Collateral Damage in
 
Combat Operations

A Teleforum Sponsored by the International & National Security Law Practice Group

 

Featuring Professor Gregory S. McNeal*
Pepperdine University School of Law
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

at 3:00 p.m. (EST)

888-752-3232

 

No registration is necessary.

 

To participate in this practice group Teleforum, please dial 888-752-3232 on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. (EST) via telephone.
Professor Gregory McNeal will discuss how the U.S. military implements its International Humanitarian Law obligation to mitigate and prevent harm to civilians during combat operations. He will describe the process the U.S. military follows to estimate and mitigate the impact of conventional weapons on collateral persons and objects in most pre-planned military operations involving air-to-surface weapons and artillery. In recent years, an entire body of academic literature and policy commentary has been based on an incomplete understanding of how the U.S. conducts military operations. The literature is incomplete because U.S. practices are shrouded in secrecy and largely inaccessible. As a result commentators have lacked a descriptive foundation to analyze and critique U.S. operations. Their writings have focused on easily describable issues such as whether a target was a lawful military objective, and then typically shift attention to the question of proportionality balancing and collateral damage.  These commentators skip an important aspect of actual practice – the scientifically grounded mitigation steps followed by U.S. armed forces. Those mitigation steps are designed to ensure a less than 10% probability of collateral damage resulting from any pre-planned operation.

You can read Professor McNeal’s recent paper on this topic by clicking here.

For more on this issue, see my article Kill-Lists and Accountability.

Comments are closed.