DOD publishes webpage to help report civilian casualties> US Department of Defense> Defense Department News


The US military goes to extraordinary lengths to protect civilians on the battlefield, but sometimes casualties do occur.

The ministry has now created a website for people to report information on civilian casualties.

The web page lists the email and postal addresses of the Fighter Commands so that those with information on civilian casualties can contact the Commands.

The US military examines or investigates incidents involving civilian casualties. In doing so, the US military examines information reasonably available, including any information submitted.

Harming civilians is never the intended outcome of war, defense officials have repeatedly stressed. It goes against the ethics of the military and is inconsistent with US objectives. The United States military always seeks to mitigate the potential for civilian damage in the conduct of military operations.

“I know from experience that beyond the loss of one of our own in combat, a commander feels nothing more painful than the accidental loss of civilian life,” said Anthony Tata, who serves Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy. “We are therefore actively working to advance our ability to mitigate civilian damage and respond to it when it occurs. As part of these efforts, it is critical that we ensure that those involved are able to provide the commands with fighters from the US Department of Defense with information regarding incidents in which US military operations may have [resulted in the injury or death of] civilians. “

“Civilians often endure intense suffering during war,” said Stephanie Hammond, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs. “It is a tragic and sobering fact that we take very seriously. That’s why the United States has continued to show leadership in using the latest technology to mitigate harm to civilians, and continues to advance our ability to prevent harm to civilians when possible and respond when it happens. . “

Civilian casualties are part of the conflict. In the past, guns were rough and not that precise. During WWII, if bombers got their weapons in the same grid square as the target, it was considered extremely effective.

Today, the United States has the guided munitions and intelligence apparatus to hit targets more precisely. This decreases the risk of civilian casualties. He does not eliminate it, however.

“It is important that we assess the results of US military operations, including the unintended effects on civilians,” Tata said. “It helps us understand the results of our operations, recognize when our operations result in civilian casualties, and learn from our experiences to reduce the likelihood of future civilian damage to our operations.” “

While members of the public may not always be aware of this webpage, may not have access to the internet, or may not be able to read its content in English, Hammond said it was not as one of the means available to the Defense Ministry to receive or collect information on civilian casualties, and the Ministry will consider whether additional options are needed.

“We often hear how difficult it is [for] those interested in knowing who to contact within the Defense Department to provide information on civilian casualties, ”Hammond said. “On this web page, we make this information readily available to the public by providing appropriate email and postal addresses that people can use to submit information to the appropriate combatant command. The United States has long been transparent about civilian casualties, and additional steps like this webpage are important as we reflect on what more we can do. “

No other country goes this far to avoid civilian casualties, defense officials said. Close allies operating with the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are taking note of American efforts in this area.

The web page is just the start. The Ministry of Defense is in the process of developing a comprehensive ministry-wide policy on mitigating and responding to damage to civilians. It will be the first of its kind, Hammond said.

The website is available at: https://policy.defense.gov/OUSDP-Offices/Reporting-Civilian-Casualties/.


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