Few military operations are simple. But among those that are the most uniquely challenging are urban operations. This is why the Modern War Institute launched the Urban Warfare Project six years ago—to map the specific challenges presented by cities, define them, and participate in the difficult work of identifying solutions to overcome them. Because of their complexity, some of those challenges will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to detect until military forces first encounter them on the battlefield. That means many of the solutions will necessarily be the result of flexibility and improvisation.
Still, the best way to maximize readiness is in training. A number of specific things—capabilities, optimized training areas, and more—have come up in discussions about preparing for military operations in cities. But which of those are actually most necessary? John Spencer has been closely studying urban warfare for a decade. He has had the opportunity to visit a wide range of training sites in the United States and all over the world, surveying existing infrastructure and identifying gaps. In this episode, he presents a list of ten things often discussed as vital needs, describing which of those are most necessary for truly ensuring a military force is ready to operate, fight, and win in dense urban terrain.
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Image credit: Sgt. Bill Boecker, US Army