The concept of "military advantage" is an underexplored, but essential aspect of the humanitarian law governing targeting. The precise meaning of military advantage has proven difficult to articulate, although in general terms it has a particular resonance with "military necessity". The analysis of military advantage has often centered on two almost polar opposite interpretations : one focused on tactical gains, and the other more strategically on "the advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole and not from isolated or particular parts of the attack." Considered together these two approaches only begin to scratch the surface of the complexity of the issue. Separately, they appear to significantly under-represent the challenge facing practitioners, legal analysts and courts when dealing with targeting issues arising from complex contemporary security operations. Practical considerations of military advantage are often masked by the use of terms such as "high-value target", and assessing the "effects" of an attack to achieve a particular objective. The focus of this article is on adding "flesh" to the textual "bones" provided under Additional Protocol I.
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