Ensuring respect and targeting
Modern military operations are invariably conducted in a coalition or in a multi-force composition. This requires alignment of, inter alia, military capabilities, command and control, planning and operational execution. It also requires that military partners ensure effective legal interoperability. There will often be treaties that are applicable to some partners and not others, specific legal interpretations that don’t always align and also policy directions that set different criteria for the conduct of military operations, especially in the context of targeting. As outlined in this chapter, there is a tremendous amount of operational procedure that underpins targeting operations. It is a critical operational requirement that coalition military partners in the targeting process accommodate and to a large extent harmonise targeting procedures and priorities. Within this very practiced environment, the ensuring respect obligation finds de facto expression. It would be wrong to conclude that legal interoperability and the ensure respect obligation are the same thing because they are not. However, there may be an alignment in the realisation of target allocation and operational policy restraint that practically delivers the type of outcomes advanced by the ensuring respect arguments that are often mounted. This chapter will survey the social and policy influences that underpin targeting decisions. It will conclude that the operational imperatives of targeting alignment and effective legal interoperability can largely realise the goals underpinning the ensure respect obligation.