Combat is confusing, complex, and deadly. Friendly fire casualties can probably never be eliminated, but several measures can reduce them. Application of new and existing technology can make identification of friendly forces on the battlefield more reliable; improved communication can reduce confusion on the battlefield; and better training can help military personnel make crucial, rapid decisions under the extreme stress of combat. Congress faces several decisions related to reducing friendly fire. These include: the choice of best technical approaches to pursue; the allocation of resources between systems that are devoted exclusively to reducing friendly fire and other systems-for example, better navigation and communication devices--that may reduce friendly fire in indirect and less visible ways; the best mix of near-term deployments and longer term research and development; and the need for cooperation and coordination among the military Services and with allies.
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, http://www.wws.princeton.edu/~ota