In July 2022, a Department of Defense (DoD) review team is expected to submit the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMRAP) to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as mandated by a memo the Secretary issued on January 27, 2022.
The memo—which followed concerning media reports and civil society demands for an urgent overhaul of U.S. civilian harm policies—directed the CHMRAP to provide for the establishment of a center of excellence on civilian harm mitigation and response; the development of standardized processes for collecting and learning from data related to civilian harm; improvements in how the Department responds to civilian harm—including through condolence payments and public acknowledgment—and the incorporation of guidance for addressing civilian harm in future doctrine and operational plans.
To inform the CHMRAP, humanitarian, human rights, and civilian protection organizations provided a series of concrete recommendations to the review team. The undersigned organizations expect the DoD to use this opportunity to finally overhaul U.S. protection of civilians policies and address the longstanding, systemic concerns raised by civil society groups over the last two decades. Details of civil society recommendations for the CHMRAP can be found here.
The CHMRAP is also intended to inform the completion of the long-awaited DoD Instruction on Minimizing and Responding to Civilian Harm in Military Operations (DoD-I), which is required to be presented to the U.S. Secretary of Defense within 90 days of the CHMRAP’s completion. Civil society expectations for the DoD-I can be found here.