Press Release

Welch Statement on the Pentagon’s New Policy to Reduce Civilian Harm in Military Operations

Jan 10, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today issued the following statement on recently released Department of Defense Instruction on Civilian Harm and Mitigation Response: 

“The Pentagon’s new policy to limit and mitigate civilian harm is long overdue. Most importantly, the policy will help bring additional accountability and closure for the families of innocent people killed or injured because of our military operations. Protecting innocent life also advances our humanitarian and national security interests, and is consistent with longstanding international laws of armed conflict. 

“In modern wars, civilians suffer a majority of the casualties. The human catastrophes occurring in Gaza and Ukraine are the latest examples, but it was also true in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and World War II.  

“It’s time for the Department of State to follow the Pentagon’s lead and apply similar standards to its aid for foreign security forces. During this dangerous time, the U.S. must have a clear and consistent approach to reducing civilian harm–our strategic foreign policy goals depend on it.”