Decision tree for soldiers could reduce civilian deaths | Science News



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Decision tree for soldiers could reduce civilian deaths

Three questions help sort hostile from safe vehicles, study finds

12:30pm, August 10, 2015
soldiers at checkpoints

FRIEND OR FOE  A simple, three-part decision formula shows promise as a tool for soldiers at checkpoints, such as these U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, to distinguish hostile from nonhostile vehicles, thus reducing civilian casualties.

Soldiers armed with three simple questions gain a lifesaving edge in distinguishing friends from suicide attackers, a new study finds.

This new decision-making formula can potentially reduce the number of civilians killed or injured while driving toward military checkpoints, convoys and ground patrols, say psychologists Niklas Keller of Charité University Hospital and Konstantinos Katsikopoulos of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, both in Berlin.

The researchers analyzed 1,053 encounters between NATO soldiers and nonhostile vehicles in Afghanistan from 2004 through 2009. The new decision-making approach would have reduced civilian casualties in those incidences from 204 to 78, the researchers conclude July 15 in the European Journal of Operational

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