General Ann E. Dunwoody

Press Q&A on Being Promoted to 4-Star General

delivered 14 November 2008, The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia

Audio mp3 of Q&A


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

General Dunwoody: Good afternoon.


Press Q: General, in his remarks General Casey referred to the 1975 study¹ about the appropriate role of women in the Army. I'm wondering what your thoughts are at this point on whether there's room to give women wider participation in the Army. In particular should women be allowed in the infantry? Or are there other ways to expand the role of women in the Army?

General Dunwoody: I think the Army has a very deliberate -- and so do our lawmakers -- of reviewing policies for women, as they did back in 1975. And it's been my experience in my 33 years in the military that the doors have continued to open and the opportunities have continued to expand. And so I think as time deems it necessary that that review will be revisited.

Press Q: A particular question about infantry of course is the question about combat role for women. Is that something that you have a personal view on, whether that's appropriate or -- ?

General Dunwoody: No, I don't have a personal view on it. I think we have a law that precludes that right now. And we're in compliance with that law. And if that law needs to be revisited, I think we have a deliberate process to do that.


Press Q: I want to ask you an AMC question. You've been there for a while now. One, a reset question: What's your last calculation for a reset cost over the next several years? The Army, a couple years ago, was saying it would need 12 to 13 billion dollars a year to reset, up until two or three years after the conflict in Iraq ebbed. Is that still a current estimate?

General Dunwoody: That's the best estimate, to my knowledge right now.

Press Q: I have a follow-up. Today, the Army put out a solicitation on a new kind of MRAP, an all-terrain MRAP vehicle. Not -- I'm assuming you don't know all the puts and takes, but in general can you talk a little about the need for MRAPs in Afghanistan and AMC's role in -- 

General Dunwoody: I haven't -- I haven't seen the article that you've read. Obviously, pretty busy today. I was an early bird this morning. I -- I think our -- our position is, our AMC position's, Army policy on delivery and what we're trying to do, as always, as you know, is to get the best force protection to our men and -- men and women deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. And I know they're revisiting that right now and I know there's a open solicitation. I'm the deputy commanding general right now at AMC. And we have a -- we're a --  a facilitator of the requirements.


Press Q: In his remarks, General Casey spoke about how this promotion was kind of late in coming. And can I ask you, do you think that that's an accurate statement, that this -- this could have happened possibly sooner than -- than today? And also, the number of female general officers in the Army is about 5 percent of the total -- the total number. Is -- Is that the right number or should it be higher?

General Dunwoody: To...your first question -- is this late in coming? If you never expected it, then it's not late in coming -- which I never did. But I -- I think what we've seen in our Army -- and as General Casey talked about and so did the secretary -- in 1975, it was about the time when women were coming into the fully integrated Army and that we were disbanding the WAC corps. And so that whole generation -- it was a generations of firsts, from the time we entered back in '76, '77. And so everything's a first -- first platoon leader or maintenance company, because they didn't hold those jobs before. So those had to continue to expand. And so I think what we see now is that generation is now reaching the senior ranks of our Army. The last brigadier general officer list had five female general officers on it. So the bench is deep and the opportunities are tremendous.


Press Q: Ma'am, how -- how much heavier is that additional star? Do you -- Do you feel like a lot of -- of especially female service members are looking to you now for -- for your success and their hopes?

General Dunwoody: I hope I continue to serve as a role model, not just for the women but men in our military. I think the Army has prepared me well for this assignment, both professionally and through assignments. And so I feel very comfortable and honored to have this opportunity today.

Press Q: Are there any female service members that you drew inspiration from? And -- And would you have any -- any advice to young women who want to...reach the -- the length that you've gotten, a four-star?

General Dunwoody: I've been very fortunate. And I -- you heard this morning about the role my family's played in -- in my molding and my values. And as I came in the military, to be honest, I've never worked for a female, so I didn't ever have a role model in that capacity. But I've known other women who have served [as] role models, that are peers, others that have been senior to me, that have served as great role models. But also I've had great male role models in my career, because that's been the community that I've worked in probably most -- all of my career, quite frankly. And so most of my near-term coaches and mentors happened to be male because that's the environment that I grew up in. For women coming into the military today, for men and women coming into the military today, I would tell you that it's a very noble profession and it's a great profession where the doors continue to -- to open, where the opportunities are tremendous. And I don't care if you're coming in the military for two years, 10 years, or 20 years. We will return a better citizen to America with that experience that they had in the military.

Press Q: There's been a lot of focus today, in your promotion ceremony and then here, on ceilings being broken, the ceiling -- the...brass ceiling that General Casey spoke of that you broke today. Was there ever a time in your career where there was something that you really wanted to do, something in the Army you wanted to do, that you were held back from because of your gender, because you're a woman?

General Dunwoody: That's a good question. I reflected back on that. The way I look at my career is -- and I don't think it just happens to -- to women. I think people that are new into an organization have to establish their reputation before they get the job they may want or they're interested in. And so when you get in an organization and establish your -- your reputation, people decide what kind of soldier you're going to be, and those -- those positions then became open. That's been my experience. Have I always gone into the right job and the one I thought I was going into? No. But that's not -- I don't think that's just a gender-specific challenge; I think that's our challenge as military men and women as we come in an organization, that we establish ourself, our reputation. And my experience has been that once you have done that, then you've been selected and moved into positions where th[ey] trust and count on you to do greater things.

Press Q: I wonder if I could ask your husband just what you think? What do you think about this?

Colonel Brotchie: Well, I -- I think it's tremendous. We...met. We were contemporaries and we both served for...quite a while. The first 10 years we were married, we had separate households because we were both serving. And I've always known she's a very talented officer, smart, personable, and that she cares. So I just think it's -- it's tremendous, and it's -- it's enriched our lives in...a lot of great opportunity.

Press Q: Are you surprised at the attention, the level of attention that your promotion has generated?

General Dunwoody: Yeah, I think I mentioned that in my speech. I think General Casey warned me, but I -- I just wasn't prepared for the enormity in the reaction from around the world -- men and women across the United States, across the world; you know, people I've never heard of; men and women from all services; men and women for all corners of the Earth; veterans from former wars; mothers and daughters. And so it -- it was very humbling to be able to -- to start hearing and receiving those cards and letters. But it -- it did dawn on me then, just reading these letters -- and it was so touching -- women that served in other wars, sending me their memoirs and their times of what they did when they served. I mean, just -- they're made so happy that the Army's continued to progress, and that they had role in where I am today. So to answer your question, no, initially, but again, I realized the enormity of it. I think we don't realize it, because, as I said, we came into the Army, and we're the first this and the first that, and -- and my whole career was kind of the first of my generation, because women had not been down those roads before. And so you go, Well, shy is this first any different than the other first? But it is different, because it is a bigger first.


Press Q: General, some -- some commentators have suggested that the American public is not really ready for women to be dying in combat, women to be captured, and women to serve in the same way that men do. What do you think of that? Do you think the American public can tolerate that or not?

General Dunwoody: I can't really speak for the American public. What I'll tell you what I've seen on today's battlefield -- is that, as you know, it has changed -- even when I came in the military, when we were fighting on a linear battlefield, when there were safe areas in the rear -- that that linear battlefield no longer is -- exist; then they're on the asymmetrical, non-contiguous battlefield; and that no one is safe on the battlefield anymore -- men, womens [sic], logisticians, postal clerks -- because it's a dangerous environment. And I think what the Army has taken on is that every soldier is a rifleman first in this environment, and they must be able to protect and defend themselves in order to do their mission, whether it's support or supply. And the focus has been on the training to do just that.

(Yes? I'm sorry.)

Press Q: Ma'am, you spoke of challenges earlier. Given your history of jumping into new positions, as you jump into this new position, what do you see as your challenges ahead?

General Dunwoody: I looked at them as opportunities. And at -- at first, for -- I'm so honored to be able to lead the Army Materiel Command, which will take place this afternoon. And I would build on what General Griffin's legacy has been, which has continued to transform this huge organization to be more responsive, more agile to our deployed men and women. And he's done a magnificent job building an operational piece of AMC that did not exist before his arrival to AMC. And so he truly has connected the foxhole to the factory by building the operational structure we needed within Army Materiel Command to do just that. And so as I look in...into AMC, it's to build on his legacy. We have BRAC. That's going to be a huge challenge. Over 11,000 people are affected in AMC with BRAC moves, so -- to include our headquarters. We have automation that we need to continue to deliver. But all of these initiatives are building on the foundations that he has done.


Press Q: You spoke about -- General Casey spoke about your family and its long service to this country. When you joined the military, did your family talk to you at all about the limitations that your career would go in as a woman? Were they concerned about it? Was it something that came up?

General Dunwoody: No. My family never knew the limitations and I never grew up in an environment where I even heard of the word "glass ceilings." It was always -- again, I mentioned my mom. The glass was always half full. You could always be anything you wanted to be if you worked hard. And so I never felt constrained. I never felt that there were limitations on what I could do.


Press Q: First of all, congratulations.

General Dunwoody: Thank you very much.

Press Q: It's been almost 40 years since the first female general was announced and for the U.S. Army. What do you think is the reason it's taken this long for, in this case, you to reach a four-star level?

General Dunwoody: I'm -- I'm not sure. It...sounds like a long time, but again, when you look at the timing of integration in --into the regular Army, that now you had women doing the same jobs that their male counterparts did. So if you look at equal performance and what they were doing that -- we had an evolution from the time we were integrated into the -- the regular Army and then a -- a bench building of officers as they went through their careers. And, you know, 33 years -- I -- I don't see that's a long time to get this level. I never expected to be at this level, but I don't see that as -- as a long time. I think it's -- it's -- I've been very fortunate that the opportunities have just come my way and I've been able to continue to serve.

Press Q: When was the last time you jumped?

General Dunwoody: When I was on force -- 1st COSCOM at Fort Bragg and I was a one star. So that's been a while. Except off the bench this morning.

Staff: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

Press: Our pleasure. Thank you.

General Dunwoody: Thank you very much. Thank you again.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

¹Attitudes Concerning Job Appropriateness for Women in the Army.pdf

Also in this database: General Ann Dunwoody's Address at the Promotion Ceremony

Audio Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Source for Attitudes Concerning Job Appropriateness for Women in the Army: National Technical Information Service

Page Updated: 9/24/18

U.S. Copyright Status: This text = Property of Audio = Public domain.

















































































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