Women in the Military:

Deployment in the Persian Gulf War

NSIAD-93-93: Published: Jul 13, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the deployment of women in the military to the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, focusing on women's: (1) roles and performance; (2) ability to endure deployment conditions; (3) effect on unit cohesion; and (4) effect on a unit's ability to deploy.

GAO found that: (1) unit commanders and focus group participants gave positive assessments of women's performance in the Persian Gulf War; (2) women performed a wide range of tasks throughout the deployment area before, during, and after hostilities; (3) women and men endured the same austere encampment conditions and often went without any facilities at all; (4) the focus group reported that unit cohesion was most important in smaller units, such as platoons or sections, but gender homogeneity was not a requirement for effective unit cohesion during deployment; (5) some women and men were unavailable for deployment or returned early for a variety of reasons; and (6) undeployable personnel had a greater impact on units that deployed in their entirety than on units that deployed only a portion of their personnel.

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