Changing the Rules of Engagement

The coalition targeting ISIS has changed its rules of engagement for strikes with possible civilian casualties, giving theater commanders more decision-making power. The coalition made an “incremental” move away from the original authority, which required the commander of US Central Command to decide the acceptable level of risk for a strike that could result in civilian casualties, coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said during a Wednesday briefing. Now, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve or his deputy can make the call, Warren said. “We take extraordinary precautions to avoid civilian casualties, applying rigorous standards in our targeting processes, from a comprehensive analysis of all available intelligence, to a careful selection of precision-guided weapons,” Defense Department spokesman Navy. Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. “Those standards have not changed. Delegating authorities for targeting makes us faster and more agile, but it does not change this fundamental fact.” (See also Don’t Hold Back Airpower and Carter: US “Prepared” to Change ROE in Syria.)