President Trump Revokes Reporting Requirement on Lethal Strikes
Washington, D.C.—In response to President Trump’s revocation of an important reporting requirement on lethal strikes today, Human Right First’s Rita Siemion issued the following statement:
The Trump Administration’s action is an unnecessary and dangerous step backwards on transparency and accountability for the use of lethal force, and the civilian casualties they cause. At a time when both Congress and the Department of Defense are stepping up efforts to reduce and respond to civilian casualties, today’s decision is especially damaging. Existing reporting requirements enacted by Congress do not cover critical information that was previously reported under the provision revoked by the president. Confidence in U.S. operations depends on transparency regarding the scope of lethal strikes being conducted outside areas of active hostilities as well as the costs to civilians caused by such strikes. President Trump’s actions today undermine that confidence.
The revoked provision in Executive Order 13732 on civilian casualties required an annual report on the total number of strikes by all United States government entities, not just the military, outside areas of active hostilities as well as the number of civilian and combatant deaths caused by those strikes. Congressionally-mandated reporting is limited to the assessed number of civilian casualties resulting from military operations.