United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 8. Definition of Military Objectives
Section D. Weapons and weapon systems
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) considers that an adversary’s “armament, such as military aircraft, tanks, antiaircraft emplacements … are military objectives beyond any dispute”.
The US Naval Handbook (1995) specifies that “proper targets for naval attack include such military objectives as enemy warships and military aircraft, naval and military auxiliaries, … military vehicles, armor, artillery, ammunition stores”.
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “Proper objects of attack include, but are not limited to, such military objectives as enemy warships and military aircraft, naval and military auxiliaries … military vehicles, armor, artillery, [and] ammunition stores”.
In 1966, in the context of the Vietnam War, the US Department of Defense stated that military targets “also include those anti-aircraft and SAM sites which endanger the lives of American pilots … In the specific case of Nam Dinh and Phu Li, targets have been limited to … air defense sites.”
In 1991, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on operations in the Gulf War, the United States stated that military targets included “Iraqi biological and chemical warfare facilities, mobile and fixed surface-to-surface missile sites … and the air defense networks that protect these facilities” as well as “Iraqi artillery positions”.
In another such report, the United States stated that “surface-to-surface missile capabilities remain as high priority targets”.
In the same report, the United States stated that “the naval forces of the United States have also engaged Iraqi patrol and mine-laying craft in the Northern Arabian Gulf”.
In a subsequent report, the United States stated that allied attacks had targeted “air defence, combat aircraft in the air and on the ground, nuclear, biological and chemical storage facilities”, as well as “air defence radars and missiles in Kuwait” and “surface-to-surface missile capabilities”.
In the same report, the United States reiterated that “the naval forces of the United States and the allied coalition have continued to engage Iraqi patrol and mine-laying craft in the Northern Arabian Gulf”.
In 1991, during a news briefing concerning the Gulf War, the US Secretary of Defense stated that “air defence units and radars”, “SCUD missile launchers” and “the factories where Iraq has produced chemical and biological weapons, and until recently, continued working on nuclear weapons” were considered military targets and had been attacked.
In 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defense stated that Iraq’s strategic integrated air defense system, its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons research, production and storage facilities and its Scud missiles, launchers, and production and storage facilities had been included among the 12 target sets for the coalition’s attacks.