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Pentagon review calls for changes to how US investigates, reports civilian war casualties

Counting and estimating civilian casualties is an important process in U.S. military operations and in international relations, as these estimates form an important aspect of military planning and can be the basis of major international outrage. Estimates between the U.S., other governments, and various NGOs often differ widely, leading to wide variances in interpretations of identical events. Covering this topic, a new report compiled by the National Defense University with input from the military, think tanks, and NGOs calls for several changes to be made in existing practices and policies. First, it supports expanded declassification of investigations, when possible. It also urges for increased investment in tools to develop ground forces’ situation awareness as it pertains to civilian casualties, and argues for a standardization on the monitoring, addressing, and punishing of wrongdoing related to civilian casualties. One leading issue with civilian casualties is U.S. partnership and equipment of coalition allies who are not as risk-averse to civilian casualties. The report addresses this issue as well by calling for improved awareness and oversight tools. The report also calls for adjustments to be made, “informed by host nation customs, laws and norms that account for the particularities of each [Area of Operation].” 

Source: Pentagon review calls for changes to how US investigates, reports civilian war casualties

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