Army. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the challenges they've experienced during their time in the military, as well as to highlight the successes and opportunities they've encountered. With nearly seventy years of combined experience, these three soldiers point out that while there is still plenty of room for improvement, military service for women has come a long way. They believe there are plentiful opportunities open to the next generation of women for a successful, fulfilling career in the U.S. Army. And these three ladies prove that fighting like a girl is a good thing.

It’s time once again to feature some of the smart conversations that occur around the country through the Eisenhower Series College Program. For over 50 years, the Eisenhower Program has reached out to colleges and town halls across the nation to introduce War College students to audiences that are often unfamiliar with members of the U.S. military. This episode features Qiana Harder, Seana Jardin, and Carina Kelley as they discuss their personal and professional experiences as women serving in the United States Army. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the challenges they’ve experienced during their time in the military, as well as to highlight the successes and opportunities they’ve encountered. With nearly seventy years of combined experience, these three soldiers point out that while there is still plenty of room for improvement, military service for women has come a long way. They believe there are plentiful opportunities open to the next generation of women for a successful, fulfilling career in the U.S. Army. And these three ladies prove that fighting like a girl is a good thing.

I’ve been asked ‘would I ever feel comfortable with my daughters serving?’ and my answer is a whole-hearted yes.

Qiana N. Harder is an Active Guard Reserve Military Police officer and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Her previous assignment was as Branch Chief of the Army Threat Integration Center. She is returning to the Pentagon this summer to serve in the HQDA, G-3/5/7. She is a member of the AY24 Resident Course at the U.S. Army War College and the Eisenhower Series College Program.

Seana M. Jardin is a human resources officer and a colonel in the U.S. Army. During her 25 years in uniform, Colonel Jardin has served in a wide variety of organizations, most recently as the Staff Director for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). She is a member of the AY24 Resident Course at the U.S. Army War College and the Eisenhower Series College Program.

Carina L. Kelley is a U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery colonel who has held multiple leadership positions throughout her 23-year career. Most recently, she served as the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Branch Chief at Indo-Pacific Command. She is a member of the AY24 Resident Course at the U.S. Army War College and the Eisenhower Series College Program.

Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Description: A Civil Affairs candidate from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, low crawls under barbed wire on a Leader Reaction Course as part of a Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection course at Camp Mackall, North Carolina February 5, 2023. The course assessed candidates for trainability and suitability to attend the Civil Affairs Team Leader or the Civil Affairs Noncommissioned Officer pathway and allowed the Civil Affairs Proponent to select candidates for attributes and competencies required to be a member of a Civil Affairs Team.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by K. Kassens

5 thoughts on “WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO FIGHT LIKE A GIRL?
(EISENHOWER SERIES)

  1. Very informative discussion, but limited by the last 20 years of less than large scale wars (a good thing) and the relatively late timeline of opening combat positions to women.
    An area for future discussion maybe the relative advantages and disadvantages of masculine versus feminine leadership traits snd styles in what we expect in a future large scale peer/near-peer war.

  2. “The Eisenhower Series College Program is a United States Army War College outreach program that exposes intellectually curious university and civic audiences who have little direct knowledge of the military to men and women with significant “on-the-ground” experience with national security. Provided at no cost to hosting institutions, we seek to improve mutual “civil-military” understanding of national security issues by briefly sharing the candid insights of our US Army War College fellows regarding current national security issues, and by listening attentively and responding to the questions and perspectives of our audiences.”

    A major national security issue, today, that our military men and women would seem to have significant “on-the-ground” experience with, this would seem to be the fact that (a) the U.S./the West, post-the Cold War, moved out smartly to try to transform the states and societies of the world (to include our own); this, so that same might be made to better interact with, better provide for and better benefit from such things as capitalism, markets and trade and that (b) our military personnel were deployed to achieve these such “transformations” in certain “problem” countries.

    Overall, this required that states and societies — to include our own — embrace/impose certain “modern” political, economic, social and/or value changes in various locales; changes that (a) threatened various status quos and (b) existentially threatened those who depended on same for their power, influence, control, status, privilege, safety, security, etc.

    (Ultimately, this will result in the massive instability that we see throughout the world today, and with such diverse entities as Russia, China, Iran, N. Korea, the Islamists and conservatives here at home taking advantage of this such instability; this, by [a] championing such things as “traditional values” and [b] gaining power, influence and control via this approach.)

    Question:

    As women’s rights, women in the military and such things as DEI all being what we might call “non-traditional” — and thus with same, accordingly, all being seen in certain circles as being “wrong” — what would our three lady warriors say to civilian audiences — who wanted to discuss these such — national security — matters?

  3. LTC Harder’s piece relates to “women, peace and security.” As to those such matters consider the following (which indeed might make for an interesting discussion of national security matters with both civilian and military audiences?):

    With regard to such things as the “Women, Peace and Security,” let us consider that these type of initiatives (given that they are, in fact, “achieve revolutionary change” initiatives/”defeat and replace the culture of the native populations” initiatives); that these types of initiatives are, in truth, more likely to CAUSE conflict rather than to PREVENT conflict.

    As to that such suggestion, consider the following example from the Old Cold War, in this case, with the Soviets/the communists, in Afghanistan back then, attempting to “achieve revolutionary change”/attempting to “defeat and replace the native culture” of the Afghans; this, in the name of such things as political, economic, social and value communism. (Herein to note that the Soviets/the communists, way back then, also promoted aspects of such things as women’s rights and girl’s schools?)

    “The overt attack on Afghan social values was presented, by the resistance forces, as an attack on Islamic values. This was also seen as an attack on the honor of women. The initiatives introduced by PDPA (the communist Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan) — to impose literacy on women and girls — inevitably raised questions as to the potential role of women outside the home. This provoked defensive actions from men, concerned with protecting the honor of women with their families, and to also ensure that traditional roles of women within the domestic sphere continued to be performed. It also generated fears that the important roles of women, as the primary vehicles for passing traditional and Islamic values from one generation to another, would be undermined if they were exposed to external and, particularly, non-Islamic values. This enabled the exiled radical Islamic parties to claim leadership of the resistance and to also declare a jihad. (Item in parenthesis above is mine. See Page 58, Chapter 4 [The Soviet Military Intervention] of Peter Marsden’s book “Afghanistan: Aid, Armies and Empires.”)

    Question — Based on the above:

    In my Old Cold War example above, we can see that such things as “peace and security,” these were routinely, commonly and readily sacrificed by the Soviets/the communists back then; this, so as to achieve their priority goal, which was to transformation various states and societies so that same might be made to be more compatible with, then-contemporary, Soviet/communist political, economic, social and value wants, needs and desires.

    Likewise in the post-the Cold War, should we not see such things as “peace and security” also being routinely, commonly and readily sacrificed, in this case, by the U.S./the West; this, so as to transform various states and societies — so that same might, in this case, be made to be more compatible with, now-contemporary, U.S./Western political, economic, social and value needs?

    In this latter regard, note how our authoritarian opponents (those both here at home and there abroad) now seek to take advantage of this such — not “peace and security” but indeed “conflict and instability” promoting phenomenon:

    “The combative narratives promoted by these and other antidemocratic leaders have popular appeal in part because they take advantage of widespread anxiety about political, socio-cultural, and economic change. Over the past several decades, trends associated with globalization have included increased education for women, higher rates of female participation in formal employment, the relative decline of male-dominated manufacturing jobs in many industrialized countries, increased political power and representation for women, and the arrival of immigrants in higher numbers or from new source countries. A significant share of voters are receptive to politicians who promise to push back against one or all of these trends—often blurring the distinctions between them—and restore a sense of control and power.” (See “The Nationalist Connection” section of the June 18, 2019 “Freedom House” article “Why Strongmen Attack Women’s Rights: Authoritarian Rulers Around the World are Leading Attacks on Women’s Rights” by Colleen Scribner.)

    As we can see from the information that I have provided above, it is not so much “peace and security” that (a) drove the Soviets/the communist and/or (b) drives the U.S./Western — to “achieve revolutionary change”/to “defeat and replace the culture of the native populations” (for example, as relates to such things as women’s rights and/or anything else),

    Rather, as Samuel P. Huntington noted in his famous “Political Order in Changing Societies” (see Page 41), “getting rich” (at least in the U.S./Western case) is what drives these such — actually “conflict creating”/”conflict promoting” — initiatives:

    “The apparent relationship between poverty and backwardness, on the one hand, and instability and violence, on the other, is a spurious one. It is not the absence of modernity but the efforts to achieve it which produce political disorder. If poor countries appear to be unstable, it is not because they are poor, but because they are trying to become rich. A purely traditional society would be ignorant, poor, and stable.”

    (Herein to note that those “ignorant, poor and stable” societies — noted by S.P. Huntington above — these, indeed, might be expected to have “backwards” features, such as gender [etc., etc., etc.] inequality?)

    1. Addendum to my comment immediately above. The following is the third paragraph from the U.S. Department of State’s item on “Women, Peace and Security:”

      “Through the passage of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, the United States became the first country in the world with a comprehensive law on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). The U.S. Government also released the 2019 U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, and the State Department Implementation Plan in 2020, which has strengthened the U.S. priorities of promoting gender equity and equality in efforts to prevent conflict, promote peace, and countering violent extremism. The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues is proud to serve as the lead coordinating office for the State Department’s WPS efforts.”

      Question — based on the information and examples that I provide at my “B.C. says:
      May 22, 2024 at 12:37 pm” comment immediately above:

      If you are (from the DoS item above) “promoting gender equity and equality in efforts to prevent conflict, promote peace, and counter violent extremism,” then are you not via this initiative — rather and instead — (a) promoting conflict, (b) undermining peace and (c) literally begging for violent extremism? (All potentially on a worldwide scale — this especially, for example, as nations such as Russia, in the alternative, champion such things as “traditional values?”)

  4. This was a great session in relaying some of the thoughts of women in service. It was great to hear from the diversity of military service, not just our active duty counterparts. I also like how WPS was woven into the conversation because of it’s pivotal role in how we’ll fight in the future.

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