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In fulfillment of President Trump’s directive from the 2018 Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense stood up the Targeting Working Group (TWG) in June 2019 to facilitate ally and partner efforts to reduce the risk of partner nation or coalition operations causing civilian harm. In November 2019 this resulted in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)’s Targeting Infrastructure Policy. 

The TWG is a joint, interagency effort led by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and DSCA to ensure appropriate targeting infrastructure capabilities for certain munitions, notably precision-guided munitions (PGMs), are accounted for whenever such munitions are sold or transferred via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or other U.S. government security cooperation activities. The U.S. government will identify the appropriate targeting infrastructure for each sale and require a U.S. targeting solution including software, data, and training if the partner does not have these capabilities. The TWG further supports our longstanding policy that partners receive not just munitions, but a full defense capability via our Total Package Approach, including the training required to employ them consistent with intended military use and applicable international law.

Advanced Target Development (ATD) capabilities are required for U.S.-origin air-to-surface munitions of 105mm and greater, indirect fire surface-to-surface munitions, and their delivery systems to enable their responsible and effective employment. These include:

  • Target Coordinate Mensuration (TCM): TCM provides the ability to generate geographic points at the level of precision and accuracy necessary for the effective use of a coordinate-seeking weapon. TCM refers to the measurement of a feature or location to determine an absolute latitude, longitude, and elevation of a target. The U.S. Government strongly recommends against allies and partners employing coordinate-seeking weapons without a tool to generate a mensurated point.
  • Weaponeering: Weaponeering provides the ability to predict the type and quantity of a particular type of weapon required to achieve a specific level of target damage by considering the effects of target vulnerability, warhead damage mechanisms, delivery errors, damage criteria, and weapon reliability. Accurate weaponeering results in more effective munitions employment, reduces the number of weapons required, and minimizes unnecessary collateral damage. It requires specialized software, training, and detailed data on weapons effects and target vulnerabilities. The U.S. Government recommends allies and partners conduct weaponeering analysis prior to employment of their U.S. origin munitions.
  • Collateral Damage Estimation (CDE): CDE provides the ability to estimate the potential for collateral damage resulting from target engagement and informs targeting decision-making. CDE mitigates but does not remove the risk of unforeseen or unnecessary collateral damage. It relies on weapons, target, engineering, and population data, and is best conducted with specialized software prior to mission execution. The U.S. Government recommends allies and partners conduct CDE analysis prior to the employment of their U.S. origin munitions.

Accurate mensuration, weaponeering, and collateral damage estimation capabilities better enable allies and partners to hit their intended targets accurately, achieve the precise effects intended, and do so with the ability to estimate collateral effects in advance and modify their engagements accordingly to mitigate those effects. To accomplish this, the U.S. Government recommends allies and partners employ specialized software and U.S. government provided data and training. The solution for partners with coordinate-seeking munitions should include a TCM, weaponeering, and CDE capability. The solution for partners without coordinate-seeking munitions will only include a weaponeering and CDE capability. The default software solution the U.S. government provides is called the Digital Imagery Exploitation Engine suite. This approach provides a comprehensive software, data, and training solution.

Since establishing the Targeting Infrastructure Policy, the U.S. government has required all new Foreign Military Sales or transfers of U.S.-origin munitions or delivery systems in the scope described above include an ATD capability, unless the partner already has a sufficient capability. DSCA, with strong State Department support, is actively engaging globally with partners who maintain U.S.-origin munitions in their inventory to discuss standalone ATD solutions. Allies and partners who purchase munitions via FMS sales with their national funds will pay for this additional capability themselves. Where required, the U.S. government will notify additional U.S. security assistance funds to help partners address U.S.-origin munitions in their inventories. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both purchased ATD capabilities.

For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM .

U.S. Department of State

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