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Pentagon Releases Action Plan to Mitigate, Respond to Civilian Harm

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The Department of Defense has released a new action plan outlining a series of efforts aimed at mitigating civilian harm during future combat operations and exercises.

Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, directed the development of the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan to enhance the Pentagon’s approach to considering, assessing and responding to civilian harm resulting from military operations, DOD reported Thursday.

In a memorandum issued in January, Austin also ordered the establishment of a Civilian Protection Center of Excellence to institutionalize the advancement of knowledge and tools designed to prevent civilian casualties during combat.

The CoE is expected to achieve full operational capability by fiscal year 2025.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said DOD will work to incorporate civilian harm mitigation into military education, training and exercises as part of the action plan’s implementation.

“We envision the Civilian Protection Center of Excellence actually leading much of that and ensuring that this type of curriculum and these types of lessons learned are built into the education process of our military officers and civilians,” Ryder said.

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