Defense and National Security – Pentagon Unveils Civilian Damage Mitigation Plan

The Department of Defense released a long-awaited plan on Thursday aimed at reducing civilian casualties caused by US military operations.

We will talk about the plan. Additionally, a federal judge said he would release the affidavit that convinced him to approve a search warrant at former President Trump’s Florida home.

It’s Defense and National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Jordan Williams. A friend sent you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Pentagon presents long-awaited civilian destruction plan

The Pentagon on Thursday released a long-awaited plan to reduce civilian casualties from US military operations and proposed a better way to report and respond to incidents if they occur.

The 36-page Civilian Damage Mitigation and Response Action Plan, approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier this week, orders sweeping changes to military planning, training, doctrine and policy for all future conflicts, said senior Pentagon spokesman Brig. General Patrick Ryder told reporters.

Inside the scheme: The idea is to install people at all operational levels “who are trained to understand civilian damage, aspects of civilian damage mitigation and operational planning,” at the start of any mission, Ryder said.

The Army Center of Excellence will serve as a hub “that will provide expertise to a centralized location, but then be dispersed throughout the Department of Defense,” to include approximately 150+ people who will have special training on the question, he added.

What’s not in the plan? The plan notably does not include any direction or modification as to the punishment if one or more persons inaccurately or inappropriately orders a strike that kills civilians.

The Pentagon did not punish anyone linked to the Kabul strike because it found that those involved followed the correct procedures.

Where does the problem come from : The document comes nearly a year after a failed August 29, 2021 attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed 10 people, including seven children, sparking public outcry and scrutiny of US drone strikes.

  • The deadly blunder, coupled with a November New York Times investigation detailing a US airstrike that killed 70 civilians, prompted Austin in January to order the Department of Defense to come up with a mitigation ‘action plan’ civilian damage.
  • The New York Times reported allegations that senior officers and civilian officials tried to hide the victims of the drone attack.

A “moral imperative:” In a memo included in the plan, Austin said protecting civilians is both a “strategic priority” and a “moral imperative.”

“We will ensure that we are well prepared to prevent, mitigate and respond to civilian harm in current and future conflicts,” Austin wrote, calling the changes “both ambitious and necessary.”

Read the full story here.

Judge to release redacted FBI Mar-a-Lago affidavit

A federal judge said Thursday he would release a redacted version of the affidavit that convinced him to approve a search warrant at former President Trump’s Florida home.

The Justice Department was ordered to file a public version of its redacted document by noon Friday.

Good reason to redact: Judge Bruce Reinhart’s decision comes after he ordered the Justice Department to offer redactions to a document that they say if fully released would jeopardize their ongoing investigation.

“I find the government has discharged its burden of showing compelling reason/good cause to seal portions of the affidavit,” Reinhart wrote, noting that it could reveal both the identities of the witnesses , law enforcement officers and unindicted parties as well as the strategy, direction, scope of the investigation.

“The cheapest alternative:” Reinhart’s Thursday decision offers little information about what the public can take away from the release, but he ultimately decided it was “the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit.”

What we already know: The Justice Department previously unsealed parts of the warrant related to the Mar-a-Lago search earlier this month, said the government had seized 11 different sets of classified documents, along with other information about Trump’s decision to pardon his ally Roger Stone.

The warrant also said that Trump was under investigation for a possible violation of the Espionage Act, as well as two other laws: one that prohibits the concealment, removal and mutilation of government documents, and a another that prohibits similar actions when done “with the intent to prevent, hinder or influence [an] investigation.”

Read the story here.

Biden, Zelensky discuss concerns over nuclear power plant

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed a new $3 billion security assistance package for Ukraine on Thursday, and the two leaders also demanded that Russia relinquish control of the nuclear plant of Zaporizhzhya, according to the White House.

Who controls the plant? Russia has controlled the Zaporizhzhya plant since the start of the war. But fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has intensified around the nuclear power plant, raising concerns about the possibility of a disastrous accident.

  • The plant, which is the largest in Europe, was temporarily disconnected from the power grid on Thursday following fires that broke out around lines connecting it to the grid.
  • International IAEA inspectors seek access to the factory.

‘Make full control:’ Biden “congratulated Ukraine on its Independence Day and expressed his admiration for the people of Ukraine, who have inspired the world by defending their country’s sovereignty over the past six months,” according to a reading from the phone call from the White House.

“The two leaders also called on Russia to return full control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to Ukraine and for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to the plant,” the report said. .

What else was discussed? In a tweet, Zelensky said he thanked Biden on Thursday for the United States’ “unwavering” security and financial support for Ukraine amid the Russian war, which surpassed the six-month mark on Wednesday. He did not specifically mention the Zaporizhzhya plant.

“We discussed Ukraine’s next steps on our path to victory over the aggressor and the importance of holding Russia accountable for war crimes,” Zelensky said.

Read the story here.

US forces hit militants affiliated with Iran

US forces struck Iran-affiliated militants after rocket attacks on bases in northeastern Syria left three US soldiers injured, the military said Thursday.

In a statement, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said US forces struck the militants with AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, AC-130 gunships and M777 artillery following an attack. attacks on the Conoco Mission Support Site and the Green Village Mission Support Site.

Four “enemy combatants” were killed and seven enemy rocket launchers were destroyed, the statement added.

“We will respond appropriately and proportionately to attacks on our military,” the CENTCOM commander said. Michael Kurilla said.

“No group will strike our troops with impunity. We will take all necessary measures to defend our people,” he continued.

Learn more here.


  • The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion on “The U.S. Marine Corps, National Defense Strategy, and the Future of Expeditionary Warfare” at 10 a.m.
  • The National Press Club will organize a an event on “One Year Since the Fall of Kabul: A Conversation on Press Freedom in Afghanistan” at 11 a.m.
  • The American Society of International Law will organize a discussion on “The right to privacy during armed conflict” at 12 p.m.


That’s all for today! Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. Until tomorrow!


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