United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 16. Target Verification
The US Rules of Engagement for the Vietnam War (1971) stated:
All possible means will be employed to limit the risk to the lives and property of friendly forces and civilians. In this respect, a target must be clearly identified as hostile prior to making a decision to place fire on it.
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states:
Those who plan or decide upon an attack must do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and not subject to special protection but are military objectives and that it is permissible to attack them.
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states: “All reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted.”
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states that “all reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that only military objectives are targeted”.
The Report on US Practice refers to an instance recorded during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s when a possible storage facility for air defence missiles, which would normally have been a high-priority target, was removed from the target list because it was “in a heavily populated area on the edge of Hanoi and the intelligence which indicated that it might be a storage facility was somewhat speculative”.