After the Pentagon chief moved to improve how the U.S. mitigates and responds to civilian harm, the ACLU on Thursday urged more sweeping action in light of recent tragedies, including an August drone strike that killed 10 people in Afghanistan.\r\n\r\n\u0022While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it\u0026#039;s unclear that this directive will be enough.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it\u0026#039;s unclear that this directive will be enough,\u0022\u0026nbsp;Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU\u0026#039;s National Security Project, said in a statement.\r\n\r\nAccording to Shamsi, \u0022What\u0026#039;s needed is a truly systemic overhaul of our country\u0026#039;s civilian harm policies to address the massive structural flaws, likely violations of international law, and probable war crimes that have occurred in the last 20 years.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Any comprehensive review also needs to address and end unlawful and unaccountable lethal strikes even outside of war zones,\u0022 she added. \u0022Actions will speak louder than words, and we need urgent action to end 20 years of war-based approaches that have caused devastating harm to Muslim, Brown, and Black civilians around the world.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnnie Shiel, a senior adviser for the Center for Civilians in Conflict, was similarly cautious while welcoming that the Department of Defense (DoD) is focusing on the issue.\r\n\r\n\u0022The fact that civilian harm is being recognized as a priority at the highest levels of the department is a positive and welcome step,\u0022 Shiel told The New York Times. \u0022But the impact will depend entirely on results.\u0022\r\n\r\nU.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on Thursday issued a memorandum ordering top civilian and military officials to craft a Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan within 90 days.\r\n\r\nAustin\u0026#039;s memo calls for the plan to enable the DoD to:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tEstablish a civilian protection center of excellence to better expedite and institutionalize the advancement of our knowledge, practices, and tools for preventing, mitigating, and responding to civilian harm;\r\n\tDevelop more standardized civilian-harm operational reporting and data management processes to improve how we collect, share, and learn from data related to civilian harm;\r\n\tReview guidance and its associated implementation of how the department responds to civilian harm, including, but not limited to, condolence payments and the public acknowledgment of harm; and\r\n\tIncorporate guidance for addressing civilian harm across the full spectrum of armed conflict into doctrine and operational plans, so that we are prepared to mitigate and respond to civilian harm in any future fight.\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022We strive diligently to minimize the harm that armed conflict visits upon civilian populations, but we can and will improve upon efforts to protect civilians,\u0022 the memo states, describing such efforts as \u0022vital to the ultimate success of our operations\u0022 as well as \u0022a significant strategic and moral imperative.\u0022\r\n\r\nDuring the final days of the two-decade war in Afghanistan last year, the Biden administration conducted a drone strike that killed 10 people, seven of them children. While initially described by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley as a \u0022righteous strike,\u0022 the Pentagon later admitted it was \u0022horrible mistake,\u0022 prompting swift backlash.\r\n\r\n\u0022That was not a \u0026#039;mistake,\u0026#039;\u0022 journalist Anand Giridharadas said in September. \u0022War crimes are not oopsies.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe following month, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby announced that the United States would issue \u0022condolence payments\u0022 to relatives of 10 Afghans killed. In December, Kirby signaled that none of the U.S. military personnel involved in the attack would be punished.