The Pentagon plan aims to reduce civilian casualties from airstrikes

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The Pentagon on Thursday unveiled a plan to reduce civilian casualties from airstrikes and other sensitive military operations as senior US defense officials face mounting pressure to break a pattern of deadly failures.

The plan envisages embedding risk reduction specialists in military operations centers around the world and establishing a “centre of excellence” to be promoted Best Practices and Introduction Oversight by the highest levels of the Department of Defense. It also aims to improve data collection and analysis to better track and address the issue.

“It’s not that we haven’t considered civilian damage control in the past,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary. “It’s just about applying a consistent approach across the department so that this becomes a matter of how we do business.” Ryder called the effort “a direct reflection of US values ​​and a strategic and moral imperative “.

The Pentagon has taken fire for attacks that have killed innocent bystanders or unintended targets or wounded, incidents, critics argue that could have been avoided. These events include the August 27, 2021 drone strike the 10 civilians, including seven children, killed in Kabul and allegations that the Pentagon tried Covering up of civilian deaths during an attack on Islamic State supporters in Syria – claims the Pentagon denied.

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The plan published on Thursday does not address individual incidents. But according to a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under terms set by the Pentagon, previous episodes provided information about the changes outlined therein.

Particular attention is paid to it addressing cognitive bias or misinterpreting evidence to confirm one’s suspicions and reducing the likelihood of target misidentification, the official said. The Pentagon also wants to ensure that it attacks as part of its standard processes Plans that unduly endanger civilians are put through their paces before they are released.

The risk reduction plans apply not only when launching a missile or dropping bombs, but also when conducting cyberattacks and other operations conducted outside of “deadly space,” the official said.

The goal is to “help commanders and operators better understand the civilian environment before operations begin,” the official added.

The Pentagon expects to activate it Center of Excellence within the upcoming fiscal year and begin implementing risk mitigation as part of regular military training utilizing existing resources. Reach The full capacity will require additional funding from Congress, the official said.

The Pentagon anticipates that the center of excellence will require about 30 staff and that the entire program will require about 150 military positions. The official estimated that the budget required to implement the plans would be in the tens of millions — a small percentage of annual defense spending.

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