By: Dan Mahanty and Rita Siemion
Late on Friday night, the Pentagon submitted to Congress and publicly released a 17-page report required under the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) describing the department’s development and implementation of a new, comprehensive policy on civilian casualties. Under Section 936 of the NDAA, the administration was also required to appoint a senior civilian official for civilian casualties policy (recently announced as Deputy Under Secretary David Trachtenberg). The Pentagon submitted the 936 Report fresh on the heels of news that the Department had spent much of 2018 conducting a limited-scope study of its civilian casualties policy (the contents of which we analyzed previously at Just Security). Friday’s 936 Report was not only submitted on time but also provided detailed insights into several promising developments underway to meet Section 936 requirements. This article provides a quick review of what is required under Section 936, and some of the highlights from the Pentagon’s update to Congress.