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NATO Increasing Effort to Spare Civilians in Airstrikes

Over the past two weeks, 13 NATO nations teamed up with the Air National Guard and Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin to conduct an international exercise designed to increase target accuracy among member nations serving in Afghanistan, thereby reducing errant strikes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

Exercise Ramstein Rover 2010, which concludes today, provided training to more than 40 joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs, also referred to as forward air controllers by NATO) who will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The JTAC's mission is to provide air-to-ground integration and coordinate close air support for coalition ground troops. They communicate with pilots in the air and commanders on the ground. Col. Robert Redanz, Ramstein Rover exercise director from Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein, said all of the JATCs will deploy to Afghanistan in the next year - some in a few weeks - and he expressed NATO's desire to minimize the negative impact of combat in Afghanistan.


"One of our overarching priorities is to minimize civilian casualties," Redanz told the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. "We're trying to make sure when we hit that target, it's not women and children. We go to extreme lengths to make sure that doesn't happen. This training has been phenomenal."