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Defense Department Updates Law of War Manual; Jennifer O’Connor Comments

The Defense Department has updated the Law of War Manual in an effort to refresh the principle of proportionality discussion and also revamp other parts of the guide.

DoD said Tuesday the manual instructs DoD personnel on how to implement the laws of war and perform military operations and the new update marks the second since the department issued the guide in June 2015.

“Protecting civilians in armed conflict is critical, and it’s important that our legal guidance is clear and practical,” said Jennifer O’Connor, DoD general counsel.

Proportionality calls for military to discriminate the weapons to use and forces to deploy during conflict to avoid civilian casualties.

The updated manual requires DoD personnel to provide warnings, assess potential civilian casualties and examine weapons to use.

DoD consulted with the public through forums conducted over the past few months to gather idea for improvements on the manual with focus on proportionality.

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