Sign up FAST! Login

U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for use of force in CT

Stashed in: Weapons!, Drones

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Standards for the Use of Lethal ForceAny decision to use force abroad – even when our adversaries are terrorists dedicated to killing American citizens – is a significant one.  Lethal force will not be proposed or pursued as punishment or as a substitute for prosecuting a terrorist suspect in a civilian court or a military commission.  Lethal force will be used only to prevent or stop attacks against U.S. persons, and even then, only when capture is not feasible and no other reasonable alternatives exist to address the threat effectively.  In particular, lethal force will be used outside areas of active hostilities only when the following preconditions are met: 

First, there must be a legal basis for using lethal force, whether it is against a senior operational leader of a terrorist organization or the forces that organization is using or intends to use to conduct terrorist attacks. 

Second, the United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.  It is simply not the case that all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.  

Third, the following criteria must be met before lethal action may be taken:

  1. Near certainty that the terrorist target is present;

  2. Near certainty that non-combatants[1] will not be injured or killed;

  3. An assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;

  4. An assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S. persons; and

  5. An assessment that no other reasonable alternatives exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.

Finally, whenever the United States uses force in foreign territories, international legal principles, including respect for sovereignty and the law of armed conflict, impose important constraints on the ability of the United States to act unilaterally – and on the way in which the United States can use force. The United States respects national sovereignty and international law.

At least we finally have rules.

You May Also Like: