The US Department of Defense (DOD) Thursday announced a new Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMR-AP). The plan lays out a number of massive changes across the DoD that are intended to mitigate and respond to civilian harm by shifting the fundamental culture of the DoD to be more aware of the risks posed to civilians.
The plan is being implemented under the orders of the Secretary of Defense and strives to create “new institutions and processes that will improve strategic outcomes, optimize military operations, and strengthen DoD’s ability to mitigate civilian harm during operations through a reinforcing framework.” Specifically, it will facilitate “continued learning throughout DoD, enhance DoD’s approach to assessments and investigations, and improve DoD’s ability to effectively respond when civilian harm occurs.” Ultimately, DOD hopes the collective actions set forth by the plan will build together to increase “accountability and transparency” surrounding civilian harm.
The plan is intended to shift the culture of the US military from one where civilian casualties are a secondary concern toward a culture where awareness of any potential collateral damage is a primary concern in all US operations. The DOD announced that it will begin implementing the new changes immediately. Most actions set forth in the plan will be taken now, and others will require additional time to be properly deployed.