The U.S. military, specifically the Army and Marines, have adopted new procedures within which to fight an “urban” war, where up to 70 percent of the world’s population will live in as little as a couple of decades, explains a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
There are issues involving collateral damage, the opinion of noncombatants, the diminished effectiveness of firepower in those confines, and more.
The key, however, appears to be in the warning that, “Destroying an urban area to save it is not an option for commanders.”
The outline has been posted online, and explains that military commanders will be the ones who decide “if it is necessary and possible to conduct urban operations … early in the planning [of] a major operation.”
“They consider the location and intent of the threat force; critical infrastructure or capabilities that are operationally or strategically valuable; the geographic location of an urban area; and the area’s political, economic, or cultural significance.”
The guidelines explained, “Humanitarian concerns require control of an urban area or necessitate operations within it. Commanders conduct urban operations because they provide a tactical, political, or economic advantage, or not doing so threatens the larger campaign.”
One of the major issues will be collateral damage.
Not just buildings and infrastructure – the lives too.
“Collateral damage influences world and domestic opinion of military operations and thus directly affects ongoing operations resulting in headquarters holding commanders to a higher degree of restraint and precision in their operations. Collateral damage also influences the post conflict physical environment and attitudes of the population. Negative impressions of the civilian population caused by collateral damage can take generations to overcome,” the standards explain.
“The density of civilian populations in urban areas and the multidimensional nature of the environment make it more likely that even accurate attacks with precision weapons will injure noncombatants. While preparatory military information support operations and nonlethal measures can greatly reduce civilian casualties, some degree of collateral damage may be unavoidable. If collateral damage is likely to be of sufficient magnitude, it may justify avoiding urban operations, which though tactically successful, would run counter to national and strategic objectives,” the guidelines note.
The goals remain the same … to defeat an enemy.
“Army/Marine Corps forces achieve offensive surprise at the operational and tactical levels. In urban offensive operations, operational surprise is decisive. The goal is to attack the urban area before the enemy expects it, from an unexpected direction, or in an unexpected manner. In urban operations, this requires an attack against urban areas that the enemy believes will provide sanctuary from the technological advantages of Army/Marine Corps forces,” the guidelines say.
“Usually, urban areas that meet this criterion are not easily accessible. Army/Marine Corps forces launch an attack against these urban areas differently: through a vertical assault using airborne or air assault forces, through an amphibious assault, or through a penetration followed by a rapid and deep advance. All three attacks aim to achieve surprise and to deny the enemy time to prepare and establish a defense. Surprise in a major urban operation prevents the enemy from falling back to occupy prepared positions in and around an urban area.”