Pentagon Chief Claims He Will Reduce Rising Civilian Casualties

Aims to address growing number of civilians US forces are killing

The Pentagon reports that Defense Secretary Mark Esper is in the process of spearheading a “major new policy” focused on cutting the number of civilians the US military and US-armed allies are killing.

There are said to be concerns about the growing number of civilians killed in US drone strikes and airstrikes, as well as the number of civilians killed by other countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, with ever-growing supplies of US arms.

That said, the Pentagon is only saying changes would come “where possible,” and that a lot of the effort might end up with the Pentagon trying to “be transparent when civilian casualties do occur.”

Ultimately this suggests that there aren’t big changes coming as initially branded. Any changes would be done only where convenient, and honestly after decades of war any efforts to reduce civilian deaths have been unsuccessful, or short-lived. The priority “where possible” is almost always the status quo.

Promises of more transparency are also difficult to take credibly, as that is certainly not the direction that the Trump Administration has been going with military policy, and especially not with informing the American public about unpopular matters.

In fact, data that was once offered as a matter of course, like troop levels, have become heavily classified for the sake of avoiding public oversight.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.