Joint Urban Operations
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5 November 04
Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................................................................................... 1
Section 1 – INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE ............................................................................. 4
1.A Introduction. ....................................................................................................................4
Section 2 – DESCRIPTION OF THE MILITARY PROBLEM .............................................. 9
2.A The Urban Operational Environment. .........................................................................9
2.B Operational Art for Urban Operations.......................................................................17
Section 3 – CONCEPT FOR JOINT URBAN OPERATIONS .............................................. 21
3.A Synopsis of the Central Idea. .......................................................................................21
3.B Setting the Conditions for Success in Joint Urban Operations. ...............................22
3.C How the Joint Force Operates in the Urban Environment. ......................................31
Section 4 – CAPABILITIES ...................................................................................................... 57
4.A Command and Control Capabilities ...........................................................................57
4.B Battlespace Awareness Capabilities ............................................................................58
4.C Force Application Capabilities ....................................................................................59
4.D Focused Logistics Capabilities .....................................................................................60
4.E Protection Capabilities .................................................................................................61
4.F Immediate Actions. .......................................................................................................61
4.G. Joint Urban Operations Capability Mapping to Joint Operations Concepts Core
CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................................... 65
1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
2 Operations in the urban environment can no longer be considered an ―elective‖
3 competency of the joint force. Our adversaries have already recognized the potential of
4 using the urban battlespace to mitigate our overwhelming military advantages. The US
5 must move quickly and aggressively to develop the capabilities necessary to establish
6 dominance in this environment as we have in others, deter the enemy from operating
7 there, and defeat him decisively when deterrence fails.
8 In major operations since World War II, the United States military has preferred to
9 bypass major urban areas to avoid the type of high intensity, close combat expected there.
10 The explosive growth of the world’s major urban centers, changes in enemy strategies,
11 and the Global War on Terrorism, however, have made the urban battlespace increasingly
12 decisive and virtually unavoidable.
13 The urban environment blunts many of the advantages that US forces enjoy in more
14 open terrain. It strips away our ability to see farther and more clearly, maneuver faster,
15 and engage more precisely than the enemy. Our challenge is to develop new levels of
16 urban military capability not only to win in the urban battlespace, but also to
17 convincingly deter our enemies from even considering fighting in urban terrain.
18 Given the complexity and challenges of operating in an urban environment, the
19 central theme for joint urban operations is: achieving our desired end state by
20 understanding, controlling, and exploiting the unique elements of the urban
21 environment (e.g., terrain, infrastructure, population, and information); sensing,
22 locating, isolating, and defeating the adversary; controlling the pace and tempo of
23 operations; and applying power precisely and discriminately. Power includes the
24 coherent application of sequential and simultaneous, military and nonmilitary, kinetic and
25 nonkinetic means to achieve lethal and nonlethal effects.
26 Success in joint urban operations requires several conditions. First, it requires a
27 holistic understanding of the complexity of the urban environment, including the enemy,
28 friendly forces and the people, systems, and infrastructure that comprise the modern city.
29 Second, success requires deliberate efforts to shape information and operational
30 environments to set the right conditions for rapid and precise action. Third, distributed
31 effects-based operations require as current and precise knowledge as is possible and
32 focused precision capabilities to destroy or capture critical nodes which underpin the
33 coherence of the enemy force. By continuously consolidating our gains, we are able to
34 apply increasing pressure on the enemy. Rapid and simultaneous planning and
35 synchronized execution of combat and security, transition and reconstruction operations
36 (STRO) allows the force to prepare for subsequent missions. Ultimately, success is
37 measured by how well the actions taken decisively support resolution of the underlying
38 causes of the confrontation.
39 Setting the conditions for success requires action well before the start of operations.
40 Operating in an urban environment requires the development of qualified and confident
41 joint leaders who are agile in intellect, have a broad holistic understanding of the
42 battlespace and are well versed in the urban environment. These individuals must then
43 reside within organizations possessing appropriate procedures and structures to think, act,
44 and adapt as demanded by the urban environment. Preparing people and units for this
45 kind of high intensity operations requires effective, realistic, and tough training. Lastly,
46 the challenges of the urban environment require development of the right joint force
48 Eight principles guide the planning, preparation, deployment, employment, and
49 sustainment for urban operations:
51 1. Understand the complex urban environment.
52 2. See first, see clearly, and see in depth.
53 3. Control the urban environment.
54 4. Identify and isolate the adversary.
55 5. Take the initiative and control the tempo of operations
56 6. Engage the adversary comprehensively.
57 7. Ensure every action contributes to achieving the desired end state.
58 8. Balance restraint and overmatching power.
60 The Joint Urban Operations Concept rests upon the following assumptions:
62 Assumption 1: The technologies will be available to maintain a networked environment,
63 provide automated information superiority capabilities, and provide early identification of
64 our adversary’s probable intentions.
65 Assumption 2: Future adversaries will attempt to mitigate our advantages in open terrain
66 by conducting their operations within an urban environment.
67 Assumption 3: Service competencies will remain the foundation of joint capabilities.
68 The Services will provide the core competencies, expertise, and warfighting resources
69 that are vital to implementing this concept.
72 Section 1 – INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE
74 1.A Introduction. Urban areas have always been important focal points of conflicts.
75 They are the political, cultural, and economic centers of societies. They contain
76 production and storage facilities, information centers, seaports, airports, ground
77 transportation hubs, access to waterways, etc. The societal concentration around urban
78 centers will increasingly be the case as the world continues to urbanize during the twenty-
79 first century. Since the end of World War II, US operational doctrine has encouraged
80 commanders to avoid being drawn into major urban fights. Instead, the US has attempted
81 to employ the advantages of knowledge, speed, and standoff precision to meet and defeat
82 opponents in open terrain where the US can best bring those advantages to bear.
83 Three major trends are reducing our ability to bypass urban areas and to fight primarily
84 in the open. The first is population growth and the major demographic shifts resulting in
85 significant increases in the number of major urban areas throughout the world. As the
86 size and number of cities increase, the open space between them decreases. Bypassing
87 major urban areas will simply be a physical improbability in future operations.
88 Second, terrorism is on the rise and the urban environment is where terrorists almost
89 exclusively choose to fight. As populations increase and the competition for resources
90 becomes more intense, urban areas become increasingly unstable, serve as breeding
91 grounds for terrorist organizations, and continue to provide the most likely, target-rich
92 battleground for the terrorist.
93 The third trend is the recognition by our enemies in general that the characteristics of
94 the urban environment tend to blunt the military advantage enjoyed by US forces in more
95 open environments. This recognition presents adversaries seeking to offset US power
96 with a perceived opportunity to compete. Our adversaries will learn the lessons of
97 Afghanistan and Iraq, including the one that recognizes the futility of trying to engage
98 American land and air power in a conventional conflict over open terrain. Our future
99 adversaries will seek to minimize our advantages by bringing the conflict into an urban
100 setting where our conventional and technological superiority is weakened or even
101 blunted. They will use cities and our perceived shortcomings to their advantage. We can
102 also expect that relatively inexpensive, high-tech, highly effective capabilities in an urban
103 environment will be available to adversaries who will seek to engage us where those
104 technologies have the greatest advantage.1
105 The challenge facing the US is to leverage existing capabilities and develop a new
106 level of military capabilities, intellectual as well as physical, that enable us to operate at
107 will, exploiting our advantages of knowledge, speed, and precision in the urban
108 environment. A working definition of urban operations is military activity in an area of
109 high population or structural density. This paper presents the conceptual foundation for
110 joint urban operations into the next decade. ―Joint Urban Operations (JUO) are defined
111 as all joint operations planned and conducted across the range of military operations on,
112 or against objectives within, a topographical complex and its adjacent natural terrain,
113 where manmade construction or the density of noncombatants are the dominant
115 This paper outlines the central concept and the principles by which the joint force will
116 operate in complex urban terrain, across the range of military operations. The paper
117 serves as a means for generating and capturing thought and discussion on the methods for
118 conducting joint urban operations in the next decade. The paper also serves to influence
119 Joint and Service transformation. It departs from current doctrine where it no longer
120 serves. It describes methods for employing specific military attributes and capabilities to
121 achieve desired end states in the urban environment. After development,
122 experimentation, assessment and refinement, the concept may lead to doctrinal changes.
123 The concept will provide the basis for force planning only after Joint Requirements
124 Oversight Council (JROC) validation and approval. Doctrine, Organization, Training,
125 Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, and Facilities (DOTMLPF) capability
126 improvement recommendations will then be developed and presented to the JROC for
127 approval and tasking for implementation.3
128 The paper also describes capabilities the joint force must have to successfully execute
129 this concept. The approach taken in this concept retains the time-proven principles of
130 war and applies the emerging principles of the Joint Operations Concepts (JOpsC) of
―The Role of Air and Space Forces in Future Urban Operations‖ White Paper, Air Force Directorate
of Strategic Planning, Future Concepts and Transformation Division (AF/XPXC)
Doctrine for Joint Urban Operations, Joint Pub 3-06, September 2002
Department of Defense ―Joint Operations Concepts‖, November 2003
131 knowledge-enhanced, coherently joint, fully networked, effects-based campaign planning
132 to meet the challenges that the joint force faces in operations in the urban environment.
133 Service and interagency functional concepts will be addressed as appropriate in future
134 versions of this paper. Measures of effectiveness and performance will be developed
135 through joint experimentation and will also be incorporated as appropriate in subsequent
136 versions of the paper.
138 1.B Scope. The principles described in this concept augment those found in Joint
139 concepts for Major Combat and Stability Operations to better guide their application to
140 the urban environment. Joint operations in urban environments are seldom undertaken
141 for their own sake; they are normally required as part of a larger operational context to
142 successfully accomplish the objectives of the overall mission. Joint operations in the
143 urban environment can occur across the range of military operations from major combat
144 operations to security, transition, and reconstruction operations. This integrating concept
145 is designed to assist leaders in understanding the urban environment and employing joint
146 forces in a range of operations described in other joint operating and joint integrating
147 concepts. Table 1 below illustrates the types of missions that might be performed in an
148 urban environment in support of these larger operations.
149 This concept addresses operations in major urban environments with significant
150 populations, developed infrastructure with numerous multistory buildings, complex
151 utility systems, surface and subsurface transportation systems, complex
152 telecommunications systems, and other characteristics too numerous to mention, as well
153 as landmasses comprising thousands of square kilometers.
155 Table 1 – Examples of Types of Urban Missions
Major Combat Operations (MCO) missions in which the urban area itself is central
to the operational objective:
MCO and Stability Operations (SO) missions in which objectives are accomplished
within an urban area:
• Isolate an enemy force
– Defeat those who violently oppose us
– Neutralize, co-opt, or induce others
• Conduct focused offense (e.g., against a facility; includes generation of “effects”
against utilities, information, or mobility) including forceable entry
• Conduct focused defense (e.g., create sanctuary, perform a rescue)
SO missions in which the objective is to protect or assist people in an urban area:
• Defeat total spoilers*
• Establish a secure environment to conduct SO
• Secure and protect critical infrastructure
• Provide humanitarian assistance
• Provide civil support in the United States
* Total spoilers are those who have no stake in reestablishing civil society, are
irreconcilably opposed to the US and multinational position, and are unlikely to
respond favorably to any inducement or socialization programs. Stability
Operations Joint Operating Concept.
158 The scope of the joint urban operations integrating concept must address two cases:
159 Case 1 – The conduct of a military operation, in an urban area, that is part of a larger
160 major combat and/or stability, transition, and reconstruction operation campaign.
161 Case 2 – The conduct of an entire campaign designed against and limited to adversaries
162 operating within a megalopolis.4
163 Success in each case requires integrated, Joint, multiagency and frequently
164 multinational operations—one of which will be military. Armed military operations are
165 often necessary but rarely, if ever, sufficient to achieve the overall strategic aim.
166 Strategic success of urban operations does not rely solely on killing combatants or
167 destroying an enemy’s will to fight. Attainment of political objectives requires the
168 application of all elements of government action in a coherent campaign supported with
169 sophisticated information operations. In urban operations, a state can be defeated by a
170 militarily weaker state or non-state adversaries if the stronger power is ignorant of the
A thickly populated region centering in a large important city or embracing several large important cities.
171 enemy, fails to formulate clear goals, and, perhaps worst of all, pursues military goals
172 that detract from attaining political objectives.
173 This document is limited to Case 1 to outline key principles which must be followed
174 to achieve success in the urban environment. Case 1 involves complex and often
175 dangerous major combat and stability operations, often including counterinsurgency
176 operations that the joint force will have to conduct against determined adversaries. Later
177 versions of this concept will address Case 2 and focus on campaigns against adversaries
178 operating within a megalopolis or urbanized regions.
179 The fundamental operational-level challenge for the joint force operating in the urban
180 environment is that, in most cases, destruction of the environment itself directly
181 contradicts larger strategic objectives. An approach that saves a city, by destroying it, is
182 unacceptable. Instead, we must use knowledge and precision to find the enemy, separate
183 him from the population, successfully generate those effects that break the coherence of
184 his urban operation, and minimize unnecessary or unintended destructive effects on the
185 city’s inhabitants.
187 Section 2 – DESCRIPTION OF THE MILITARY PROBLEM
189 “Today we can win in an urban fight; but with a high price in terms of casualties and
190 infrastructure damage. We do not currently dominate the urban battlespace. Our
191 forces have limited ability to see into it, have limited ability to communicate and
192 move within it, and because of the requirement to limit noncombatant casualties and
193 physical damage, have limited means to shoot into it.”
194 —TRADOC Pamphlet 525-66,
195 US Army Training and Doctrine Command, 2000
197 2.A The Urban Operational Environment. Urban operations have historically been
198 characterized by a slower operational-level tempo, higher casualty rates among both
199 combatants and noncombatants, and extensive collateral damage by the same types of
200 forces conducting operations in non-urban terrain. While turning points in historical
201 campaigns often are defined in terms of large cities—Stalingrad, Manila, Seoul,
202 Mogadishu, Grozny—it is also true that smaller population centers have often played
203 significant roles in day-to-day military operations, such as on the Western Front during
204 World War II.5
205 The devastating experiences of urban warfare during World War II were essentially
206 ignored during the Cold War years. The Cold War focused on national survival through
207 strategic deterrence, and on conventional and potentially nuclear combat on the plains of
208 Central Europe. In the few instances when US forces did have to fight in urban areas,
209 such as during the Tet Offensive in 1968, our forces employed tactics, techniques, and
210 procedures similar to those used during World War II—often with similar results.
211 Recently, US forces have employed remote intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
212 (ISR) and precision engagement capabilities to reduce civilian casualties and collateral
213 damage, as in Belgrade in 1999 or Baghdad during Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi
214 Freedom, instead of wide-area attacks that produced large-scale rubble. Attacks using
Williamson Murray, War and Urban Terrain in the Twenty-First Century, IDA Paper P-3568, Institute for
Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Virginia, November 2000. Williamson Murray, ―Thinking About Cities and
War,‖ Marine Corps Gazette (July 2000): pp. 38–40.
215 firepower alone to destroy key infrastructure and degrade enemy operational capability to
216 affect the enemy leadership’s will and public support produce limited and often
217 counterproductive effects. Attacks that use fires and maneuver forces, and incorporate
218 the capabilities of other elements of government action, widens the type of effects a
219 commander can achieve.
220 Controlling the future urban environment requires an understanding of the complexity
221 of the urban environment. The joint force commander must also understand how some
222 US advantages in open terrain are offset in an urban environment, recognize the
223 advantages available to adversaries, understand specific capabilities that US and coalition
224 forces can exploit, and acknowledge that urban operations are unavoidable in the future.
225 And finally, leaders must understand the reason and purpose for their presence and
226 operations. They must understand how their purpose resonates with the adversary,
227 populace, the US population, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and international
228 community. Understanding these perspectives is the essence of perception management
229 and psychological operations.
231 2.A.1 Complexity of the Urban Environment. The complexity of the urban
232 environment presents difficult and unique challenges that the joint force does not
233 encounter in more open environments. First, the physical terrain is composed of highly
234 developed urban landscape, with urban canyons, vertical terrain, and subsurface
235 maneuver space, as well as shanty structures and complexes associated with slums and
236 impoverished areas. Second, the urban environment includes the systems that make
237 advanced civilization possible. The city is the location of the political, cultural, religious
238 economic, legal, informational, and infrastructure networks by which a society functions.
239 Third, the density and collective thoughts of the urban population vary greatly and are
240 arguably the most important and difficult factors influencing urban operations. Each of
241 these factors makes urban operations difficult, but their collective interconnection makes
242 the urban environment highly complex. Though complex, we can use the interconnected
243 urban environment to our advantage in exploiting certain of our capabilities.
244 The physical environment requires an appreciation of its sheer intricacy. It contains
245 many different three-dimensional structures with interior and sub-surface spaces. Each
246 city presents a unique set of physical conditions based on the terrain upon which it is
247 built. In addition to the figurative urban canyons created by large numbers of multistory
248 buildings, a city can include natural terrain features of hills and valleys, rivers and lakes,
249 wooded areas, and open terrain.
250 Urban environments also include the systems and patterns of activity that characterize
251 the city. Traffic networks, power grids, water systems, food distribution,
252 telecommunications, sewage disposal, etc, are all-important considerations to the
253 population, the enemy, and our own forces. Recognizing changes in system patterns can
254 provide insights into how the enemy is moving and serve to focus priority intelligence
255 requirements and collection. Understanding the points of enemy interactions with these
256 systems can lead to the discovery of key enemy vulnerabilities and position the joint
257 force for effective precision engagement. Mapping these networks may also support the
258 development of a distributed, knowledge-enhanced, effects-based approach to security
259 and transition operations by identifying critical nodes that must be protected to ensure
260 continuous services to the population during and after major combat operations. Urban
261 combat, stability, and humanitarian assistance operations are synchronized, and
262 conducted nearly simultaneously.
263 Determining the intent of each element of the local population is also crucial. The
264 population can choose to flee or remain in the urban areas, and to support or resist the
265 enemy. Human behavior and group dynamics are difficult to understand on a mass scale
266 and even more difficult to control. To do so with people of a different culture under the
267 strains of conflict is a great challenge. Highly trained individuals who understand the
268 culture and the language of the local population are indispensable to commanders at all
269 levels. These cultural factors are critical elements of the urban environment. People,
270 their beliefs, history, culture and interpersonal actions are what make the urban
271 environment different from just being complex terrain. We cannot simply maneuver
272 through the physical terrain. We must ―maneuver‖ through the population, e.g.
273 maneuvering along cultural avenues of approach vice physical, or maneuvering through
274 the systems that support the population. We must also maneuver digitally through
275 cyberspace to attempt to shape the population’s perception with appropriate tools, such as
276 visual images that routinely flood city airwaves.
278 2.A.2 US Advantages in Open Terrain are Offset. Essentially, the complex terrain of
279 the urban environment strips away many advantages that have made us so successful in
280 more open terrain. These include the ability to see first, see clearly, and see in depth as
281 well as our abilities to understand better, maneuver faster, fire more accurately and at
282 standoff distance from our opponents, and all from platforms with superior force
283 protection. Additional advantages are provided by the increasingly networked nature of
284 our forces. Networking facilitates the collaborative information environment, rapid
285 sharing of knowledge, blue force tracking, an integrated joint fires network, and
286 synchronization of all elements of the joint force.
287 Current advantages that allow US forces to see first are affected by urban structures.
288 The physical location of buildings and structures limit the capabilities of laser optics,
289 radar, and frequency modulated (FM) radio transmissions which are purely line of sight
290 systems. Infrared and thermal imagery systems are easily attenuated and the high metal
291 content of many structures interfere with various C4ISR6 electromagnetic systems.
292 Current ground, air and maritime combat systems are optimized to operate in open
293 terrain. However, ground straight-line distances in cities are measured in blocks not
294 kilometers. Sea movement is restricted to adequate estuary regions. Air operations in
295 support of ground units are constrained by limited air maneuver space, aircraft separation
296 requirements, and operational deconfliction requirements. Also, the restrictive nature of
297 the terrain can significantly reduce the size of ground engagement areas and the duration
298 in time that they remain active.
299 US advantages in range of engagement and accuracy of fire are also mitigated by the
300 urban environment where engagement distances are much closer. As a result,
301 inexpensive weapons with shorter ranges and lower accuracy can be brought to bear in
302 the same engagement window as more expensive weapons of greater accuracy and range.
303 This reduced engagement window also allows adversaries to overcome many of our force
304 protection advantages, improving enemy effectiveness and draining US combat power.
305 The factors noted above, that tend to minimize US technological advantage also
306 conspire to slow the pace of operations. In this environment it is critical for commanders
Command and Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaisance.
307 to carefully manage expectations of the joint force, US public, and local population, etc.
308 Commanders must continue to control the tempo of operations even as the "pace" tends
309 to slow. The joint force commander should also be aware that, generally, time will work
310 against our cause. Actions should be taken to minimize the impact of protracted struggle
311 on mission accomplishment
312 At the tactical- and operational-level, force networking is accomplished via line of
313 sight communications for operations in open terrain. As discussed previously, urban
314 structures interfere directly and indirectly with line of sight communications and sensor
315 systems rendering them unreliable at best and in many cases useless. The compressed
316 nature of the urban environment greatly challenges tactical- and operational-level
317 command and control. Multiple activities and engagement operations in a compressed
318 space complicate deconfliction of operations on the ground, below the surface and in the
319 airspace above the joint force.
321 2.A.3 Adversary Advantages. We can anticipate that potential adversaries will use the
322 urban environment to facilitate strategies to extend conflicts beyond the point of US
323 national resolve and will seek to use the urban environment to level the huge disparity
324 between their capabilities and ours. Our inherent superiority in technology across
325 functional capabilities creates a realization by our opponents that it may be advantageous
326 to combat US forces in the urban environment in order to delay conclusive or decisive
327 US actions. This strategy is supported with unconventional or improvised techniques,
328 involving technology of varying sophistication. The urban environment can facilitate
329 intensity levels favoring adversaries and enabling this strategy simply from the effects of
330 the urban domain. As mentioned in the preceding section, the restrictive nature of urban
331 terrain mitigates many of our technological advantages. Further, urban populations
332 clutter the battlefield and provide additional obstacles that our adversaries can use to their
333 advantage. Power projection operations are inherently offensive in nature, and therefore,
334 place most potential adversaries in a defensive posture. Historically, forces on the
335 defensive and, more generally, forces with inferior capabilities in open terrain have
336 sought out the cities, particularly those with sympathetic populations which can provide
337 concealment, logistical support, and a robust intelligence network, 7 in an effort to take
338 the initiative away from traditionally stronger forces.
339 The joint force commander must recognize enemy attempts to integrate into the
340 civilian population and efforts to use the population as a shield against our capabilities.
341 The enemy attempts to leverage existing civilian support systems to sustain his operation.
342 The source of most materiel, and the support base to maintain the adversary’s military
343 capability, is likely to be urban. The joint force must take those actions necessary to
344 isolate the enemy’s combat capabilities from the civilian population.
345 Additionally, adversaries use the physical nature of urban operations in an information
346 campaign to ensure their success. The compressed and complex urban environment
347 provides the enemy with many places to hide and the opportunity to conduct raids and to
348 establish ambushes at the times and places of his choosing. Urban operations are costly
349 to both combatants and noncombatants. Over time, significant numbers of casualties can
350 result from close-quarter, room-to-room engagements, booby traps, and situations
351 requiring difficult, rapid, friend-or-foe decisions. The pace is intense and physical
352 endurance is sharply limited. Supplies are more difficult to deliver and are consumed
353 more rapidly. Administering to casualties can quickly become the focal point of activity.
354 An adaptive adversary can manipulate the urban environment to weaken a coalition or
355 national will in support of a conflict once urban operations have commenced.
357 2.A.4. US Advantages. Despite limitations to ―open terrain‖ capabilities imposed by
358 the urban environment, the US retains distinct advantage in other methods of force
359 application. First and foremost, superior discipline and training prepare our tactical,
360 operational, and strategic forces and leaders to adapt, operate, and apply appropriate force
361 in rapidly changing and complex environments. These attributes, coupled with our
362 ability to pass commander’s intent and rules of engagement (ROE) to the lowest levels,
363 enable our leaders to make and execute sound operational and tactical decisions in a
364 decentralized manner.
A French concept presented at the 2003 NATO Symposium on Concept Development and
Experimentation also proposes that the weaker a defender is in relation to attacking force, the more likely
the defender is to seek complex terrain such as the urban environment as a way of reducing the attacker’s
365 Creative commanders will recognize and use unique aspects of the urban environment
366 to friendly force advantage. The density of the urban population and the flux of daily
367 urban activities can provide flexibility and serve to mask friendly force actions.
368 Adversaries are less likely to notice changes in the routine of our forces when they are
369 dispersed. For example, a force moving along a street can divide and move in three
370 directions at an intersection, puzzling an enemy attempting to determine intent. The
371 force can then use many other routes to rejoin at a designated time and location. In the
372 same way, a high volume of electronic signatures, human and vehicular traffic, and other
373 friendly force activities can be used to mask our intentions or overload the enemy’s
374 analysis capabilities. In another aspect, the density of the population can enable
375 commanders to more rapidly see the effectiveness of friendly force activities, such as
376 creating a diversion in another part of the city to reduce the number of people observing
377 and reacting to mission critical actions. Turning disadvantage to advantage is a signature
378 of the best military artists. This is no less true in urban operations.8
379 Our abilities to gather information, shape the environment, project forces, and change
380 adversary behaviors through information operations are growing. Unmanned aerial
381 vehicles, for example, provided direct and significant impact on the urban battlespace and
382 emerged as key C4ISR assets during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
383 Projected future capabilities to "perch" sensors and blend them into the urban clutter will
384 greatly enhance our ISR stealth and persistence. Specialized forces from all services are
385 experienced and capable of attacking the enemy, changing his behaviors, and disrupting
386 his activities and decision-making process through information operations, to include
387 television and radio broadcasts, electronic attack and computer network attack. Our
388 ability to draw upon forces and support from outside of the immediate urban environment
389 enables sustained operations against technologically inferior forces. In the 2015
390 timeframe, this ability will likely be greatly improved with sea basing capabilities
391 providing the joint force with an offshore location for basing operational forces,
392 command and control, and logistical support. Finally, the joint force’s ability to achieve
393 lethal and nonlethal effects through the precision application of kinetic and nonkinetic
Russell W. Glenn, ―Nuggetizing the Elephant: Managing Complexity During Military Urban Operations‖
Draft Briefing Notes (RAND, January 2003), 35
394 weapons provides flexibility to commanders and is key to limiting collateral damage and
395 civilian casualties, and influencing the populace.
397 2.A.5. Spectrum and Imperatives of Urban Operations. As the world’s population
398 migrates to urban centers, the spectrum of twenty-first century missions is increasingly
399 likely to involve operations in populated areas. Humanitarian assistance, peace
400 enforcement, or noncombatant evacuation operations occur where the people are, i.e., in
401 cities. Nationalist, political, ethnic or sectarian violence begs global media attention
402 given the potential for mass suffering and death within urban and highly populated areas.
403 This is particularly true where polarized factions live in close proximity. Cities are,
404 above all, about people and are human creations. Urban problems, in the end, tend to
405 require very human solutions. Focused offensive operations, such as neutralizing a
406 weapon of mass destruction facility without releasing toxic materials, and focused
407 defensive operations, such as creating a temporary sanctuary, typically occur in populated
408 areas. US forces could also be tasked with helping local forces defend an urban area.
409 Given the sprawl of twenty-first century cities, the isolation of an urban area itself may
410 have to be achieved within the urban environment. The anti-access threat also has a
411 potential urban dimension to it in that most of the world’s seaports and large airfields are
412 located in or near urban areas. This complicates US force projection and sustainment
413 efforts, especially in early entry operations.
414 Even in those instances where an urban area may be bypassed for purely military
415 reasons, consideration must be given to the longer-term impacts, e.g., how the perceived
416 ―neglect‖ of their urban area impacts the perceptions of its civilian residents and their
417 post-combat attitudes. Leaders should consider the influence a power vacuum in the
418 built-up area has on the development of its internal politics and thus citizens’ willingness
419 to cooperate with coalition forces when they subsequently return to the bypassed area. A
420 bypassed area may require a large cordon force. Otherwise, it may provide the enemy
421 with an operating platform to attack our rear area. It may also attract additional forces
422 fleeing engagements in open or smaller urban areas. Citizens of bypassed towns and
423 cities may take matters into their own hands, eliminating what support remained for the
424 old regime and establishing their own governments. Friendly forces returning later may
425 find these self-governing residents proud of their accomplishments and, in some
426 instances, less willing to allow the joint force to assume control given that the outsiders
427 were perceived to have done nothing to earn that privilege.9 Alternatively, a power
428 vacuum may lead to intra-urban conflicts among rival factions, public disorder, looting
429 and destruction of infrastructure as witnessed in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
430 As the spectrum of likely conflict broadens to include less-than-full-scale war, widely
431 destructive approaches are not desired since they run counter to US political objectives.
432 For instance, when the US objective is to return a working city to a friendly population it
433 is inconsistent to destroy the city while securing it. The United States cannot afford for
434 its military to have a major environment as a vulnerability — and therefore, a sanctuary
435 for adversaries. To paraphrase an old saying, ―If you would have peace in the cities, then
436 prepare for war there.‖10
438 2.B Operational Art for Urban Operations. Operational art, according to Joint
439 Publication 3-0, describes ―the employment of military forces to attain strategic or
440 operational objectives through the design, organization, integration, and conduct of
441 strategies, campaigns, major operations, and battles. Operational art translates the joint
442 force commander’s strategy into operational design, and ultimately, tactical action, by
443 integrating activities of all levels of war.‖ This definition must expand to include both
444 military and nonmilitary instruments of government action. Operational art translates
445 the commander’s intent into operational design, and ultimately, tactical action, by
446 integrating activities of all levels of war.
447 The first element of operational art is developed in the mind and character of the
448 commander. The commander must possess the ability to conceptualize the operation. He
449 must understand the complexity of the urban environment and how his actions create
450 effects on the enemy, friendly forces, and the population, in that environment. He must
451 visualize actions required in not only the physical, but also the information and cognitive
452 domains. The commander must understand how the enemy thinks, determine enemy
RAND Joint Urban Operations OEF/OIF Observations and Insights Quick Look Briefing, dated 31
The original being Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum, ―Let him who desires peace, prepare for
war.‖ From De Re Militari by Flavius Vegetius Renatus.
453 centers of gravity and then anticipate how the enemy will attempt to fight in an attempt to
454 mitigate friendly advantages. He must anticipate and minimize the effects of potential
455 behavioral and infrastructure surprises inherent to the urban setting. He must also
456 appreciate the unique demands that the environment places on his operating forces.
457 The urban battlespace is a mix of linear, nonlinear, contiguous, and noncontiguous
458 areas, dense in both population and structures. The urban battle requires the joint
459 commander to be highly adaptive and flexible in thought as he transitions from open
460 terrain operations that make up most of his experience, training and education, to the
461 compressed operations that he must conceptualize in the urban environment.
462 The commander must imbue his forces with the trust and cohesion necessary to operate
463 under the noncontiguous conditions inherent in urban combat. He must foster trust
464 among his peers within the coalition, among the interagency community, and with
465 nongovernmental organizations operating within the city.
466 The second element of operational art in the urban environment is the space within
467 which the commander conducts his operations. Combat is close and personal, intensely
468 violent, and confusing. Dispersed units operating in physical isolation are heavily reliant
469 on previous training, camaraderie, and networking to maintain cohesion and coherence of
470 effort. Instead of coordinating the movements of units over significant operational and
471 tactical distances, the commander is required to integrate and synchronize units operating
472 in a restricted maneuver space. In addition to breadth and depth, urban combat has
473 distinct vertical and interior dimensions that extend above street level in terms of large,
474 multistoried structures and below street level in terms of subsurface infrastructure such as
475 sewer systems and underground utility tunnels that may be used as maneuver space.
476 Operational times and distances may be measured in minutes and meters rather than
477 hours and kilometers that are more characteristic of operations in open terrain.
478 The information domain also contains ―key terrain‖ during the conduct of urban
479 operations. Most commanders recognize the importance of retaining public support for
480 operations. However, in the urban environment there is more than one public. The
481 commander must appreciate not only the need for the support of the US and allied
482 populations; he must gain and maintain the support of the local population of the city
483 itself. If local inhabitants are swayed by the will of the enemy, they will become a
484 powerful opposing force. If they are left unswayed by either side, they can become a
485 major obstacle to operations, as well as a major source of intelligence and logistical
486 support for the enemy. If they are cultivated and persuaded by the merits of our cause,
487 the population becomes a crucial ally in mission success. Keeping the local population
488 objectively informed not only of our operations, but also of our intent and desired end
489 state is a key operational-level task for the joint force commander.
490 The commander must also recognize that his actions in the physical and information
491 domains create effects in the cognitive domain. His actions must result in a sense of
492 futility within the mind of the adversary. The adversary must perceive that the urban
493 environment is not a sanctuary and that he gains no advantage by choosing to operate
494 from within the city. The commander must plan and execute complex information
495 operations to attack or manipulate adversary leadership perceptions, thought processes,
496 plans, decisions, execution, and interpretation of operational results. Joint force
497 information operations anticipate the adversary’s information operation plan and preclude
498 successful operations on his part. Further, information operations must discredit
499 adversary rhetoric. Countering enemy ideas and propaganda will assist in gaining popular
500 support and de-legitimizing enemy actions.
501 The third element of operational art is the organizational construct used by the joint
502 force commander. The urban environment is too complex for single-agency or single-
503 service, single-dimensional solutions. Generating desired effects and avoiding
504 unintended effects in this complex environment require careful integration of joint forces
505 and interagency supporting capabilities at each point of action and at every level of
506 decision. In fact, interagency collaboration will help design effects, supporting actions,
507 and measures of effectiveness to ensure that military actions complement diplomatic,
508 informational, and economic activities. Fixed task organizations soon outlive their
509 usefulness as the situation rapidly changes. The commander must create the operational-
510 level flexibility to allow tactical reorganization on demand. Dynamic organizations
511 capable of reconfiguring themselves on the move and in contact are key to creating
512 necessary effects. Additionally, the appropriate links to interagency, multi-national and
513 key nongovernmental organizations are necessary to ensure their integration into actions
514 whenever appropriate.
515 Finally, the joint force commander must be able to fit his conceptualization of the
516 operation, his understanding of the adversary, his desired effects, the nature of the
517 battlespace, and his organizational construct together harmoniously. Each element of
518 operational art must be balanced with the others to ensure all contribute optimally. The
519 plan the joint force commander prepares and executes must contribute to the operation’s
520 strategic aims, must result in an acceptable end state, and must be executable by the
521 forces and capabilities available. Most importantly, it must balance the demands of
522 operational success while preserving or improving the physical coherence of the city and
523 the welfare of its population.
526 Section 3 – CONCEPT FOR JOINT URBAN OPERATIONS
528 3.A Synopsis of the Central Idea. The complexity of the urban environment
529 presents numerous challenges for future operations. An adaptive adversary, operating
530 within an urban environment, can attenuate many of the advantages enjoyed by a
531 technologically superior force. Since the trend of increasing urbanization is here to stay,
532 it is unlikely that future urban combat can be avoided. Therefore, the future joint force
533 must develop the ability to control the urban environment in the same way that it controls
534 open terrain today.
535 Given the complexity and challenges of operating in an urban environment, the central
536 theme for joint urban operations is: achieving our desired end state by understanding,
537 controlling, and exploiting the unique elements of the urban environment (e.g.,
538 terrain, infrastructure, population, and information); sensing, locating, isolating,
539 and defeating the adversary; controlling the pace and tempo of operations; and
540 applying power rapidly, precisely and discriminately. Power includes the coherent
541 application of sequential and simultaneous, military and nonmilitary, kinetic and
542 nonkinetic means to achieve lethal and nonlethal effects. Key enablers to this central
543 idea are using an effects-based approach to guide decisions and actions and leveraging a
544 knowledge-enhanced force in a networked environment. Additionally, the ability to
545 access any capability across the joint and coalition force, fused with the capabilities of
546 the interagency community, helps operational commanders to generate the right effects at
547 the right times and places, with the right intensities. As Figure 1 below depicts, these
548 key enablers help us move from today’s paradigm to a future construct for conducting
549 joint urban operations.
552 Figure 1
554 3.B Setting the Conditions for Success in Joint Urban Operations. Success in
555 conducting joint urban operations in the future is built on our advantages in knowledge
556 and capacity to shape and adapt to the conditions that we find in the urban environment.
557 The most important step that the US can take to set the conditions for future success in
558 the urban environment is to demonstrate to our enemies that it has the capabilities and the
559 will necessary to succeed when we elect to operate in this environment. There are four
560 core building blocks that form the foundation for success in future joint urban operations.
561 They are:
563 1. Develop competent, confident, flexible, and adaptive leaders.
564 2. Develop capable and adaptive organizations.
565 3. Train the joint force for urban operations.
566 4. Develop the capabilities required for joint urban operations.
567 3.B.1 Develop Competent, Confident, Flexible and Adaptive Leaders. Leaders
568 require an expanded skill set focused on joint urban operations. Joint urban operations
569 can no longer be considered as an ―elective‖ proficiency in the development of joint
570 leaders. Operating in the urban environment is no longer an ―exception‖ to our general
571 rules of operations. Instead, it has emerged as a core competency for the Services and
572 joint force and is key to our success.
573 The joint leader about to conduct an urban operation should not be facing the situation
574 for the first time. His training, education, and experience must prepare him for the
575 conditions that he will encounter and the tasks he must perform. He must be fully
576 capable of assessing the complexity of the urban environment. He understands the
577 capabilities that the joint, coalition, and interagency force provides him, and is prepared
578 to handle the myriad tasks that are unique to operations in this environment.
579 The leader must expect to work with and alongside a wide variety of local government
580 and nongovernmental leaders. He must know the particular urban culture and its
581 nuances. Skill at negotiating is essential in order to gain a higher degree of acceptance,
582 credibility, and legitimacy with the local military or police force and community. The
583 leader leverages and exploits the existing civil sector resources such as local media and
584 communications networks. Obviously, familiarity with the language, local dialects, and
585 customs is an advantage. In an urban setting, our leader is a warrior, peacemaker,
586 enforcer, negotiator, arbitrator, and conceivably a ―liberator‖ in the minds of the local
587 populace. He must take extreme care to avoid being used as an instrument of revenge or
588 being used to settle local societal or family problems. Essentially, the US military must
589 develop the character and skills of the joint leader well in advance of an urban operation
590 to ensure that when the time comes, he is mentally, physically, and morally prepared for
591 the task. Such development of intellects requires aggressive mentorship, training in urban
592 environments, and modeling and simulations that present increasingly complex problems
593 and worthy foes in heavily populated urban settings. These intellectual development
594 activities must include appropriate joint, combined, and interagency training, starting
595 with basic professional military education (PME) and continuing through advanced PME,
596 operational and tactical training, and wargames throughout the careers of officers and
597 noncommissioned officers.
598 Reliance on decentralized decision-making, shared understanding throughout the
599 force, and decentralized execution is especially important in joint urban operations. This
600 need for decentralization demands that we develop our leaders to anticipate, collaborate,
601 adapt, and be decisive in chaotic environments. Understanding and operating within the
602 commander’s intent are central to leader development. The joint leader is adept at
603 conducting continuous urban operational assessments. Leader flexibility, creativity, and
604 resourcefulness are rewarded. Building trust, confidence, shared identity and
605 understanding must begin early. It is nurtured by frequent interaction between and
606 among leaders throughout the joint force, including interagency, contractor, and coalition
607 counterparts in training and education venues.
608 Leaders are developed to not only master their own specialties, but also to have an
609 understanding of the capabilities and limitations of joint, interagency, and coalition
610 partners as well as enemy capabilities and urban-unique limitations. Examples of urban-
611 unique limitations include the magnitude of electromagnetic and visual dead space, the
612 requirement for three-dimensional targeting and weapons firing trajectories, and the
613 potential for exposure to toxic industrial material. Leaders must appreciate the roles that
614 international, nongovernmental and private volunteer organizations as well as the press
615 are likely to play in the urban operation area. In addition, they must understand and
616 appreciate varying ROE imposed by coalition partners on their respective forces. Future
617 joint leaders must possess technical and tactical expertise and be able to think on the
618 move, and adapt to an ever-changing urban situation. PME must ground them in
619 operationally relevant aspects of the urban environment including an understanding of the
620 operation of civil governments and key infrastructure such as transportation systems,
621 public works and services, and local media. Of equal importance, the future leaders must
622 comprehend diverse cultural influences which dominate the thoughts and behavior of the
623 urban populace, coalition partners, nongovernmental organizations, multinational
624 corporations, and the media. Leaders at all levels are skilled at communicating, thinking
625 flexibly, empowering others, and providing feedback during the ebb and flow of urban
626 operations. The future force practices adaptive command and teamwork among Soldiers,
627 Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who may have never met prior to an urban operation. This
628 team is able to wade into a complex, uncertain, urban environment and prevail against a
629 competent enemy.
631 3.B.2 Develop Capable and Adaptive Organizations. A coherently joint force
632 conducts the urban fight. Successful urban operations require control of the ground
633 dimension, the airspace overhead, the computer systems that control the city’s
634 infrastructure, all in the physical domain, and operations in the information domain to
635 gain public support. The comprehensive application of joint, interagency, and coalition
636 capabilities is required to win in the urban environment. The restrictive nature of urban
637 terrain and the need to achieve precise effects to limit collateral damage require fully
638 capable and adaptive joint forces at the point of action. Operational-level headquarters
639 are inherently joint through assignment of multi-Service staffs and networking.
640 At the tactical-level, ―inherently joint‖ takes on a different meaning. In the 2015
641 timeframe, the networked environment allows any element of the joint force to access the
642 full capabilities of any other element of the joint force to generate effects. At the tactical-
643 level, jointness extends to the lowest practical level in an urban operation by operating in
644 a networked environment. The joint network is robust and reliable, allowing continuous
645 use by the US-led coalition force and interagency community under the most challenging
646 conditions. Modular and tailorable organizations are essential to achieving the required
647 organizational synergies for joint urban operations.
648 Force packaging for joint urban operations depends on the information revealed by
649 holistic intelligence preparation of the battlespace. Joint urban operations may involve
650 battles where the firepower, mobility, and protection of armor and attack aircraft may be
651 essential. History illustrates the danger posed to unaccompanied armor by relatively light
652 opponents in any complex terrain. Force protection thus demands that infantry be
653 employed in support of heavy capabilities. Even though urban operations are primarily
654 ground-focused, the supported forces have full access to joint capabilities that may be
655 needed to accomplish their missions. For example, joint urban close air support is readily
656 accessible to provide support and cover.
657 The urban environment may require segmenting the larger battlespace into discrete
658 areas of operation, each with its information and three-dimensional spatial components.
659 Segmenting the battlespace into discrete areas of operation requires forces capable of
660 operating independently with immediate and seamless access to the entire menu of joint
661 force capabilities. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of future operations requires the
662 ability for forces to come together on short notice to form a cohesive team proficient in
663 the execution of complex joint tactical tasks. Maintaining the level of flexibility
664 necessary requires a high degree of interoperability and interdependence among the
665 elements of the force and a high level of training that enables rapid achievement of
667 A major test of unit cohesiveness occurs when transitioning back and forth between
668 combat and security, transition and reconstruction efforts. The joint force, as part of a
669 multinational and integrated, multiagency operation, still provides security as well as
670 initial humanitarian assistance, limited governance, restoration of essential public
671 services, and other reconstruction assistance until the security environment permits
672 civilian agencies to perform these functions.11 Units must organize to perform these
673 changing missions. Further, all Department of Defense agencies which conduct combat
674 operations and direct support must become equally adaptive, modular, and deployable as
675 the joint force.
676 Each situation is somewhat unique and requires tailored transition plans. Specialized
677 capabilities such as engineering, linguist, contracting, real estate acquisition, demolition,
678 prisoner of war and detainee interrogation, and water purification should be identified in
679 the planning stage and must be available in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the
680 joint force. Given the complexity and turbulence encountered during and after urban
681 combat operations, a civil-military organizational construct is required to synchronize
682 and manage activities between and among US and coalition military headquarters, local
683 civilian governments and their police or security forces, contractors, and other
684 participating organizations. This civil-military organizational construct is resourced,
685 trained, and ready to assist the joint force commander in returning the urban area to a
686 functional posture. The Joint Interagency Coordination Group is another valuable tool
Department of Defense ―Stability Operations - Joint Operations Concept (Draft) Version 1.04‖, 20 April
687 that can assist commanders in identifying support requirements and facilitate access to
688 the nonmilitary capabilities of the US government.
689 The demands for rapid mobility and assured sustainment of widely dispersed forces
690 create the need for organizations that provide a variety of rapid delivery means. Rapidly
691 deployable, fully capable, immediately employable, and highly mobile joint forces
692 contribute to adaptive force dominance that is so essential in joint urban operations.
693 Effective commanders will consider operational as well as information campaign
694 operations issues when organizing forces for the urban environment. In some cases, a
695 commander may execute operations in support of information objectives. Organizing
696 staffs and units around functional activities, such as combat operations, logistical support,
697 humanitarian support, information operations, etc may make sense in the urban
698 environment. Establishing separate organizations for combat and civilian humanitarian
699 operations may enhance local, NGO and international support. Further, aligning the task
700 force or certain elements with international organizations such as the United Nations may
701 help give popular legitimacy to the effort and place greater pressure on the adversary. A
702 joint force commander may even consider organizing part of his staff around government
703 functions that mirror the city in which the joint force is operating. Finally, when
704 possible, development of a mirror host nation organization may give greater legitimacy to
705 the host government and provide a framework for responsibility transfer when the desired
706 end state is achieved.
708 3.B.3. Train the Joint Force for Urban Operations. First battles and their
709 consequences do matter. There may be no second chance for the US in a major fight,
710 especially if the first fight erupts or culminates in an urban setting. The extension and
711 melding of our Services’ urban training competencies contribute to joint warfighting
712 synergies at both the tactical- and operational-levels. Joint training with emphasis on
713 urban operations should strengthen joint, interagency, and multinational operations by
714 preparing forces for new warfighting operations.
715 Joint training in anticipation of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high
716 yield explosives (CBRNE) environment is essential. If and when an adversary possesses
717 and chooses to employ either weapons of mass destruction or mass effects (WMD or
718 WME) against the US-led force and the urban population, our level of training in
719 protective measures is crucial. At the operational- and tactical-levels, US forces must be
720 trained, resourced, and ready to operate in a WMD and WME environment with little or
721 no degradation in posture.
722 Our current training programs and facilities are not sufficiently detailed and robust to
723 prepare leaders and units to operate in the urban environment. The joint force cannot
724 afford to learn the tactics, techniques, and procedures required for urban operations on-
725 the-job while joined in battle in this environment. From their early tactical experiences,
726 future leaders must be trained and made fully competent and confident in their ability to
727 operate jointly in an urban environment. Tactical-level training exercises, conducted in
728 real or mock urban environments, and potent operational-level exercises are conducted
729 either live or via virtual simulation, constructive training, or appropriate combinations
730 and within suitable models to develop urban expertise throughout the entire force. This
731 training must include not only joint, but also coalition and interagency elements. Since
732 the organizations required in Section 3.B.2 above require joint forces at the point of
733 action, joint, interagency and multinational training must also be provided to tactical
734 formations that serve as the basis for Service competencies that comprise the joint force.
735 Force readiness improves by aligning joint education and training capabilities and
736 resources with Combatant Command needs. A triad of modern lifelong learning provides
737 the foundation for individual leaders, institutions, and organizations. First, the
738 ―closeness‖ of the urban environment demands that individuals and organizations think
739 jointly intuitively. Individuals, staffs, and organizations improvise and adapt to crises.
740 Second, units and staffs must become ―learning‖ organizations. Organizations must
741 adapt as the situation changes. As the adversary changes, the organization must learn and
742 adapt quickly. Third, ambitious training and education programs and the spread of virtual
743 collaborative capabilities help to reduce planning gaps between the strategic, operational,
744 and tactical-levels. Training is the key to proficiency at the start of the operation; it is
745 also the key to the successful conclusion of the mission.
747 3.B.4. Develop the Capabilities Required for Joint Urban Operations. The joint
748 force commander and his forces need the new capabilities described in Section 4 of this
749 concept and in the ―DoD Roadmap for Joint Urban Operations,‖ to achieve the
750 overmatching and asymmetric advantages that our current capabilities give us in more
751 open terrain.
752 Consequently, new technology acquisitions are required to accommodate certain
753 aspects of urban operations, especially the battlespace awareness aspect at both the
754 operational- and tactical-levels. Further, tactical sensors must provide persistent
755 surveillance capabilities and must be subject to tasking by local commanders, while
756 supplying data horizontally within the National Security Space architecture. Sensors for
757 myriad purposes are envisioned in areas such as operational and tactical maneuver;
758 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); detection of threats to include
759 detection of conventional mines and remotely detonated improvised explosive devices
760 (IED); distinguishing among friendly and unfriendly individuals and groups; close
761 proximity and standoff targeting; discerning adversary intent inside buildings and
762 underground; and battle damage assessment and effects. High-fidelity three-dimensional
763 mapping and imagery are mandatory capabilities. The ability to see into and through
764 structures is essential. Similarly, the ability to listen selectively to threat conversations at
765 close and standoff ranges, inside buildings, and underground is required at both the
766 operational- and-tactical levels. Small teams, both military and nonmilitary, and units
767 require assured, secure, and multilingual translation communications capability
768 regardless of conditions. They also require visibility of the surrounding urban battlespace
769 and the ability to seamlessly access the capabilities of the entire joint force.
770 Additionally, forces, supplies, and equipment are required to be moved rapidly into
771 and throughout the urban battlespace. Casualty evacuation, from the urban battlespace to
772 secure locations, within acceptable risk levels is essential. Small independent teams, both
773 military and nonmilitary, operating in the urban environment require further
774 improvements in speed, stealth, robotics, and protective systems. The enemy’s ability to
775 detect, track, target, attack, raid, and ambush the US-led coalition force must be
776 minimized. Precision munitions that generate focused effects are of great value in
777 successfully engaging the adversary while limiting collateral damage in the dense urban
778 environment. In addition, capabilities to deliver nonlethal effects must be developed to
779 complement systems delivering lethal effects in order to provide commanders with more
780 options and greater flexibility; tailorable effects to achieve desired goals; reversible
781 effects; and reduce noncombatant casualties and unintended destruction of equipment and
782 infrastructure.12 Further, improved high-resolution modeling, simulation, decision
783 support, and rehearsal capabilities are important down to the lowest leadership levels. A
784 standard combat identification system that is reliable in urban operations is essential to
785 the US-led coalition force. And finally, mechanisms are needed to apply and disseminate
786 dynamic ROE based on location or operation. Although not an exhaustive list, the
787 essential joint urban operations capabilities addressed in this section, obviously have
788 utility throughout the full range of military operations, not just exclusively for urban
JROCM 211-02, Family of Non-Lethal Capabilities Mission Need Statement, 10 Dec 2002
791 3.C How the Joint Force Operates in the Urban Environment. Every urban
792 operation is different. The following principles, however, capture what is common about
793 the approach to each. These principles are not intended to be prescriptive or to limit the
794 individual commander in the way he conducts his operations. Principles are conceptual
795 tools from which commanders can draw to help form their thoughts, decisions, actions,
796 and their responsibilities as they plan, prepare for, execute, and sustain operations. These
797 joint urban operations principles are drawn from both the classical principles of military
798 art and the principles emerging from current thought on military, complexity, chaos, and
799 productivity theories. They are neither prescriptive nor all-inclusive. They are not
800 intended to limit action, but instead to provide a set of key considerations to be addressed
801 as the joint force prepares for both sequential and simultaneous urban operations.
802 Although listed and discussed sequentially in the following section these principles
803 should not be considered as a sequential set of activities. Instead, these principles
804 function together in an interdependent, continuous, and simultaneous manner. The
805 proposed principles for operational commanders to consider and implement are:
807 1. Understand the complex urban environment.
808 2. See first, see clearly, and see in depth.
809 3. Control the urban environment.
810 4. Identify and isolate the adversary.
811 5. Take the initiative and control the tempo of operations.
812 6. Engage the adversary comprehensively.
813 7. Ensure every action contributes to achieving the desired end state.
814 8. Balance restraint and overmatching power.
816 3.C.1 Understand the complex urban environment.
817 Understand the relationships among terrain, the people, the culture, and the
819 Understand cultural influences on the perceptions and thinking of the adversary
820 and local populace.
821 Look for patterns and trends to exploit; be prepared to adapt.
823 The urban environment is more than just complex terrain; it is a human creation. It
824 comprises people, a culture and often several subcultures, diversity, societal beliefs,
825 aspirations, networks, processes—all in a dense operational space. Essentially, an urban
826 area is a complicated and dynamic concentration of physical, social, informational,
827 political, economic, religious, and criminal activities. These activities are constantly
828 interacting, and collectively produce a unique urban culture. When exposed to major
829 combat, this unique urban culture goes into a form of ―shock and paralysis‖ and negative
830 reaction. The US-led force must tend to this ―shock and paralysis‖ and negative reaction
831 by returning the city to a functional condition.
832 The physical composition of the compact operational space in an urban environment
833 consists of superstructures, surface structures, and subsurface structures, as well as
834 myriad open and closed spaces. The urban venue is where tactical engagements may
835 occur in hundreds of small enclaves such as homes, rooms, alleys, basements, refineries,
836 airports and the like. The complexity of the urban environment includes subterranean
837 and interior components and areas of limited visibility and maneuverability that present
838 challenges for collecting intelligence, inserting or extracting, and supporting operations.
839 The urban area may be subdivided further into various sectors such as industrial,
840 commercial, residential, affluent, slum, ethnic, and so forth.
841 The urban environment possesses a degree of social complexity. In an urban
842 environment, military forces must deal with different power centers and key figures with
843 different, perhaps competing goals, cultural norms and values. It is an environment
844 where the adversary has many possible motives. These adversaries range from
845 committed ideologue to circumstantial enemy.13 Committed ideologues differ
846 fundamentally from the private citizen who is moved by circumstances of the moment.
847 Therefore, military and interagency solutions applied to defeat a hardened enemy may
848 also differ fundamentally from those applied to defeat an otherwise peaceful citizen who,
849 once armed conflict ceases, becomes the backbone of the new law abiding society. The
850 enemy of the moment might very well become the solution to a lasting peace and every
Circumstantial Enemy. An otherwise peaceful citizen moved to enmity with the US
and its allies because of intervening causes, such as a perceived need to defend the
homeland or a cultural requirement to revenge the wartime death of a friend or relative.
851 effort made to either ensure, through our precise engagement tactics either to not turn
852 allies into enemies, or, given the realities of war, engage differently the enemy that is also
853 the hope for future peace. The challenges in the urban environment require operational
854 commanders to understand completely the culture of the people and where and how they
855 live. Commanders and their staffs require a thorough understanding of the urban
856 infrastructure, to include structural composition of buildings, location of public works
857 and their inner workings, and an appreciation for and location of cultural artifacts and
859 Not only is there a physical and social urban nature, there is also an urban
860 informational aspect that requires attention by our operational-level and tactical leaders.
861 Our commanders can exploit this urban informational domain to their advantage. Urban
862 information operations are discussed in more detail later in this document.
863 Although tactical forces operate in these urban areas, we also conduct operational-
864 level activities there. At the operational-level, we evaluate information gathered at the
865 tactical as well as information gained from regional and national sources to discern
866 relevant enemy and population trends and behavioral activity patterns. From such
867 analysis we derive implications, and confirm or discard assumptions. Evidence and
868 ground truth, over time, replace speculation. Enemy and civilian trends are monitored for
869 further exploitation. External sources, such as detainees, third country nationals, and
870 transnational corporations are sought in order to gain new perspectives, more accurate
871 perceptions, and better understanding. Both operational and tactical commanders make
872 necessary adjustments based on their findings.
873 Accessing multiple sources of information and performing collaborative analysis
874 enhances command decision-making by providing information on adversary strategic
875 aims, objectives, intentions, strengths, weaknesses, behaviors, critical nodes and
876 vulnerabilities. Country teams, led by the chief of the US diplomatic mission, are key
877 resources in this area. Their assistance in the collaborative analysis process contributes to
878 more accurately assessing the effects of diplomatic, information, military, and economic
879 applications of power. These dynamic processes help identify ―defeat mechanisms‖ to
880 accomplish our objectives rapidly and decisively, as well as to deny the enemy the ability
881 to accomplish his.14
882 3.C.2 See first, see clearly, and see in depth.
883 Gain and maintain detailed, comprehensive knowledge of the urban battlespace to
884 see, decide, and act faster than the enemy.
885 Utilize robust and diverse sensing and information processing capabilities to see
887 Anticipate future actions by gaining and maintaining knowledge of the locations,
888 status, and movements of friendly, enemy, and other forces and groups.
889 See the current battle, the next battle, and the ―battle after next.‖
891 As with operations in open terrain, the side that sees first, understands first, decides
892 first, and acts first gains the advantage. The ability to ―see‖ in urban terrain is greatly
893 restricted by the intensely built-up nature of the terrain. However, seeing at ―long‖
894 distance is not necessarily essential. What is essential is the ability to see further than the
895 enemy can. In the urban tactical environment, this could be as little as a six-inch
896 advantage, if what separates combat forces is a simple concrete wall. Being able to sense
897 what is on the other side of a wall, around a corner, or on the twentieth story of a building
898 two blocks away provides a critical and perhaps decisive tactical advantage to the side
899 that can do it. At the tactical-level, the ability to see in depth beyond walls, through the
900 subsurface, and into dark places where the enemy can use physical impediments to hide,
901 store supplies, and attack is critical to commanders. The ability to understand various
902 sensor indications of enemy capability and intent provides critical operational and tactical
903 advantage. To see first and in depth includes seeing ourselves as well as where the
904 enemy may be in this complex urban environment.
905 To see first and see in depth within an urban setting, the joint force commander and
906 his tactical forces must know the locations, status, and movements of friendly, enemy,
907 and other forces and groups. Early on, commanders determine the ISR requirements in a
908 collaborative and synchronized manner so that available resources are focused properly
909 for the supported commander at the right times and places. Intelligence requirements are
910 frontloaded as much as possible enabling collection and analysis prior to deployment of
―USJFCOM Operational Net Assessment‖, <http://www.jfcom.mil/about/fact_ona.htm> (5 April 04).
911 forces. This will also enable subsequent adjustments to be made more easily. Persistent
912 ISR capabilities that include human intelligence (HUMINT) sources must be available.
913 Tactical-level commanders possess intelligence acquisition and analysis assets of their
914 own and access to higher headquarters intelligence products such as area and cultural
915 studies. Commanders have potential access to existing assets already in the urban area.
916 Obviously, urban mapping, imagery products, and information on building floor plans are
917 essential and promulgated throughout the force, especially to the lower tactical-levels. In
918 a city, high-rise buildings equate to high ground, offering numerous vantage points. So,
919 ‖controlling the high ground‖ remains relevant where safe transit or occupation has to be
920 assured and where a building roof may constitute not only an ISR vantage point but also
921 key terrain to hamper the enemy’s freedom of maneuver.
922 Robust and diverse sensing and information processing capabilities, such as remote
923 networked sensors, comprise the essential elements of gaining the operational- and
924 tactical-level situational awareness necessary to neutralize the adversary’s advantage in
925 the urban environment. At all levels, aggressive ISR, to include HUMINT, activities are
926 essential to building comprehensive knowledge in all battlespace dimensions and
927 domains. Knowing friendly forces, the enemy, and other groups in detail allows the
928 operational- and tactical-level commander to sense what is happening, and what options
929 are available to him. Aggressively seeking information and rapidly converting it into
930 situational understanding and actionable knowledge are critical operational- and tactical-
931 level tasks that can never be overlooked in urban operations.
932 As mentioned above, the need for accurate and timely HUMINT well before and
933 during urban operations cannot be overstated. Robust HUMINT activities, as part of a
934 comprehensive intelligence effort, tend to minimize the steep intelligence learning curve
935 that occurs at the start of overt urban operations. HUMINT assets are frontloaded into
936 the intelligence collection plan in advance of operations. HUMINT enables trained
937 intelligence professionals to understand and exploit interpersonal relationships, group
938 dynamics, and organizational behaviors. Trained and talented HUMINT specialists can
939 identify, understand, synthesize, filter, and prioritize some relevant information that
940 technology cannot. Of course, US and coalition special operations forces, cavalry troops,
941 reconnaissance teams, and other governmental agents and NGOs are also valuable assets;
942 however, each individual serviceman or servicewoman is an intelligence source.
943 Additionally, local civilians and foreign representatives may provide valuable
945 To see first, see clearly, and see in depth at the operational level is central to achieving
946 desired effects and objectives in an urban fight. Timing, however, is crucial. To ―see
947 first‖ at the operational level, the joint force commander seeks time-sensitive and
948 continuous information and intelligence from a variety of sources. These sources include
949 space-based platforms, analysts, experts in various fields, mapping and imagery, area and
950 cultural studies. Other sources include US and friendly nation embassy country teams,
951 consulates, foreign intelligence services, the media, transnational corporations, covert
952 operations, immigrants, and other US interagency contacts. The operational commander
953 must also see the political and social dimensions of the urban environment and their
954 linkage to political and military aims. All of these sources of information and
955 intelligence contribute to ―seeing first‖ the: who, what, when, where, and why in an
956 urban environment. Success at ―seeing first‖ promotes operational-level initiative and
957 enables situational understanding, informed decision-making, and flexible campaign
959 To ―see clearly‖ at the operational level, the joint force commander benefits from
960 trend and pattern analyses over time. He has access to personality profiles of the senior
961 enemy decision-makers. Interrogations of senior enemy captives and detainees may
962 provide valuable insights to threat intentions, capabilities, strengths, and vulnerabilities.
963 Reports from US and coalition special operations forces are most useful. Both US and
964 foreign expertise in a variety of nonmilitary disciplines is important and aids the force in
965 identification of key elements of adversary will, decision processes, and cohesiveness, as
966 well as human factors. Evidence and truth evolve over time. To ―see clearly‖ is a
967 perishable operational-level pursuit; it is a continuous task.
968 To ―see in depth‖ at the operational level, the joint force commander applies the
969 judgment, experience, training, intuition, and decision-making abilities of himself and his
970 staff to discern the enemy’s intentions in all dimensions of the urban environment. The
971 joint force commander then links the urban fight to operations in the larger JOA
972 battlespace, the decisions that thwart the enemy’s actions, and the decisive actions
973 required to achieve the military objectives. As subordinate forces are conducting the
974 current urban fight, the joint force commander is posturing for the ―next battle‖ and the
975 ―battle after next‖ on the time horizon. Here, the term ―next,‖ whether actually a
976 sequential or simultaneous operation, will result in creating feelings of despair and
977 futility in our adversary. This is the essence and art of operational-level command.
979 3.C.3 Control the urban environment.
980 Establish quantifiable measures of effectiveness to determine success.
981 Secure designated portions of the urban environment and its components for
982 current and future operations.
983 Control selected elements of the local population through co-option, inducements,
984 or selective use of force to achieve compliance.
985 Use force appropriately to compel compliance when the security of the urban
986 environment is threatened.
987 Secure and protect critical infrastructure and services to provide for the essential
988 needs of the populace or to assist in isolating portions of the city.
990 Commanders must establish baseline requirements to measure future successes prior
991 to or as soon as possible after commencing operations. Measures of effectiveness must
992 be tied directly to political aims, campaign objectives, and desired effects in support of
993 appropriate operations, such as humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and combat. In a
994 joint urban operations context, commanders must recognize that friendly military, enemy,
995 and civilian entity activities are interrelated. The aims, goals, and needs of each are
996 different. These diverse interactions are constantly in flux. Understanding their
997 interactions is key to controlling the urban environment.
998 The activities of friendly and enemy forces are normally driven by the ability of each
999 to gain and maintain control of the urban area in order to provide a secure environment
1000 for current and future operations. Physical and informational infrastructures must be
1001 controlled and managed. Securing, controlling, or isolating the physical and
1002 informational elements of the urban environment are inextricably tied to freedom of
1003 movement of forces. Civilian (e.g. local populace, NGO and PVO) actions are affected
1004 as civilians struggle to adapt to a changing and often chaotic environment and attempt to
1005 access these same elements, including places of employment, medical facilities, places of
1006 worship, and financial institutions.
1007 A secure environment enables friendly forces to consolidate gains, demonstrate
1008 strength to the local population and adversary, and provide the foundation for security,
1009 transition, and reconstruction operations. As witnessed in Iraq in April 2003, post-
1010 combat lawlessness resulted in the widespread looting and destruction of property which
1011 potentially set the post-war rebuilding effort back years. Iraqi security forces were
1012 without adequate facilities, vehicles, and equipment to provide for the public safety.
1013 Ministries were incapable of providing or managing public services and private citizens
1014 were without reliable sources of basic utilities, such as electricity and water. Ironically, it
1015 is to the enemy's advantage to disrupt and neutralize rebuilding of the nation while the
1016 US and its allies control the disputed territory. All aspects of the rebuilding effort
1017 become viable, effects-driven targets within the adversary’s urban campaign Therefore,
1018 military action to secure and protect infrastructure is critical. These actions benefit
1019 humanitarian and economic efforts and have a more immediate effect in denying the
1020 enemy his objective. A secure urban environment controlled by friendly forces weakens
1021 or eliminates enemy influence and his ability to conduct operations, causing him to
1022 reevaluate his efforts, withdraw, or change tactics. The secure environment enables
1023 civilian entities to resume public, commercial, and personal activities and begin a
1024 transition to a state of normalcy.
1025 Establishing security within a designated urban environment requires controlling the
1026 local population and negating the enemy’s capabilities to cause disturbances. This
1027 control can be obtained either by co-opting or inducing the population. Control also can
1028 be obtained by persuading the population that it can benefit if it does not oppose us or by
1029 convincing it of the futility of opposition.
1030 Over time and given the right circumstances, urban security tasks may be given to
1031 designated local authorities. The coalition leadership should be mindful that history has
1032 shown that local groups seen as allying themselves with coalition authorities are likely to
1033 experience pressure to demonstrate their independence as established dates for departure
1034 of the outsiders or other critical events approach. Joint force commanders must be
1035 sensitive and aware of this pressure as local authorities assert their influence during the
1036 transition and post-redeployment maneuverings for power.
1037 A supportive populace greatly benefits the friendly force with enhanced situational
1038 understanding and protection for operations. Conversely, the adversary must operate
1039 with diminished ideological, logistical, and intelligence support. A supportive synergy
1040 among civilian entities can encourage ―normal‖ activities to resume and expand. The
1041 joint force can garner popular support through actions in the physical domain to create
1042 trust and confidence in the joint force’s ability to provide a secure environment and to
1043 meet basic needs of the population. Physically isolating portions of the city may be
1044 required to secure religious and historic sites of societal importance. Physically securing
1045 lines of travel from dwellings to medical facilities, schools, and workplaces can also
1046 garner confidence and support for friendly force activity. Local leaders sympathetic to
1047 friendly forces may be co-opted to help secure lines of communication for friendly
1048 operations, ensure local population actions are not detrimental to friendly objectives, and
1049 to help isolate portions of the city they influence from adversary activities.
1050 Efforts to influence the local population can include efforts to de-legitimize the
1051 enemy or to make the enemy position appear hopeless. The joint force commander
1052 should consider symbolic targets such as political party headquarters and office buildings
1053 to highlight the weakness of the enemy being attacked. Such strikes demonstrate
1054 coalition power and precision of capabilities, abilities to focus on the adversary, and a
1055 determination to limit collateral damage and desire to protect infrastructure.
1056 Since a future threat is likely to originate at least partly in a large urban city, and be
1057 supported by a hostile regime of some sort, the US and its coalition partners require the
1058 versatility to transition adeptly between combat operations and internal security or other
1059 types of operations to include peacekeeping and humanitarian support. Conditions may
1060 evolve quickly that require the US-led force to actually takeover and run a town or city
1061 for a specified period of time. Additionally, our forces may provide area and route
1062 security; conduct enemy prisoner of war, detainee, and straggler control; repatriate enemy
1063 prisoners; and law enforcement. This requires the joint force commander to review and
1064 possibly adjust his priorities to satisfy this resource intensive mission set. As operational
1065 commanders act to isolate elements of the city, the possibility of isolating friendly forces
1066 among an unfriendly population exists. In extracting isolated friendly forces,
1067 commanders must consider both kinetic and nonkinetic means to create either lethal or
1068 nonlethal effects depending on the population involved.
1069 Actions can also be taken in the information domain to not only build public support
1070 for the joint force but to also isolate insurgents or spoilers.15 Winning the media war is
1071 extremely difficult in urban areas where the battlespace includes noncombatants, is
1072 dominated by asymmetric warfare, and where enemies are concealed in the population.
1073 Local population expectations are always high. Unfortunately, the media tends to project
1074 dramatic and controversial events, which are often contrary to announced joint force
1075 policies or objectives. These media actions often discolor the perceptions of the local
1076 population. Commanders at all levels must be trained to better understand and exploit the
1077 media and to incorporate them into early strategic planning for urban operations. The
1078 local media and other sources of information such as television, voice communications—
1079 to include wireless systems—and the internet are critical to persuading the local
1080 population that supporting the joint force is to its distinct advantage. If the population
1081 believes it is in their interest to support the joint force rather than oppose it, then visibility
1082 of security forces can be reduced. Likewise, a population compliant to friendly forces
1083 makes it easier for the joint force to achieve its desired end state, since the majority of the
1084 force can be committed to achieving the end state and not to securing the city. Friendly
1085 use of local, regional, and global media must be more sophisticated than our adversary’s.
―Spoilers‖ are agents, organizations, or factions that pose threats to the success of stability and
reconstruction efforts. These entities willfully obstruct US and multinational strategic or operational
objectives. Draft Stability Operations Joint Operating Concept, p. 10.
1086 Battling for the hearts and minds of the populace places a high demand on controlling
1087 those elements of the urban environment that provide subsistence for the people, such as
1088 sources of water, food, medical assistance, power, fuel, and information. If these
1089 elements of the infrastructure are not adequately secured and controlled, the adversary
1090 may well sabotage them to sway public opinion. In many cases, spoiler elements may
1091 attempt to threaten the joint force’s efforts to establish security and thus obstruct US and
1092 multinational strategic or operational objectives. When spoilers threaten the security of
1093 the urban environment, the joint force must take appropriate action to compel
1094 compliance. Establishing a full-dimensional protection scheme that encompasses all
1095 friendly military and nonmilitary forces, as well as the local civilian inhabitants is
1097 Conceivably, deception operations can assist in controlling the urban environment by
1098 concealing our operational and tactical intentions, movements, and capabilities while
1099 confusing, disorienting, and dislocating the enemy. Urban deception techniques can
1100 include electronic means as well as acoustic, olfactory, and visual senses. There are
1101 imaginative ways to influence the adversary to our advantage by exploiting deceptive
1104 3.C.4 Identify and isolate the adversary.
1105 Attack the adversary leadership, his physical well-being, and his capabilities to
1106 think, plan, and decide, and act.
1107 Deny support to the adversary from the civilian population and external sources
1108 by understanding and communicating with the local population.
1109 Deny adversary access to physical infrastructure—power, water,
1110 telecommunications, etc.
1111 Contain the adversary.
1112 Attack the adversary’s ability to command and control movement and fires by
1113 restricting the flow of information the adversary needs to make decisions.
1114 Apply strength to create and exploit adversary weaknesses.
1116 In order to identify and isolate the adversary, the joint force must first determine the
1117 type of foe being engaged, a hardened ideologue or a circumstantial combatant, and then
1118 tailor an appropriate military and interagency solution to decisively defeat him. Military
1119 solutions might include denying the enemy from sources of support, access to
1120 information, contact with others, and freedom of movement. Isolating all or a portion of
1121 the adversary magnifies the debilitating effect produced when people and forces are
1122 separated from their accustomed support. Isolating the adversary in an urban
1123 environment requires capabilities to precisely engage targets and physically control the
1124 environment through occupation or influence of maneuver forces. As depicted in Figure
1125 2, operational commanders isolate the adversary by applying kinetic and nonkinetic
1126 means to physically restrict enemy fires or movement and his decision-making and
1127 command and control capabilities.
1129 Figure 2 Isolate the Adversary
1131 The joint force commander achieves isolation of the adversary by employing an
1132 appropriate force with a combination of tools. The most important tool, information
1133 operations, denies or manipulates the data, information, and knowledge necessary for the
1134 enemy to make effective decisions, and attempts to change his behaviors and ways of
1135 thinking. Other tools provide commanders with systems to deliver nonlethal effects on
1136 enemy personnel and material, as well as capabilities to disable and deny the adversary
1137 use of his facilities and systems.16 These tools include barriers to enemy physical
1138 movement such as sticky or slippery foam and antivehicle traps that can be quickly and
1139 remotely deployed, resist tampering, and have a reasonable logistics footprint.
1140 Additional systems provide the capability to remotely sense enemy movement, then
1141 responsively fire, and physically occupy the site.
1142 In seeking to isolate an urban area, joint force commanders use a combination of
1143 means to contain the situation. Containment to a geographical location is an alternative.
1144 Containing the enemy force or a portion of it by force is an option until the joint force
1145 commander is prepared to take further action. Of course, the civilian population as well
1146 as external entities and groups occupying and transiting a particular urban area can be
1147 contained. Here, urban infrastructure and services can actually be used to help shape and
1148 contain the designated urban area. Examples of such leveraging might be the
1149 exploitation of the local media, use of police forces, and selective control of
1150 transportation networks and the distribution of water, electrical power and food.
1151 Commanders create barriers to enemy movement through the use of natural barriers like
1152 rivers, as well as forces on the ground. Information operations create barriers to refute or
1153 deny adversary influences on local populaces or population segments. Ground forces,
1154 supported by air, space and information operations, can be used to attack and occupy the
1155 segmented section. In some cases, the best response may be nonkinetic rather than
1156 kinetic. For example, the US may employ information operations to intimidate or
1157 threaten an adversary, especially if the adversary is aware of the US capabilities to
1158 achieve lethal effects. The US could also conduct a coordinated deception operation or
1159 ruse to isolate an adversary. Additionally, commanders may have to work with the local
JROCM 211-02, Family of Non-Lethal Capabilities Mission Need Statement, 10 Dec 2002
1160 population to help physically isolate the adversary or areas that we want to keep the
1161 adversary from occupying.
1162 There are two potential constructs operational commanders employ to help isolate the
1163 adversary in the urban environment. Soft point capture and expansion depicted in Figure
1164 3 below is based on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance of enemy force
1165 locations. Undefended (soft point) areas in a city are captured and used as portals for
1166 attacks on the remainder of the city. The intent is to establish secure forward operating
1167 bases that threaten the enemy forces from multiple and unexpected directions,
1168 dislocating the enemy’s forces and disrupting the coherence of his operation.
1169 Soft point capture and expansion requires the insertion of ground forces into the city
1170 to occupy an area. Successful execution of this construct requires effective urban
1171 command and control, intracity mobility in the face of mines, booby traps, and
1172 hazardous materials, and the capability for close combat and medical support, even with
1173 the expectation of only light enemy resistance. Finally, in any occupied area, US forces
1174 must quickly begin restoring security, restoring infrastructure, and supporting civilians to
1175 include preparing for WMD or WME mitigation. Soft point capture and expansion may
1176 require more advanced nonlethal munitions, low-level ISR capabilities, psychological
1177 operations assistance, and interagency support.
1179 Figure 3 Soft Point Capture and Expansion
1180 The joint force commander uses air or ground movement over or through relatively
1181 undefended areas to insert ground forces into relatively undefended areas. These forces
1182 would be supported by air, space and information operations to provide protection, e.g.,
1183 countering the mobility of nearby enemy forces and providing suppression of enemy air
1184 defenses, and time-urgent logistics support. Then additional ground forces would be
1185 inserted, to enable expansion from the area into adjacent areas. Here, a standard combat
1186 identification system for all friendly forces is imperative.
1187 Another means of using our strength to create and exploit enemy weakness is through
1188 the segment and capture construct depicted in Figure 4. Segment and capture uses
1189 counter-mobility to fix selected enemy forces or capabilities in place to permit capture of
1190 a key location or area. It can be used to segment selected enemy forces, so they can be
1191 defeated piecemeal. It can be used to section-off and take over sections of a city at a time
1192 when the enemy has few forces deployed in them. Or, it can be used to capture central
1193 caches of arms and supplies, to prevent their use in support of units throughout a city.
1194 While soft point capture strives to exploit an enemy vulnerability, the ―segment and
1195 capture‖ construct creates enemy weaknesses by physically driving a wedge into the
1196 cohesion of his force. Identifying those points the enemy has overlooked and exploiting
1197 such gaps can lead to deep and rapid penetration of the enemy’s defenses and collapse of
1198 his coherence. Friendly employment of segment and capture must include air, surface,
1199 subsurface, and cyberspace components. Friendly operations will be supported with
1200 adequate information operations and cued by intelligence systems, and autonomous
1201 sensors organized to observe and predict enemy movements and activities.
1203 Figure 4 Segment and Capture
1206 3.C.5 Take the initiative and control the tempo of operations.
1207 Identify gaps in the adversary’s capabilities and rapidly exploit them.
1208 Overwhelm the adversary with sufficient capability, multidimensional attack, high
1209 velocity, and persistence.
1210 Minimize collateral damage to civilians and the infrastructure.
1211 Control the pace and tempo of operations
1212 Commanders have the freedom of action to conduct their missions rapidly, precisely,
1213 and within the commander’s intent. Adversaries can constitute a defense in urban terrain
1214 relatively quickly and easily. Even the most proficient adversary, however, cannot
1215 defend everything and everywhere. Commanders may keep adversaries off balance by
1216 varying operations as much as possible. Examples of such variations are the random
1217 emplacement of check points and road blocks, the use of random patrol routes and
1218 varying of surveillance techniques. When engagements are conducted and surprise is
1219 achieved, the effect must be overwhelming. Overwhelming the adversary requires
1220 knowledge of his capabilities and activities in order to control the tempo of operations
1221 with sufficient capability, multidimensional attack, high velocity, and persistence, with
1222 no operational pauses. Engagements must provide reasonable certainty of achieving the
1223 desired effect on the enemy—but with reduced risk of injury to noncombatants, collateral
1224 damage, or fratricide. These engagements are not always discrete operations; some
1225 require follow up and longer duration engagements to achieve desired effects. Both
1226 conventional and unconventional forces can provide rapid and precise small and large-
1227 scale direct action forces with unique precision engagement capabilities to operate
1228 discriminately in the urban environment with minimal collateral damage. The precise
1229 actions taken by Special Operations Forces can be discrete or complementary to actions
1230 taken by conventional forces.
1231 In urban operations, there is high potential of unintended consequences having an
1232 impact on long-term plans or end states. As such, precision is critical. The capability to
1233 detect, identify positively, and track with precision friendly and enemy forces, neutrals,
1234 and other groups located in an urban environment is essential. Additionally, the ability to
1235 acquire a target and generate the desired effect rapidly, i.e., compressed sensor-to-effect
1236 engagement cycle time, is required. As depicted in Figure 5 below, precision
1237 engagement involves highly accurate attacks—combining kinetic and nonkinetic means
1238 to achieve desired lethal and nonlethal effects—against the enemy’s capabilities. It could
1239 be used to destroy a unique capability like WMD production, munitions, and delivery
1240 systems or to conduct sensitive site exploitations. It could be used to cut off enemy
1241 forces from outside sources of supply and reinforcement. Or, it could be used to aid in
1242 understanding the situation, by suppressing a key infrastructure (e.g., phones, electricity)
1243 and permitting observation of the resulting changes in activities.
1246 Figure 5 Precision Engagement
1248 Some urban-unique challenges in using precision engagement are conducting attacks
1249 where structures can interfere with delivery, doing three-dimensional targeting, and
1250 attacking underground targets in populated areas. Urban terrain limits line of sight optics
1251 and direct fire targeting. Delivering emergency joint urban close air support in close
1252 proximity to friendly troops and noncombatants presents challenges. Potentially,
1253 extremely high value urban targets are hidden far below the surface. Identifying these
1254 underground targets, and then attacking them with precision is required.
1255 Precision engagement puts a large demand on the joint force commander’s
1256 understanding of the situation, and requires unique capabilities including the ability for
1257 rapidly developing three-dimensional maps and imagery of the city; identifying critical
1258 nodes and how they interact; locating enemy forces and their movement; and assessing
1259 the effects of the engagements.
1260 Precision engagement employs a variety of joint means, including information
1261 operations, air strike operations, special operations direct action, terminal guidance, and
1262 ground force attack by engagement and maneuver. Additionally, a joint and combined
1263 decision-making process must accommodate distributed, simultaneous urban activities
1264 throughout the campaign. Joint fire support coordination receives great attention.
1265 Precision routing of information is essential. Precision traffic control (air, surface, and
1266 subsurface) is critical to navigate in the clutter and rubble of urban terrain. Complexity is
1267 amplified in urban operations.
1269 3.C.6 Engage the adversary comprehensively.
1270 Engage the enemy with multiple means and at multiple locations simultaneously
1271 and persistently.
1272 Combine offensive, defensive and stability operations to consolidate gains and
1273 expand on success.
1274 Use knowledge-enhanced precision means to deny the enemy the protection that
1275 may be gained from the urban environment.
1276 Employ military and nonmilitary means for kinetic and nonkinetic engagement to
1277 achieve lethal and nonlethal effects.
1278 Incorporate information operations to gain local populace support and to degrade
1279 enemy command and control.
1280 Employ an adaptive, robust, and responsive force projection and sustainment
1281 system to support unique urban employment schemes.
1283 In the urban environment, engagements can range from major combat operations to
1284 humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. In order to engage adversaries in a
1285 comprehensive manner, commanders must apply and integrate appropriate efforts of
1286 intelligence, civil affairs, engineers, special operations forces, military police, and local
1287 law enforcement, as well as the efforts of multiagencies and NGOs. In this environment,
1288 the ability generating nonlethal effects can be valuable asset and applied across the full
1289 range of military operations. For example, denying key services to the adversary, or to a
1290 population that is sympathetic to the adversary, can prove valuable. Preventing the
1291 population from conducting routine day-to-day activity may be required, or possibly just
1292 the opposite since the enemy may be preventing the local population from its daily
1293 routine activity. It could be in the best interest of the US-led force to generate nonlethal
1294 effects to exploit the tension and anger between the enemy and the local population. For
1295 the US to generate lethal effects would be extremely counterproductive in this instance.
1296 Care should be exercised even when applying nonlethal effects to prevent inciting the
1297 local population and causing otherwise friendly support to transform into allegiance for
1298 the enemy.
1299 Consolidating gains in and securing the urban environment for military and
1300 nonmilitary operations may require the US-led force to conduct defensive operations.
1301 Defense, however, does not necessarily imply weakness. Defense in one location often
1302 coincides with offense in another. Similarly, defense at one level of war can be
1303 undertaken while on offense at a different level. It is costly and difficult to be strong
1304 enough to attack everywhere at the same time, all of the time, in a large urban area.
1305 Ideally, urban operations are conducted on terms favorable to US and friendly forces.
1306 While there is a US cultural bias in favor of the offensive, these terms will likely include
1307 defensive operations as determined by the commander. The best solution lies with a
1308 creative and insightful combination of both offense and defense in joint urban operations.
1309 The goal is to use both offensive and defensive means to ensure friendly forces have
1310 freedom to maneuver.
1311 As described earlier in 3.C.4, joint urban operations employ knowledge-enabled
1312 precision engagements at critical nodes to disrupt enemy systems, causing detrimental
1313 effects on the enemy’s ability to operate as he intends. Precision engagement creates
1314 effects that may include the seizure, disruption, control or destruction of power grids,
1315 communication centers, etc. This can involve controlling key terrain or infrastructure,
1316 unhinging the enemy’s decision cycle, cutting or controlling inter- and intra-city mobility
1317 and communications, triggering an enemy’s response, or positioning forces to accomplish
1318 another part of the campaign. Synchronized planning, ISR, engagement, and battle
1319 damage assessment are essential to relentless urban operations. The goal is not just
1320 movement to positions inside a city but to apply strength against the enemy’s weakness,
1321 using tempo, momentum and initiative in multiple domains as shaping and controlling
1322 mechanisms to shatter his organizational command and cohesion.
1323 Information operations in urban environments are conducted for various reasons.
1324 Among them is the desire to influence the understanding, behaviors, and perceptions of
1325 the urban environment’s civilian population. The objective here is to secure the
1326 population’s support for our operations and to separate the civilian population from the
1327 enemy forces, both physically and mentally. The US attempts to convince the population
1328 of the inevitable success of our operation, the legitimacy of our cause, and the beneficial
1329 effects that our success will generate, as well as create a human medium that is resistant
1330 to enemy operations. Potential actions include: control of electromagnetic spectrum and
1331 other local media, civil affairs missions, development of effective messages, publicizing
1332 international legitimacy of the operation, announcing plans to restore credible law
1333 enforcement and judicial systems, conducting humanitarian relief operations for the
1334 urban population in distress, and declaring that the US and international community will
1335 stay the course until a degree of normalcy returns to the area. Further, the tempo of
1336 operations is affected by civil and public works projects. The pace of these operations
1337 directly impacts the joint force credibility and popular support.
1338 In particular, humanitarian assistance, when coupled with effective information
1339 operations can be a powerful tool to sway public support. For example, media coverage
1340 of the joint force directly providing or coordinating NGO humanitarian efforts to feed,
1341 shelter, and provide medical care to the local population can help counter adversary
1342 efforts to paint us as evil invaders. This type of coverage can be used to turn opinion
1343 against the adversary and could also prove to be an effective tool in gaining favorable
1344 international support.
1345 Information operations are also conducted against the adversary and his support
1346 structure. Here, aggressive techniques are employed as either a stand-alone operation, or
1347 more likely, as a key component of a larger multidimensional operation to deceive,
1348 confuse, destabilize, demoralize, disorient, and eventually destroy the adversary. In this
1349 case, the information operations are ―nested‖ and synchronized from the strategic level
1350 down to the tactical-level. An information operations vision must be articulated and
1351 properly translated in order to be appropriate and relevant at each level and complement
1352 actions of the overall information operations plan.
1353 Neutral nations, their militaries, and other international organizations are also subject
1354 to coalition information operations. The intent here is to either keep them neutral and out
1355 of the fray, or persuade them to join with the US-led coalition in opposing the adversary.
1356 In this case, support from previously neutral nations does not necessarily equate to
1357 providing military forces. Support could be in the form of stopping or starting trade with
1358 a particular nation, debt forgiveness of the affected nation, pro-US United Nations
1359 Security Council votes, and allowing US-led coalition transit and basing rights. The
1360 entire spectrum of information operations must be considered or employed in the urban
1361 fight. The potential payoffs can hasten the achievement of both military and strategic end
1363 Finally, the supported joint force commander requires a deployment and sustainment
1364 construct that is flexible and robust enough to support his urban employment schemes as
1365 well as those of his peer leaders. The ability to fight in an urban environment is useless if
1366 the deployment and sustainment systems cannot support it. Deployment and sustainment
1367 challenges abound. Adversary anti-access and area denial strategies within urban centers
1368 complicate force projection and distribution-based sustainment until improved airfields
1369 and seaports are available. Joint sea basing, ship-to-shore, and ship-to-air-to-shore
1370 deployment and sustainment offer partial solutions. Rapidly constructed expeditionary
1371 airfields assist also. The enemy seeks out our deployment and sustainment networks,
1372 critical nodes, air corridors, and convoys assuming that they are not well defended, thus
1373 vulnerable to intrusion, sniping, raids, and ambushes. Our movements of forces,
1374 supplies, and equipment must not be predictable in urban operations. Our deployment
1375 and sustainment platforms must have some means of self-protection. Our deployers and
1376 sustainers themselves require individual protective equipment. Every US and coalition
1377 serviceman or servicewoman, regardless of specialty, is a target in the enemy’s
1378 crosshairs. Also, logistics command and control, communications, and information
1379 networks that contribute to persistent deployment, employment, and sustainment
1380 situational awareness and shared understanding must remain operative in a hostile urban
1382 In 2015, agile operating bases and urban caches of critical supplies are established
1383 when and where required. These small operating bases and caches may be monitored and
1384 protected by a combination of sensors and robotics. The robotics may be capable of both
1385 kinetic and nonkinetic responses once a threat is confirmed. Conceivably, robotic
1386 platforms actually distribute critical supplies, and evacuate casualties. Both manned and
1387 unmanned aerial logistics vehicles are employed routinely. Anticipated supplies are
1388 postured for immediate multimodal delivery to supported forces throughout the urban
1389 area. Fewer thin-skinned sustainment platforms exist. The protection differential
1390 between combat and supporting platforms declines by 2015. Additionally, the urban
1391 support concept is inextricably linked to the maneuver concept of urban operations. Both
1392 are synchronized, aligned, and flexible. By 2015, deployment, employment, and
1393 sustainment activities promote rapid force projection into an urban fight regardless of
1394 conditions, expansion of maneuver options, and improved force protection.
1396 3.C.7 Ensure every action contributes to achieving the desired end state.
1397 Seek an urban end state that contributes to campaign ends and political aims.
1398 Recognize the costs associated with gains in an urban environment.
1399 Maintain an effects focus.
1400 Set a command climate where subordinate commanders, who understand and can
1401 operate within higher intent, can recognize and exploit opportunities as they arise.
1403 A thorough understanding of the environment, the enemy, and friendly capabilities
1404 enables the selection of the right place and time for effective engagements. Combining
1405 the right capabilities to achieve the effect desired is essential. Knowledge, precision, and
1406 maneuver capabilities to support distributed and noncontiguous operations enable
1407 accomplishing this requirement.
1408 The urban end state must contribute to the overall campaign end state and
1409 achievement of the overarching political aims. Precise action taken to achieve a specific
1410 effect while limiting unintended consequences is the ultimate application of the economy
1411 of force principle of war. In the urban operation, where each gain could come at
1412 considerable cost, nothing can be wasted. Every action must be consciously connected to
1413 an intended effect. Individual engagements will be annoying to the enemy, but not
1414 decisive. Aggregate engagement results, however, will ultimately determine his fate in
1415 the overall operation and campaign. The joint force commander must be able to link
1416 tactical successes, continuously consolidating our gains, and expanding our influence
1417 until we completely disrupt the enemy’s coherence and achieve operational and strategic
1419 Leaders are constantly exposed to time-sensitive, complex situations in which they
1420 must decide and act quickly. Well-understood ROE down to the individual level and
1421 professional judgment are relied upon in these situations. The joint force commander
1422 must understand that actions taken result in cascading effects on the environment, the
1423 enemy, and his own capabilities. Anticipating these effects is one of the key challenges
1424 of the art of command. Because the urban environment is made up of elements such as
1425 terrain, infrastructure, population, and information, a simple military-only solution to the
1426 operational challenges of the environment does not suffice. Cascading effects often occur
1427 with greater rapidity and intensity than in the traditional battlefield due to the dense
1428 human medium. Understanding these complex relationships will likely contribute to
1429 mission success. The operation is at least as complex as the environment. It not only
1430 requires military, but also political, legal, economic, infrastructure, information, and other
1431 capabilities to ensure success in the urban environment. The US interagency community
1432 and multinational partners have significant roles in future urban operations.
1434 3.C.8 Balance restraint and overmatching power.
1435 Understand that every action taken today impacts what we can do tomorrow.
1436 Use force precisely and discriminately.
1437 Limit collateral damage.
1438 The days of rubbling a city to defeat the enemy are past, if not forever, at least for
1439 now. We cannot accept the impact of rubbling a city on our ability to maneuver within
1440 the city, and we cannot accept the impact that rubbling has on subsequent operations, the
1441 support of the civilian populace, and world opinion. Precise application of force to
1442 achieve the desired effect is the key to applying this principle. By avoiding unnecessary
1443 harm to the adversary, civilians, civilian property, and the environment, the commander
1444 retains the moral high ground and sustains the legitimacy of the operations. Avoiding
1445 unnecessary destruction in an urban area also reduces the magnitude of post-conflict
1446 resources required from the US interagency community, nongovernmental organizations,
1447 private volunteer organizations, and multinational partners.
1448 The joint force commander must understand the consequences of military action on
1449 post-hostility recovery before the initiation of combat. The joint force must pay attention
1450 to what is targeted during bombing operations and ground force efforts to preserve
1451 infrastructure and civilian good will to the extent possible. In short, backward planning
1452 must look beyond combat operations to encompass consolidation, transition, and stability
1453 considerations. Control of looting, considerations regarding the influence of local
1454 leaders, and dealing with repeated transitions between combat and stability actions at the
1455 tactical-level are only three of many areas that the joint force commander must keep in
1456 mind for an urban operation.17
1457 As mentioned previously in this concept, our leaders must anticipate time-sensitive,
1458 complex situations in urban operations. To prevent unnecessary death and destruction as
1459 well as violations of The Law of Land Warfare, our ROE must be well conceived, widely
1460 distributed, understood by all forces, applied, and enforced. Our leaders must be trained
RAND Joint Urban Operations OEF/OIF Observations and Insights Quick Look Briefing, dated 31
1461 thoroughly to know when, where, and how to use both kinetic and nonkinetic means to
1462 achieve both lethal and nonlethal effects in an urban operation. In a dynamic and
1463 complex urban environment, effectively balancing restraint with overmatching power and
1464 balancing operational risk with collateral damage requires commanders to adapt as the
1465 situation warrants, proffering either the ―velvet glove‖ to persuade or the ―mailed fist‖ to
1472 Section 4 – CAPABILITIES
1474 Sections 4.A through 4.E below are essential urban operation capabilities, categorized by
1475 functional area (Command and Control, Battlespace Awareness, Force Application,
1476 Focused Logistics, and Protection). To execute future urban operations the joint force
1477 commander and his force require the ability to:
1479 4.A Command and Control Capabilities
1481 4.A.1 Facilitate timely and synchronized collaboration and information sharing through-
1482 out the US-led coalition force including interagency and multinational partners,
1483 appropriate NGOs, and law enforcement organizations down to the user level.
1484 4.A.2 Express commander’s intent that describes desired effects and the eventual end
1485 state, without undue focus on specified tasks and assures understanding of the
1486 commander’s intent and of the particular urban area at the lowest, actionable, relevant
1488 4.A.3 Communicate rapidly in multiple languages and dialects, on demand, regardless of
1489 conditions, at the lowest relevant level.
1490 4.A.4 Maintain and operate a robust, secure, reliable, joint network that allows
1491 continuous use by the US-led coalition force, interagency community, and appropriate
1492 NGOs and law enforcement organizations under challenging connectivity conditions,
1493 e.g., line-of-sight obstruction, found in an urban environment.
1494 4.A.5 Transfer US and coalition security functions from the joint force to local forces.
1495 4.A.6 Synchronize and manage civil-military activities among US and coalition
1496 headquarters, interagency community, local civilian governments, contractors, and other
1497 parties in order to return an urban area to a functional posture.
1498 4.A.7 Employ high-resolution modeling, simulations, and other decision support tools
1499 that incorporate friendly, enemy, and neutral forces, plus the urban population in order to
1500 conduct rehearsals, assess courses of action, and make better decisions faster than the
1501 enemy in an urban operation.
1502 4.A.8 Synchronize urban combat operations, humanitarian assistance operations, and
1503 security, transition, and reconstruction operations, potentially simultaneously.
1504 4.A.9 Develop and distribute well-conceived ROE that prevent unnecessary death and
1505 destruction and preclude negative strategic impact.
1506 4.B Battlespace Awareness Capabilities
1508 4.B.1 Establish a persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor
1509 network, including HUMINT, in order to ―see first, see clearly, see in depth‖, and
1510 understand first at the operational- and tactical-levels in an urban environment.
1511 4.B.2 Maneuver, emplace, and retrieve various types of sensors through all urban
1512 dimensions to provide surveillance of airspace, surface and subsurface (i.e. subterranean
1513 and underwater) activities as well as structure interiors.
1514 4.B.3 Generate and maintain an urban operational assessment that includes: human
1515 factors assessments of population actions and reactions, knowledge of specific
1516 infrastructure services capabilities, likely adversary intentions, and cultural profiles.
1517 4.B.4 Gain and maintain operational, tactical, cultural, ethnic, religious, and economic
1518 situational awareness and understanding before and during the conduct of urban
1520 4.B.5 Detect, identify positively, and track with precision friendly and enemy forces,
1521 neutrals, and other groups in close proximity and at standoff distances, including
1522 individual leadership figures and high-value targets, in a complex and chaotic urban
1524 4.B.6 Provide rapidly updated three-dimensional mapping, imagery, and other products
1525 with the fidelity required to operate in urban terrain, down to the lowest tactical-level.
1526 4.B.7 Comprehensively, expertly, and robustly collect, analyze and synthesize
1527 information to develop knowledge. Use urban area studies, local culture, languages and
1528 families of knowledge bases to help turn information into knowledge.
1529 4.B.8 Perform assessment of US and coalition lethal and nonlethal effects including
1530 immediate effects, both intended and collateral, as well as estimates of related short-term
1531 second- and higher-order effects, and long-term impacts.
1532 4.B.9 Conduct US and coalition operations utilizing a standard combat identification
1533 system that is effective in an urban environment.
1534 4.B.10 Detect, locate and place under positive joint force control all conventional
1535 weapons and explosives caches as well as WME that may be hidden throughout the urban
1538 4.C Force Application Capabilities
1540 4.C.1 Engage a broad spectrum of urban targets with precision and discrimination at
1541 short and far ranges without unnecessarily damaging infrastructure, injuring
1542 noncombatants, or exposing friendly forces to the harmful effects of their own fires.
1543 4.C.2 Employ trained and equipped forces to exploit, to include repairing and
1544 maintaining, at will, the various urban utilities, transportation, and communications
1545 systems for specified periods of time.
1546 4.C.3 Employ a US-led force to build a sense of security within the urban population.
1547 4.C.4 Conduct multidimensional maneuver at will into, within, and out of an urban
1548 battlespace, while maintaining situational awareness.
1549 4.C.5 Rapidly project and reinforce forces, both mounted and dismounted, in the urban
1550 battlespace with the ability to bypass chokepoints, obstacles, roads, and enemy strong
1552 4.C.6 Deny sanctuary to adversaries and criminal elements in order for US-led forces to
1553 operate effectively within an urban environment.
1554 4.C.7 Gain and maintain control of the electromagnetic spectrum and local public
1555 information domain, e.g., telephone, television, radio, newsprint, and Internet, all of
1556 which serve the urban area.
1557 4.C.8 Rapidly decide and respond, i.e., compressed sensor-to-effect engagement cycle, at
1558 the lowest practical level, with the appropriate kinetic and nonkinetic means to achieve
1559 the desired lethal and nonlethal effects.
1560 4.C.9 Employ capabilities to deliver nonlethal effects to complement systems delivering
1561 lethal effects. This includes the use of nonlethal means to control crowds.
1562 4.C.10 Control long-term negative impact on the environment.
1563 4.C.11 Provide effective planning and execution for both friendly and enemy perception
1564 management activities, including propaganda, psychological operations, electronic
1565 warfare, operational security measures, deception, Civil Affairs activities, etc.
1566 4.C.12 Enable dismounted ground forces to access urban structures from unexpected
1567 entry points, like upper story windows, rooftops, and breached walls, or through locked
1568 entry points.
1569 4.C.13 Provide capability to breach obstacles and blockades to ensure joint force
1571 4.C.14 Provide freedom of maneuver. Enable ground vehicles to maneuver past
1572 obstacles. Enable aircraft to maneuver around wires, towers, etc.
1575 4.D Focused Logistics Capabilities
1577 4.D.1 Establish and operate an adaptive, and ubiquitous distribution-based sustainment
1578 system, along with a reliable informational architecture, so that agile and widely
1579 dispersed forces in an urban operation do not outrun or lose their ability to request and
1580 receive time-definite support, with customer wait time measured in minutes and hours
1581 rather than days and weeks.
1582 4.D.2 Move forces, supplies, and equipment into and throughout the urban environment
1583 in an unpredictable manner, and evacuate wounded personnel to secure locations, even
1584 when strategic, intratheater, and urban lines of communication are not secure, access
1585 through fixed seaports and airfields in or near the city is denied, and supported forces are
1586 widely dispersed throughout the city.
1587 4.D.3 Maintain persistent deployment, employment, and sustainment situational
1588 awareness, and achieve situational understanding at multiple echelons (to include
1589 coalition partners), enabled by a coherently joint logistics common relevant operational
1590 picture, a reliable information and communications network, and automated decision
1591 support tools to anticipate, predict, plan collaboratively, synchronize, and satisfy urban
1592 deployment and sustainment requirements.
1593 4.D.4 Provide the JFC with dispersed, fully netted and sovereign sea based platforms
1594 that are ready to respond to the JFC’s logistical needs. These platforms include carrier
1595 strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, combat logistics force ships, maritime pre-
1596 positioned force platforms and in the near future, high-speed support vessels.
1598 4.D.5 Restore or improve basic infrastructure services to meet the fundamental needs of
1599 the urban population.
1601 4.E Protection Capabilities
1603 4.E.1 Provide adequate force protection to overcome reduced engagement geometry, i.e.,
1604 shorter engagement distances, compressed response times, and varying angles of attack,
1605 common to urban combat operations.
1606 4.E.2 Mitigate the effects of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and weapons of mass
1607 effects (WME) on the US-led coalition force, civilian population, and infrastructure.
1608 4.E.3 Protect deployment, command and control, and sustainment nodes, lines of
1609 communication (LOCs) and main supply routes (MSRs), platforms, and operations in the
1610 objective area, en route, and at knowledge production and ISR centers, to include those
1611 located in CONUS.
1612 4.E.4 Minimize the enemy’s efforts to detect, track, target, attack, raid, and ambush the
1613 US-led force while operating in a hostile urban environment.
1614 4.E.5 Address consequence management and mass casualties amongst civilians without
1615 adversely affecting the operational requirements of the mission.
1616 4. E.6 Detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and protection against IED
1618 4.E.7 Detect and protect against vehicle and individual borne explosive devices.
1620 4.F Immediate Actions.
1621 Following are several recommended actions that might be considered for immediate
1622 implementation. These recommendations are derived from several sources: the various
1623 writers and reviewers of the concept, analysis of lessons learned of ongoing operations
1624 and from the results of Joint experimentation to date. These are suggestions as to ways
1625 we might ―jump start‖ while building the long-term capabilities described in section 4.
1627 4.F.1. Leader Development. Immediately develop professional military education
1628 curricula for each leader development program (from noncommissioned officer
1629 professional development through courses for senior leaders, across all services and
1630 branches) that acquaints emerging leaders with the challenges of the urban environment
1631 and the emerging tactics, techniques, and procedures for operating in the urban
1632 environment; and provides a better appreciation of the human relations component in
1633 dealing with civilians. Senior service colleges and selected other courses should include
1634 education on the military officer as civil governor. The many demands on commanders
1635 and their staffs dictate that leader development has to prepare them for positions in
1636 military governments. Instruction should address such topics as the nature of urban
1637 physical and social infrastructures, interrelationships between the infrastructure
1638 components, design and maintenance of shaping campaigns and strategic planning that
1639 encompasses orchestration of a wide range of civilian as well as military capabilities.
1641 4.F.2. Unit Training. We lack sufficiently detailed and robust training programs and
1642 training facilities for preparing units of all services to operate effectively in the urban
1643 environment and to maintain those critical, perishable skill sets. Immediately:
1644 Refine and develop tactics, techniques, and procedures for urban competencies
1645 both at the service component level and for the joint team.
1646 Design realistic training facilities and simulations for home-station training on
1647 critical urban tactical tasks and development of operational-level expertise.
1648 Include a major joint urban training capability in the design for the Joint National
1649 Training Capability.
1650 Embed a joint urban operations training situation in every event within the
1651 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff’s exercise program.
1652 Include interagency elements (and when possible selected nongovernmental,
1653 private volunteer, and multinational organizations) in all operational-level joint
1654 training exercises.
1656 4.F.3. Policy Review. Review existing policy to identify existing impediments to
1657 interagency operations and recommend actions required to mitigate any existing
1660 4.F.4. Center of Excellence for JUO. Establish a Department of Defense Center of
1661 Excellence for Joint Urban Operations to integrate the urban operations development
1662 activities of the services and develop the joint programs, training, and education regimens
1663 necessary to implement the concepts for joint urban operations.
1665 4.G. Joint Urban Operations Capability Mapping to Joint Operations Concepts
1666 Core Capabilities.
1667 Table 2 below maps the capabilities identified in this concept to the eight common core
1668 capabilities identified in the Joint Operations Concepts.
1671 Table 2 JUO Capabilities Mapping to JOpsC Core Capabilities
Para JUO Capability
4.A.1 Collaboration and information sharing including interagency X X X X X
4.A.2 Express Commander’s intent X X X X X
Command & Control
4.A.3 Communicate in multiple languages on demand X X X X X X X X
4.A.4 Urban environment-capable joint, coalition, IA network X X X X X X X
4.A.5 Transition security role to local forces X X X X X
4.A.6 Manage civil-military activities to restore urban functions X X X X X X X X
4.A.7 High resolution modeling & simulation, decision support X X X X X X X X
4.A.8 Synch combat, stability, & humanitarian assist opns X X X X X
4.A.9 Develop and distribute well-conceived ROE X X X X X X
4.B.1 Persistent ISR sensor network suited to urban environment X X X X X X X
4.B.2 Maneuver, emplace and retrieve sensors in all urban dimensions X X X X X X X
4.B.3 Urban operational assessment X X X X
4.B.4 Situational awareness including cultural, religious, geo-economic X X X X X X
4.B.5 Detect and track with precision in urban environment X X X X X X X X
4.B.6 3-D mapping & imagery X X X X X X X
4.B.7 Intelligence collection and analysis X X X X X X X
4.B.8 Lethal and nonlethal effects assessment X X X X X X X
4.B.9 Urban-effective standard combat identification system X X X X X
4.B.10 Detect and locate hidden weapons, explosives and WME X X X X
4.C.1 Engage urban targets with precision and discrimination X X X X X
4.C.2 Exploit selected local utilities, transportation and comm systems X X X X X
4.C.3 Build a sense of security within the urban population X X X X X
4.C.4 Multidimensional maneuver in urban battlespace X X X X X X X X
4.C.5 Rapidly project and reinforce forces in urban battlespace X X X X X X X
4.C.6 Deny sanctuary to enemy and criminal elements X X X X X X
4.C.7 Control local public information domain X X X X X
4.C.8 Rapid sensor-to-effect engagement cycle X X X X X X X
4.C.9 Employ capabilities to deliver non-lethal effects X X X
4.C.10 Control long term negative impact on the environment X
Provide effective planning and execution for both friendly and enemy perception
management activities X X X X X
Enable dismounted ground forces to access urban structures from unexpected entry
points, X X X X
Provide capability to breach obstacles and blockades to ensure joint force mobility. X X X X
Provide freedom of maneuver. Enable ground vehicles to maneuver past obstacles.
4.C.14 Enable aircraft to maneuver around wires, towers, etc. X X X
4.D.1 Adaptive distribution-based sustainment X X X X X X
4.D.2 Move forces, supplies, and equipment in urban environment X X X X X
4.D.3 Persistent DES situational awareness X X X X X X X
4.D.4 Dispersed, fully netted and soveriegn sea based platforms for logistical needs X X X X
4.D.5 Restore basic urban infrastructure services X X X
4.E.1 Close combat force protection in urban terrain X X X X
4.E.2 WMD/WME protection of forces, civilians and infrastructure X X X X X
4.E.3 Protect deployment, C2 and logisitics X X X X X X
4.E.4 Minimize detectability and vulnerability to attack X X X X X X X X
4.E.5 Consequence management including mass casualties X X
4.E.6 Detect IEDs protect forces from IED detonations. X
1672 4.E.7 Detect and protect against vehicle and individual borne explosive devices X X X X
1677 During the coming decades the US will almost certainly be called upon to conduct
1678 military operations in urban areas characterized by multiple structures, many
1679 noncombatants, and complex infrastructure. Such areas are political, cultural, and
1680 economic centers, as well as hubs for transportation, information and manufacturing. As
1681 conflict still occurs between peoples and their wills, the focus remains on civilians, and
1682 therefore on urban areas. The urban environment constrains many of the advantages that
1683 US forces currently enjoy in open environments, and operations there involve risks of
1684 high casualties to friendly forces and noncombatants, and extensive collateral damage. In
1685 many scenarios such unintended consequences may complicate or nullify the goals of US
1687 Because the urban environment is increasingly important to national security interests,
1688 concern for our capabilities in that environment is on the rise. Our goal in operating in
1689 this very complex and compressed environment should be to achieve our objectives with
1690 fewer friendly casualties, less collateral damage to urban infrastructure, and reduced
1691 harm to the noncombatant population than we are capable of doing today. Operational
1692 commanders must keep the desired political end state foremost in their minds as they
1693 conduct operations in urban environments. Success is hinged on understanding,
1694 controlling, and exploiting the urban environment (e.g., terrain, infrastructure, population,
1695 and information); sensing, locating, isolating, and defeating the adversary; and applying
1696 power rapidly, precisely, and discriminately. This paper lays out eight principles and
1697 numerous capabilities to help guide the thoughts, decisions, and actions of operational
1698 commanders conducting operations in an urban environment. This concept will enable
1699 US forces to function more effectively in the uncertain, chaotic, and fluid urban
1701 The Joint Urban Operations Concept Paper is intended to be a fluid, living document
1702 that provides the current thinking regarding the way ahead. It will evolve as more is
1703 learned about the ideas and capabilities described herein, and as insights are gained
1704 through real-world experience and experimentation. It is to be viewed as a starting point
1705 for subsequent discussion and activities aimed at providing future joint force
1706 commanders with effective tools for conducting urban operations.
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