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FM 3-06 (FM 90-10)
URBAN
OPERATIONS
JUNE 2003
HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
*FM 3-06 (FM 90-10)
Field Manual HEADQUARTERS
No. 3-06 DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Washington, DC, 1 June 2003
Urban Operations
Contents
Page
FIGURES.................................................................................................................... iv
HISTORICAL VIGNETTES ....................................................................................... vii
PREFACE .................................................................................................................viii
Chapter 1 URBAN OUTLOOK .................................................................................................1-1
The Prospect of Urban Operations ..........................................................................1-2
Urban Perspective ....................................................................................................1-2
Historical Significance of Urban Areas in Warfare ...................................................1-3
Modern Army Urban Operations ............................................................................. 1-8
Chapter 2 URBAN ENVIRONMENT.........................................................................................2-1
A Complex Environment...........................................................................................2-2
Urban Terrain ...........................................................................................................2-3
Urban Society .........................................................................................................2-14
Urban Infrastructure ...............................................................................................2-19
Chapter 3 URBAN THREAT.....................................................................................................3-1
Asymmetry................................................................................................................3-2
Weapons of Mass Destruction .................................................................................3-2
Threat Operational Principles...................................................................................3-3
Urban Threat Tactics................................................................................................3-6
Negative Effects of Urbanization ............................................................................3-11
Chapter 4 CONTEMPLATING URBAN OPERATIONS ...........................................................4-1
Necessity of Urban Operations ................................................................................4-2
Characteristics of Major Urban Operations ..............................................................4-7
Integration into Land Operations ............................................................................4-10
Distribution Restriction: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
*This publication supersedes FM 90-10, 15 August 1979.
i
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
Chapter 5 FOUNDATIONS FOR URBAN OPERATIONS....................................................... 5-1
Urban Operational Framework ................................................................................ 5-1
Fundamentals of Urban Operations....................................................................... 5-12
General Effects on Operations .............................................................................. 5-16
Chapter 6 URBAN OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS...................................................................... 6-1
Purpose of Urban Offensive Operations.................................................................. 6-1
Characteristics of Urban Offensive Operations ....................................................... 6-2
Urban Offensive Operations and Battlefield Organization....................................... 6-6
Forms and Types of Urban Offense ........................................................................ 6-9
Urban Offensive Considerations............................................................................ 6-15
Chapter 7 URBAN DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS...................................................................... 7-1
Purpose of Urban Defensive Operations ................................................................. 7-1
Characteristics of Urban Defensive Operations ...................................................... 7-2
Urban Defensive Operations and Battlefield Organization...................................... 7-5
Types of Urban Defense .......................................................................................... 7-5
Urban Defensive Considerations ........................................................................... 7-10
Chapter 8 URBAN STABILITY OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT OPERATIONS ................... 8-1
Purpose of Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations............................. 8-2
Characteristics of Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations .................. 8-2
Urban Stability Operations, Support Operations, and Battlefield Organization....... 8-3
Types and Forms of Stability Operations and Support Operations ......................... 8-4
Considerations of Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations .................. 8-6
Chapter 9 URBAN COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT................................................................ 9-1
Urban CSS Characteristics ...................................................................................... 9-2
Logistics Preparation of the Theater........................................................................ 9-4
CSS Functions ......................................................................................................... 9-7
General Engineer Support ..................................................................................... 9-26
Civil-Military Operations ......................................................................................... 9-28
Appendix A SIEGE OF BEIRUT: AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF
URBAN OPERATIONS ...........................................................................................A-1
Overall Strategic Situation .......................................................................................A-1
Israeli Military Position .............................................................................................A-2
PLO Military Position................................................................................................A-2
Role of Civilians .......................................................................................................A-3
Information Operations ............................................................................................A-3
ii
Contents
iii
Conduct of the Urban Operations............................................................................ A-4
Lessons ................................................................................................................... A-6
Summary ............................................................................................................... A-10
Appendix B URBAN INTELLIGENCE PREPARATION OF THE BATTLEFIELD..................... B-1
Urbanization of IPB.................................................................................................. B-1
Significant Characteristics ....................................................................................... B-4
Threat Considerations ........................................................................................... B-11
Urban IPB Tools and Products.............................................................................. B-16
Appendix C OPERATIONS IN SOMALIA: APPLYING THE URBAN OPERATIONAL
FRAMEWORK TO SUPPORT AND STABILITY ................................................... C-1
General Situation..................................................................................................... C-1
Somali Operations ................................................................................................... C-2
Assess ..................................................................................................................... C-5
Shape ......................................................................................................................C-7
Dominate ................................................................................................................. C-7
Transition................................................................................................................. C-8
Summary ................................................................................................................. C-9
Appendix D JOINT AND MULTINATIONAL URBAN OPERATIONS ....................................... D-0
Purpose ................................................................................................................... D-0
Service Urban Capabilities ...................................................................................... D-1
Urban Functional Combatant Command Capabilities............................................. D-5
Multinational Considerations ................................................................................. D-10
SOURCE NOTES.................................................................................Source Notes-0
GLOSSARY ................................................................................................ Glossary-0
BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................Bibliography-1
INDEX................................................................................................................Index-0
Figures
Figure Page
1-1. Full Spectrum Urban Operations .................................................................. 1-3
1-2. UO and the Army Imperatives..................................................................... 1-10
2-1. Keys to Understanding the Urban Environment ........................................... 2-2
2-2. The Multidimensional Urban Battlefield ........................................................ 2-4
2-3. Broad Urban Patterns ................................................................................... 2-7
2-4. Basic Internal Street Patterns ....................................................................... 2-9
2-5. An Urban Model .......................................................................................... 2-10
2-6. Toxic Industrial Chemicals and Their Industrial or Commercial Uses ........ 2-12
2-7. Key Aspects of the Urban Society............................................................... 2-14
2-8. Urban Areas by Population Size ................................................................. 2-16
2-9. Simplified Analysis of Urban Society .......................................................... 2-16
2-10. UO–Society Cycle of Effects ....................................................................... 2-19
2-11. Urban Infrastructure .................................................................................... 2-20
3-1. Threat Operational Principles........................................................................ 3-3
3-2. Urban Threat Tactics..................................................................................... 3-7
3-3. Favored Threat Weapons ........................................................................... 3-11
3-4. Negative Effects of Urbanization................................................................. 3-12
3-5. Worldwide Population Projections .............................................................. 3-13
4-1. Risk Management and the Risks Associated with Urban Operations .......... 4-2
4-2. Organization of Historic Joint Urban Operations .......................................... 4-8
4-3. Urban ISR Considerations .......................................................................... 4-16
4-4. IO Elements and Related Activities............................................................. 4-19
4-5. Public Affairs Principles............................................................................... 4-23
5-1. The Urban Operational Framework and Battle Command ........................... 5-1
5-2. Urban Isolation .............................................................................................. 5-3
5-3. Panama ......................................................................................................... 5-8
5-4. The Fundamentals of Urban Operations..................................................... 5-11
5-5. Urban Maneuver Challenges and Means to Overcome Them ................... 5-17
5-6. Urban Effects on Fire Support Systems...................................................... 5-20
5-7. Methods to Overcome Urban Communications Challenges....................... 5-29
5-8. Compressed Tactical Factors ..................................................................... 5-31
6-1. Initial Attack in Brittany.................................................................................. 6-3
6-2. Subsequent Disposition of Forces in Brittany ............................................... 6-4
iv
__________________________________________________________________________________ Figures
6-3. Envelopment Isolates an Urban Area............................................................ 6-9
6-4. Turning Movement.........................................................................................6-9
6-5. Infiltration ....................................................................................................... 6-9
6-6. Penetration ..................................................................................................6-10
6-7. Frontal Attack............................................................................................... 6-10
6-8. Metz Envelopment ....................................................................................... 6-11
6-9. Metz Final Assault .......................................................................................6-12
6-10. Required Urban Reconnaissance Capabilities............................................ 6-17
6-11. Shaping Through Isolation...........................................................................6-18
6-12. Critical Sensor-to-Shooter Links.................................................................. 6-20
6-13. Reactions to Isolation .................................................................................. 6-20
6-14. Initial Attack to Isolate Hue ..........................................................................6-21
6-15. Subsequent Attack to Isolate Hue ............................................................... 6-22
6-16. Final Attack to Isolate Hue...........................................................................6-23
6-17. Coordination of SOF and Conventional Capabilities ................................... 6-24
6-18. Inchon-Seoul Campaign, September 1950 .................................................6-31
7-1. An Urban Area Incorporated Into a Larger Mobile Defense.......................... 7-6
7-2. German Attacks to Seize Stalingrad..............................................................7-7
7-3. German Attacks to Seize Stalingad, September 1942.................................. 7-8
7-4. Soviet Attack Traps German 6th Army .......................................................... 7-8
7-5. Retrograde Through an Urban Area.............................................................. 7-9
8-1. Characteristics of Stability Operations and Support Operations ................... 8-1
8-2. Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations ..................................... 8-4
8-3. Adaptability .................................................................................................. 8-12
9-1. CSS Characteristics....................................................................................... 9-2
9-2. The Urban Environment and Essential Elements of Logistic Information ..... 9-5
9-3. CSS Functions............................................................................................... 9-8
9-4. General Principles of the Law of War ..........................................................9-25
9-5. General Engineer Support........................................................................... 9-27
9-6. Civil Affairs Functional Skills........................................................................9-29
9-7. ASCOPE and the Urban Environment.........................................................9-30
A-1. The Steps of IPB............................................................................................A-1
A-2. Changing Relevance of Key Elements of the Urban Environment................A-3
A-3. Significant Urban Terrain Characteristics......................................................A-5
A-4. Significant Urban Societal Characteristics ....................................................A-7
A-5. Significant Urban Infrastructure Characteristics ............................................A-9
A-6. Civilian Threat–Friendly Continuum ............................................................A-13
A-7. Urban IPB Tools and Products ....................................................................A-15
v
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
B-1. USAF E-8 JSTARS Platform......................................................................... B-1
B-2. USN MK45 Lightweight Gun System ............................................................ B-4
B-3. USN MK V Special Operations Craft ............................................................ B-9
B-4. USAF AC-130 Gunship ................................................................................. B-9
C-1. The City of Beirut...........................................................................................C-0
C-2. Initial Conduct of the Urban Operation..........................................................C-3
C-3. Israeli Probe of PLO Defenses......................................................................C-3
C-4. Initial Israeli Attack ........................................................................................C-4
C-5. Final Israeli Attack .........................................................................................C-4
D-1. Phases of US Involvement in Somalia ..........................................................D-1
D-2. Map of Somalia .............................................................................................D-3
vi
Historical Vignettes
Page
Rome: A Microcosm of Urban Warfare ...................................................................1-4
Seeing the Urban Area and Its Parts.....................................................................2-26
Tempo...................................................................................................................... 3-4
Identifying Soldiers from Civilians ...........................................................................3-8
Information and the Media.....................................................................................3-10
Cultural and Religious Instability ...........................................................................3-14
Food and Water Shortages ...................................................................................3-14
Urban Insurgencies ............................................................................................... 3-16
Crime and Criminal Organizations ........................................................................3-18
Applying the Urban Operational Framework: Panama – December 1989.............. 5-7
Example of Simple Communications Innovation: Israel’s Six-Day War – 1967....5-30
The Operational Context of Urban Operations: Brittany Ports – August to
September 1944 ..............................................................................................6-2
Forms of Attack in the Urban Offense: Metz – 1944 ............................................. 6-11
Isolating the Urban Area: Hue City – January to February 1968 ..........................6-21
Creative Task Organization: Using Artillery in the Direct Fire Role ...................... 6-27
Bold Operational Maneuver to Seize an Urban Area: Inchon and
Seoul, Korea – September 1950 ...................................................................6-30
Urban Defense in a Major Operation: Stalingrad – August 1942 to
January 1943 ................................................................................................... 7-7
Defensive Combat Power: Suez City, Egypt – October 1973............................... 7-13
Assessment of Security and Force Protection: Belfast, Northern Ireland............... 8-9
Support of and Coordination with Civilian Authorities: The 1992 Los
Angeles Riots................................................................................................. 8-13
Base Security: Tan Son Nhut, Vietnam and Tet 1968 ............................................ 9-3
Combat Stress: Chechnya—1994 to 1996............................................................9-19
Analysis of an Urban Area’s Underlying Terrain: Mitrovica, Kosovo ......................A-6
Shifting Civilian Interests and Intent ......................................................................A-13
The Siege of Beirut: An Illustration of the Fundamentals of Urban Operations ..... C-0
Operations in Somalia: Applying the Urban Framework to Stability and Support.. D-1
vii
Preface
Doctrine provides a military organization with a common philosophy, a language,
a purpose, and unity of effort. To this end, FM 3-06 discusses major Army opera-
tions in an urban environment. This environment, consisting of complex terrain,
a concentrated population, and an infrastructure of systems, is an operational
environment in which Army forces will operate. In the future, it may be the pre-
dominant operational environment. Each urban operation will be distinct from
any other—any other urban operation as well as similar types of operations in
other environments. Each operation will differ because of the multitude of combi-
nations presented by the threat, the urban area itself, the major operation of
which it may be part (or the focus), and the fluidity of societal and geo-political
considerations. Therefore, there will always exist an innate tension between
Army doctrine, the actual context of the urban operation, and future realities.
Commanders are responsible to strike the proper balance between preparing for
future challenges and maintaining the capability to respond to current threats.
PURPOSE
This manual provides the analytical tools for evaluating an urban operation to
determine if the operation is necessary for overall mission success. It also pro-
vides the means to understanding and determining the impacts of the urban
environment on military operations and provides information on managing,
taking advantage of, and mitigating the effects of those impacts as appropriate.
As such, this manual demonstrates how to apply the doctrinal principles in
FM 3-0 to this unique environment.
SCOPE
Chapter 1 introduces theoretical and historical perspectives of urban operations
that serve as the underlying basis for the rest of the manual. Chapter 2 discusses
the characteristics of urban centers and populations as well as their impact on
operations. It is unlikely that Army forces will ever operate in a benign urban
environment; therefore, Chapter 3 discusses the varied nature of potential urban
threats. An understanding of the complexities of the urban environment and the
nature of the enemy is essential to sound decisionmaking. Chapters 4 and 5 dis-
cuss the potential costs of urban operations as well as the effects on each battle-
field operating system that the commander and his staff consider early in their
planning. These chapters also outline an urban operational framework and spe-
cific urban considerations that create the foundations necessary for successfully
applying operational doctrine to an urban environment.
The second half of the manual (Chapters 6 – 9) discusses how urban operations
are conducted and resourced. Urban operations include major offensive and de-
fensive operations in urban environments as well as stability operations and sup-
port operations ranging from peace operations and combatting terrorism to
domestic support operations and foreign humanitarian assistance. For the dif-
ferent types of operations—offense, defense, stability, and support—the purpose,
characteristics, organization, and considerations are discussed. However, com-
viii
FM 3-06 ___________________________________________________________________________________
manders consider that most urban operations will involve some aspect of all four
types of operations (although one may dominate) and plan accordingly.
APPLICABILITY
This manual is intended for commanders and their staffs at the brigade through
corps level. It addresses the range of operations (both violent and nonviolent)
throughout the spectrum of conflict that Army units will execute in urban
settings. However, users should also consult JP 3-06 for specific joint
information. Additionally, users should be familiar with FM 3-06.11, TC 90-1,
and urban operations chapters, appendices, or sections found in other infantry,
armor, combined arms, and proponent field manuals for the tactics, techniques,
and procedures (TTP) and appropriate proponent information necessary to
conduct tactical urban operations at the brigade level and below.
ADMINISTRATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
Chapter 2 defines “city” according to a the population size. However, in historical
vignettes and accounts, the term “city” is applied in its common usage without
specific regard to size to maintain conformity with most other historical reports.
In this manual, the term “threat” is applied broadly to include an enemy force
(conventional or unconventional), an armed belligerent in a peace operation, an-
tagonistic or unfriendly elements of the civilian population, or some other hazar-
dous condition in the urban environment that negatively influences mission ac-
complishment. The term “hostile” is used as a subset of the threat and denotes a
particular element of the urban population (individual, group, or organization) or
one or more opposing armed factions in a peacekeeping operation. Both an enemy
and a hostile have the intent to exploit Army vulnerabilities and negatively affect
the urban operation. A hostile, however, is not engaging Army forces in
protracted combat operations.
The term military operations on urban terrain (MOUT) is replaced by urban
operations (UO). MOUT is an acronym from FM 90-10 Military Operations on
Urban Terrain that is superseded by this manual.
Otherwise, the glossary lists most terms used in FM 3-06 that have joint or Army
definitions. Where Army and joint definitions are different, (Army) follows the
term. Definitions for which FM 3-06 is the proponent manual (the authority) are
marked with an asterisk (*). The proponent or amplifying manual for other terms
is listed in parentheses after the definition.
The manual attempts to incorporate historical vignettes into each chapter where
the account supports the doctrinal line of reasoning. Two historical vignettes,
however, were included as appendices (A and C) because of their longer lengths.
Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns or pronouns do not
refer exclusively to men.
This publication contains copyrighted material.
The proponent for this publication is HQ TRADOC. Send comments and recom-
mended changes directly to Commander, US Army Combined Arms Center and
Fort Leavenworth, Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, ATTN: ATZL-FD-CD,
Futures Development and Integration Center, 1 Reynolds Avenue, Fort
Leavenworth, KS 66027-1352.
ix
Chapter 1
Urban Outlook
The ambiguous nature of the operational environment requires Army
leaders who are self-aware and adaptive. Self-aware leaders under-
stand their operational environment, can assess their own
capabilities, determine their own strengths and weaknesses, and
actively learn to overcome their weaknesses. Adaptive leaders must
first be self-aware—then have the additional ability to recognize
change in their operating environment, identify those changes, and
learn how to adapt to succeed in their new environment.
FM 1
Given the prevalence of large cities throughout the world, Army forces,
division size and larger, will likely be required to conduct operations in
and around large urban areas. These operations will be in support of a
joint force commander (JFC) conducting military operations pursuant to
United States (US) national security policy. This manual is designed to
facilitate the planning and conduct of the full range and spectrum of land
operations in a complex urban environment. Each urban environment and
urban operation is unique; prescribing specific doctrinal “solutions” for
situations is impossible. Instead, this manual provides a framework to
commanders and their staffs for understanding the urban environment,
for analyzing and deciding whether urban operations (UO) are necessary
or feasible, and for applying operational doctrine to this complex environ-
ment. It also provides historical vignettes to help develop a refined analy-
tical perspective and some planning points and tactics and techniques to
assist in preparing for and conducting UO. Together, this information
provides a foundation for approaching major UO, which, combined with
other joint and Army doctrine, will help commanders and their staffs
learn to adapt and succeed in this challenging environment.
CONTENTS
The Prospect of Urban Operations .............1-2
Urban Perspective.........................................1-2
Historical Significance of Urban
Areas in Warfare........................................1-3
Strategic Importance of Urban
Areas .........................................................1-4
US Army’s Experience in Urban
Operations ................................................1-6
Modern Army Urban Operations................. 1-8
Major Theater War .................................... 1-8
Smaller-Scale Contingencies.................. 1-9
Peacetime Military Engagements ........... 1-9
Preparing for Future Urban Operations. 1-9
1-1
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
THE PROSPECT OF URBAN OPERATIONS
1-1. The world is in a period of massive urbanization. A trend of migration
from rural to urban areas is occurring throughout the globe. This trend is
especially evident in developing nations. Combined with the exponential
growth of the global population in the last quarter century, this migration
has created massive urban areas that hold the centers of population,
government, and economics in their respective regions. In Western Europe,
for example, over 50 percent of the land area is urbanized. Just over 30 years
ago, only three urban areas in Asia contained at least eight million people.
By 2015, estimates show that Asia will have 17 urban areas over ten million,
and three of those will top 20 million residents. Almost half of today’s
population resides in urban areas. Trends also indicate that less developed
nations have more centralized societies in a few urban areas. Developed
nations spread their centralized societies in several urban areas. In many
cases, rapid urbanization has overburdened already weak infrastructures,
scarce resources, and a fragile economic base. Given the global population,
Army forces will likely conduct operations in and around urban areas—not as
a matter of fate but as a deliberate choice linked to national objectives and
strategy and at a time, place, and method of the commander’s choosing.
Army Urban Operations
Army forces conduct UO either as one component of a larger operation or as a
single operation focused totally on a specific urban environment. Major Army UO
are often part of a joint and multinational effort requiring interagency and civil-
military coordination that may include the full spectrum of Army operations.
Commanders of Army major operations must determine if UO are essential to
mission accomplishment. If so, commanders must carefully integrate the opera-
tions into campaign planning to support the operational objectives of the JFC.
Army leaders conducting UO must—
Assess the urban area to determine decisive points.
Shape the operation to set the conditions for success.
Precisely mass the effects of combat power to rapidly dominate the area.
Then transition the urban area to the control of another agency or back to
legitimate civilian control.
URBAN PERSPECTIVE
1-2. As a subset of all Army operations, UO are operations focused on an
urban environment. UO include the full range of Army operations—offensive,
defensive, stability, and support—that may be executed, either sequentially
or simultaneously, during the conduct of a single urban operation. Depending
on the mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available,
time available, civil considerations (METT-TC), urban operations may—or
may not—be conducted predominantly within the urban area (see
Figure 1-1). Furthermore, UO may be the sole mission of the commander or
one of several tasks nested in a larger operation. Regardless of the types of
operations conducted or whether the urban area is the single focus of the
operation or only one component of a larger operation, the complex urban
environment significantly affects the overall conduct of the mission.
1-2
Urban Outlook
ENEMY ARMY CIVIL
Control of the
Urban Area
Type of
Operation
START
STOP
Combat Service Support
UO May Continue Under
Civilian Control of the
Urban Area
UO
Framework
Offense
Defense
Stability
Support
UO are often full
spectrum and
therefore NOT
necessarily
focused only on
urban combat
Political Objectives and METT-TC Make All UO Unique
ASSESS
DOMINATE TRANSITIONSHAPE
URBAN OPERATIONS
Time Duration of UO Can Be Measured in Days or
Years Depending on Factors of METT-TC
Figure 1-1. Full Spectrum Urban Operations
1-3. When conceptualizing urban operations, commanders understand two
important terms: urban area and urban environment. The first is a subset of
the second. An urban area is a topographical complex where man-
made construction or high population density is the dominant
feature. Focusing on urban areas means concentrating on the physical
aspects of the area and their effects on tactics, techniques, and procedures.
The urban environment includes the physical aspects of the urban
area as well as the complex and dynamic interaction and
relationships between its key components—the terrain (natural and
man-made), the population, and the supporting infrastructure—as
an overlapping and interdependent system of systems. Critical
elements of the infrastructure may lie far beyond the area’s physical con-
fines. For example, the generating source providing power to the urban
energy system is part of that system but may be located well outside of the
urban area. Similarly, effects of the interaction between components of the
infrastructure, located both inside and outside the urban area, extend well
into smaller, neighboring urban areas and surrounding rural areas and often
form their political, economic, and cultural focus. Understanding the total
urban environment is essential to planning and conducting the full range of
Army urban operations across the spectrum of conflict.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF URBAN AREAS IN WARFARE
1-4. Urban areas always have been central to, or have significantly
influenced, military operations. One of the first urban-centered battles was
the siege of Troy at the beginning of Greek history. Moreover, much of the
history of early Greece revolved around wars between its city-states or with
Persia and centered on the conquest, siege, or blockade of cities. Five
1-3
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
hundred years later, the Roman Empire replaced Greece as the dominant
world power although urban areas remained central to Roman warfare. Even
Rome’s history can be viewed as a microcosm of urban warfare over the past
two thousand years. Though military operations within the physical confines
of many of these historic urban areas were not the norm, the focus of these
operations was their conquest or control.
Rome
A Microcosm of Urban Warfare
During two millennia, Rome has been the center of at least 12 battles. The Gauls
lay siege to Rome first in 387 BC. That first siege lasted six months and ended
after the barbarians burnt much of the city. The surviving patrician families paid a
ransom for the withdrawal of Brennus’ army. From 408 to 410 AD, the Goth
leader, Alaric, successfully besieged Rome no less than three times. The
Byzantine General Belisarius captured Rome twice from the Goths and withstood
siege inside the city once between 536 and 549. Five hundred years later in
1084, Norman adventurer Robert Guiscard captured medieval Rome and sacked
the city during a dispute between the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire. Forces
of the Holy Roman Empire again stormed and captured the city to punish the
Pope in 1527. During the Italian Revolution in 1849, a French army supporting
the Pope captured the city from the Italian revolutionary army under Garibaldi. In
1944, the last military action took place in and around Rome when the US Fifth
Army captured the city from the retreating German army. Rome’s turbulent
history—fought over ethnic and religious differences, prestige, and military
necessity—demonstrates the importance of urban areas in warfare and the
various causes and combatants within this complex environment.
1-5. Although Rome last saw combat in 1944, urban areas have been no less
prominent in warfare since that time. Beirut in Lebanon, Grozny in
Chechnya, and Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina have been centers of conflict
in the last 50 years. Urban areas, now more pervasive than ever before, will
continue to be essential to successful operational and strategic warfighting.
Today, armies cannot execute major military operations without the
influence of surrounding urban environments (with the possible exception of
the open desert).
STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF URBAN AREAS
1-6. Several reasons have attracted (and continue to attract) armies to
combat in urban areas:
A military force chooses to position itself in an urban area to capitalize
on the perceived advantages offered by the environment. In contrast,
an opposing force, by analyzing the factors of the situation, determines
that it must enter the urban area to attack and destroy its enemy (or
devote essential combat power to their isolation).
The urban area’s infrastructure, capabilities, or other resources have
significant operational or strategic value.
The urban area has significant symbolic importance.
1-4
Urban Outlook
The urban area’s geographical location dominates a region or avenue of
approach.
1-7. Russia’s 1994 experience in Chechnya illustrates an increasingly impor-
tant motivation for conducting urban operations. The Chechen rebels, after
failing to engage Russian forces outside the city, chose to turn Grozny into
the battlefield. Leaders of the defeated Chechen conventional forces recog-
nized that fighting in the urban area provided them their best chance for
success. The complexities of urban combat and the perceived advantages of
defending an urban area mitigated their numerical and technological
inferiority. The urban area provided the Chechens protection from fires,
resources, interior lines, and covered and concealed positions and movement.
Given such advantages offered by the environment, smaller or less-
sophisticated military forces have similarly chosen to fight in urban areas.
1-8. Such advantages of operating in an urban environment also prompt
forces to conduct an urban operation to facilitate a larger campaign plan and
decisive battle in another location. The urban operation can focus the enemy
on the urban area and allow other forces to conduct operations elsewhere.
From a defensive perspective, an urban defense may gain time and space to
reorganize forces in new defensive positions, to divert enemy forces from
other critical tasks, or to prepare to conduct offensive operations. To some
extent, these reasons motivated Soviet forces defending Leningrad and
Stalingrad from the Germans in World War II. The stubborn defense per-
mitted the Soviets to reorganize for later offensive operations. From an offen-
sive perspective, an attack on an urban area may be a shaping operation
used to divert resources from the decisive operation that will follow.
1-9. Armies also fight in an urban area to obtain some critical feature or
resource in the area, such as a port facility. The desire to control an
important seaport and access to the Persian Gulf largely motivated the
Iranian and Iraqi struggle for Basra in the 1980s. Earlier, in 1944, British
forces fought German units in Arnhem for control of the Rhine River Bridge.
Other infrastructure of the urban environment may have operational or
strategic significance and can compel military forces to attack or defend the
area. As urban areas account for an increasing share of a country’s national
income, often generating over 50 percent of gross national product, the stra-
tegic implications for their control or influence become even greater.
1-10. Urban areas are often located on terrain that dominates a region or an
avenue of approach. In these cases, offensive armies capture these areas to
proceed with security to another objective. Conversely, defensive forces
commonly defend the area to deny the area of operations. To illustrate,
Cassino, Italy stood astride the critical highway approach up the Liri valley
to Rome. The allies had to attack and capture the monastery to facilitate the
allied offensive north. Cassino’s location made bypassing virtually
impossible. Likewise, Israeli army urban operations in Beirut were (and have
continued to be) a result of its strategic location near the Israeli security
zone; various Arab insurgent and terrorist groups used Beirut as a base for
attacks against Israel. Beirut evolved as the major base of the Palestine
Liberation Organization, a major opponent of Israel. Beirut’s location made it
a security threat to Israel and thus compelled several major Israeli
operations in the urban area (see Appendix A).
1-5
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
1-11. Another reason for engaging in urban operations is the symbolic—
historical, cultural, political, and even economic—importance of many urban
areas. Often, capital cities—such as Rome, Paris, Seoul, and Berlin—are
identified as the strategic centers of gravity of their respective nations.
Possessing or threatening these urban areas may impact directly on the out-
come of a conflict. The objective of Germany’s wars with France in 1870 and
1914 was ultimately Paris. Napoleon’s 1812 campaign had as its objective
Moscow, as did Hitler’s 1941 offensive into Russia. The objective of the Soviet
1945 offensive was Berlin, and the North Vietnamese 1975 offensive had as
its objective the South’s capital of Saigon. Still, history also reminds us that
commanders assess the sustainability and decisiveness of operations directed
toward these “prestige” objectives. For example, in 1812, Napoleon captured
Moscow but had to evacuate it within 30 days. He lacked supplies and
shelter, failed to destroy the Russian Army, and failed to defeat the political
will of the Czar and the people. Similarly, the North Korean occupation of
Seoul during the Korean War was equally indecisive.
US ARMY’S EXPERIENCE IN URBAN OPERATIONS
1-12. The US Army has a varied history of conducting operations to attack or
defend larger urban areas. The American Revolution saw the Army conduct
several urban operations. These operations included the unsuccessful defense
of New York, the successful attack on Trenton, and the decisive siege and
attack on British forces at Yorktown. The Mexican War also had a successful
assault on the fortified city of Monterey and the decisive siege of Mexico City.
During the American Civil War, the armies, in the tradition of Napoleonic
maneuver warfare, avoided urban areas and fought in the open. However,
the opposing armies frequently made urban areas their objective because of
their importance as railheads. Success in the siege of several key urban
areas—Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Petersburg—contributed to the Northern
victory.
1-13. Following the Civil War, the US Army faced no large-scale urban
combat for several generations. The Indian Wars, the Spanish-American
War, the Philippine Insurrection, and even World War I did not require the
Army to fight in large urban areas. Between the Civil War and World War II,
the US Army fought in several urban areas worldwide supporting US com-
mitments. These limited urban combat operations were small but essential
parts of what were urban stability operations. From 1900 to 1901, the Army
provided public security for a sector of Peking, China of around 50,000
inhabitants. The Army conducted UO and, in the course of the operation, the
9th US Infantry suffered 20-percent casualties while fighting in Tientsin.
Punitive expeditions to places such as Siberia, Cuba, Philippines, Central
America, and Mexico put the Army in various urban situations that required
using military power, notably, the occupation and security of Vera Cruz,
Mexico in 1914. In the context of these smaller-scale contingencies (SSCs),
UO became a staple of US Army employment.
1-14. World War II forced the Army to grapple with the issues of large-scale
urban combat almost immediately. In his 1941 defense of the Philippines,
General MacArthur examined how to defend Manila. Manila represented a
large, modern, friendly urban area, which was the capital city of a close US
1-6
Urban Outlook
ally. Defending the urban area posed numerous challenges. Ultimately
General MacArthur determined that he could best conduct its defense
outside the city by defeating the enemy forces in combat on the invasion
beaches or shortly after they landed. When Japanese forces defeated
MacArthur’s Philippine Army in a series of engagements, MacArthur had to
decide how best to protect the friendly populace of Manila. He had two
choices: abandoning the city or waging a costly defense that would likely
result in the city’s destruction, thousands of noncombatant casualties, and no
operational advantage. He had little choice but to declare Manila an open
city and move his forces to Bataan to wage an operational defense in the vain
hope that a counteroffensive could relieve his isolated force. On 2 January
1942, Japanese forces entered Manila unopposed.
1-15. Had General MacArthur decided to defend Manila, his forces would
have found scant doctrine in the Army regarding how to fight in an urban
area. Doctrine for urban operations did not appear until early 1944, when
faced with the possibility of fighting through the larger urban areas of
Western Europe. At his time the US Army published FM 31-50, Attack on a
Fortified Position and Combat in Towns. This manual had the first formal
discussion of how the Army viewed urban combat. It was based on the Army’s
limited experiences in the Mediterranean theater and the study of German
and Soviet experiences on the Eastern front.
1-16. FM 31-50 emphasized a deliberate pace, individual and small unit ini-
tiative, the liberal use of direct and indirect firepower, and decentralized
command and execution. It focused on the urban area (as opposed to the envi-
ronment); however, it did include policies towards the noncombatants. The
manual was also focused at the regimental combat team level. Comple-
menting the doctrine of FM 31-50 was the 1944 operations manual, FM 100-5.
This latter manual emphasized the importance of combined arms actions and
the need for extensive reconnaissance of prepared and defended cities. The
Army successfully implemented this doctrine in several major instances of
urban combat, most notably the capture of the first German city, Aachen, and
hundreds of small-scale urban assaults on cities, towns, and villages across
France, the Benelux, and Germany. Army forces also successfully employed
this urban combat doctrine during the liberation of Manila in 1945.
1-17. The legacy of this era of Army operations was an effective tactical solu-
tion to urban offensive combat: isolate the urban area, seize a foothold, and
expand the foothold block by block until occupying the entire urban area and
destroying the enemy. The doctrine’s emphasis on firepower kept friendly
casualties to a minimum. Unfortunately, when enemy forces stoutly defended
the urban area, the emphasis on firepower resulted in its virtual destruction
and high casualties among noncombatants.
1-18. The doctrinal approach honed in World War II remained the accepted
Army approach to urban combat to the century’s end. The last successful
implementation occurred when liberating Seoul during the Korean War. The
Vietnam conflict did not offer the Army opportunities or the requirement to
practice urban combat or test and refine doctrine on a large scale. The largest
urban battle, Hue, was a chaotic tactical battle that validated most of the
historical lessons of urban combat without generating any new doctrinal
insights for large-scale urban warfare.
1-7
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
1-19. From the mid-1950s through the 1990s, the Army conducted UO in the
United States in support of civil authorities during civil unrest and anti-
Vietnam protests. Some operations involved numerous active and reserve
component forces engaged in restoring public order. The Detroit riots of 1967
and the Los Angeles riots of 1992 required the commitments of active and
National Guard units. In 1968, the Army deployed over 35,000 troops to
Washington D.C., Chicago, and Baltimore following the death of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr.
1-20. In the 1970s and 1980s, Army doctrine predominantly focused on urban
areas and successfully fighting a conventional ground war against Soviet and
Warsaw Pact forces in Central Europe. The 1979 FM 90-10, Military Opera-
tions on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT), described how to conduct urban opera-
tions against Soviet forces in Germany. Its concepts were never tested other
than in simulation, and its approach to urban combat was not substantially
different from that practiced by the Army since World War II. Despite
previous doctrine’s admonition to avoid cities, the Army has had to fight in
them in diverse circumstances.
MODERN ARMY URBAN OPERATIONS
1-21. Modern urban operations span the full range of possible applications of
military power. At the high end of the spectrum of conflict is major theater
war (MTW) dominated by offensive and defensive operations that, when
undertaken, will commonly include urban operations. At the lowest level are
a multitude of urban peacetime military engagement (PME) activities. These
activities foster and strengthen alliances and coalitions as well as deter
aggression on the part of potential threats. At mid-level between MTW and
PME are SSC urban operations. As a result of being mid-range, any type of
operation may potentially dominate an SSC; however, the various urban
stability operations form the majority. At higher echelons, these separations
are often viewed as levels of intensity. For the tactical units conducting
urban operations, these divisions appear indistinct, as the intensity is often
high despite where the operation falls within the level of conflict.
MAJOR THEATER WAR
1-22. While UO in a MTW can encompass the full range of Army operations,
the offense and defense will be central and decisive to success. Although
mindful of collateral damage and noncombatants, urban operations in a
MTW (compared to urban operations in SSCs or as part of PME activities)
will be the least constrained because vital national interests will be at stake.
UO in a MTW, therefore, will require a significant investment of resources of
all types. Specialized units such as psychological operations, civil affairs, and
other special operations forces (SOF) will likely be in high demand. UO in a
MTW will require an abundance of infantry and may require significant
casualty replacements and medical support. Logistics to support the distinc-
tive urban environment includes large amounts of lethal and nonlethal
specialty munitions, such as smoke, precision field artillery rounds, demoli-
tions, and hand grenades.
1-23. Of potential urban scenarios confronting the future Army, urban
offensive and defensive operations in an MTW are the most dangerous and
1-8
Urban Outlook
challenging. They will take one of two principal forms: fluid or siege. In a
fluid urban combat operation, both sides may contend for position and advan-
tage in the urban battlespace. The attacker will seek to quickly seize decisive
points before the enemy is able to establish a cohesive defense. This will
likely require the attacker to bypass enemy defensive positions whose occupa-
tion or reduction are not critical to mission success. Conversely, the defender
may use interior lines to shift forces in a fluid defense. In a siege, one side
clearly has the initiative as the attacker, and the other side has the advan-
tages of the defense. A siege situation can develop as a result of an initial
fluid urban battle, or it may be a function of previous military operations
that occurred outside the urban area. The Army doctrine’s emphasis on
initiative, agility, depth, synchronization, and versatility generally supports
the fluid form of urban combat; however, commanders also understand that
the factors of METT-TC may support a longer-term, siege approach.
SMALLER-SCALE CONTINGENCIES
1-24. SSCs encompass a wide range of military operations that fall between
MTW and PME and frequently involve urban operations. SSCs are conducted
to facilitate diplomacy and support political initiatives, protect American lives
and interests, and disrupt illegal activities. Joint task forces (JTFs) typically
conduct SSCs although one service may provide the bulk of the force. During
these urban contingencies, resources are often more limited and the
restraints on applying combat power are greater as the need to maintain legi-
timacy will grow in importance. Typically, Army forces will need the assis-
tance of multinational partners, other agencies, local noncombatants, and
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to successfully complete the mission.
PEACETIME MILITARY ENGAGEMENTS
1-25. UO, at the lowest level of conflict, may also take many forms. They
serve to strengthen alliances and coalitions, discourage arms races, combat
terrorism, and generally reduce the potential for instability and conflict.
Combat in PME activities is not the norm. They are least likely to involve the
use of force (when necessary, nonlethal is preferred). The presence of Army
forces performing PME activities in foreign urban areas provides a visible
sign of US commitment to peace and stability in that region. In many of these
lower-intensity UO, Army forces often support other agencies. These other
agencies actually plan and lead the operation. Army forces provide military
capabilities (to include organization and leadership), manpower, equipment,
and other resources not readily available. As with UO in SSCs, proactive and
aggressive interaction and coordination with multinational partners,
governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the urban populace
will be vital to success.
PREPARING FOR FUTURE URBAN OPERATIONS
1-26. To operate successfully in a complex urban environment requires
rigorous, realistic UO training. Training is conducted by the complete
combined arms team and covers the full range of Army operations. It also
replicates—
1-9
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
The psychological impact of intense, close combat against a well-
trained enemy.
The effects of noncombatants in close proximity to Army forces.
The medical and logistic problems associated with operations in an
urban area.
It recognizes the constraints of collateral damage and, therefore, emphasizes
the development of flexible, effective, and understandable rules of engage-
ment (ROE). These ROE help preclude soldiers from randomly using deadly
force while allowing them sufficient latitude to accomplish the mission and
defend themselves. Training in ROE also includes significant and periodic
changes that test and develop flexibility in and adaptability to a fluid
environment. Additionally, force preparedness mandates integrating simula-
tions, exercises at urban training sites, and the actual use of urban terrain
into tactical- and operational-level intra- and interservice training.
Concurrent training extends from the individual soldier to the joint level.
Additionally, preparedness also includes enhancing interoperability in
regards to urban multinational and interagency operations.
1-27. Realistic UO training
(as well as the conduct of real
world operations) has the
added benefit of identifying
operational requirements and
resultant changes necessary
in our doctrine, organizations,
materiel design, leadership,
and soldier support (see Fig-
ure 1-2). While technology
(material) and organizational
changes are critical, soldiers
remain the decisive means for
success. The technology and
organizational changes will be a critical enabler to achieve the agile, simul-
taneous, and precise lethality required in urban operations. In the future,
technology may lead to a radically new operational concept and approach to
urban operations. Still, competent leaders and well-trained and disciplined
soldiers will remain the decisive means for the Army to succeed in this
complex, multidimensional, and noncontiguous urban environment.
TRAINING
ORGANIZATIONS
LEADER
DEVELOPMENT SOLDIERS
DOCTRINE
MATERIAL
UO
Figure 1-2. UO and the Army Imperatives
1-10
Chapter 2
Urban Environment
From a planning perspective, commanders view cities not just as a
topographic feature but as dynamic entities that include hostile forces,
local population, and infrastructure. Planning for urban operations
requires careful IPB, with particular emphasis on the three-
dimensional nature of the topography and the intricate social struc-
ture of the population.
FM 3-0
Of all the environments in which to conduct operations, the urban envi-
ronment confronts Army commanders with a combination of difficulties
rarely found elsewhere. Its distinct characteristics result from an intricate
topography and high population density. The topography’s complexity
stems from the man-made features and supporting infrastructure super-
imposed on the natural terrain. Hundreds, thousands, or millions of civil-
ians may be near or intermingled with soldiers—friendly and enemy. This
second factor, and the human dimension it represents, is potentially the
most important and perplexing for commanders and their staffs to under-
stand and evaluate. The intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB)
process remains unaffected by urban areas (see FM 34-130 and Appen-
dix B); this chapter provides information essential to the conduct of the
IPB for an urban environment.
Although urban areas possess general similarities, each environment is
distinct and will react to and affect the presence and operations of Army
forces differently. A tactical technique effective in one area may not be
effective in another area due to physical differences, such as street
CONTENTS
A Complex Environment ............................2-2
Urban Terrain...............................................2-3
Multidimensional Battlefield .................2-3
Broad Urban Patterns ............................2-6
Lesser Street Patterns ...........................2-8
An Urban Model......................................2-9
Urban Society ............................................2-14
Potential Center of Gravity..................2-14
General Population Size ......................2-15
Group Size, Location, and
Composition ........................................2-16
Leadership and Organization..............2-17
Interests and Actions...........................2-17
Interaction, Influence, or Control........2-18
A Cycle of Effects................................ 2-18
Urban Infrastructure ................................ 2-19
Interdependence.................................. 2-19
Separate Parts of a Whole.................. 2-19
Structures and People ........................ 2-20
Impact on Future Operations ............. 2-20
Resource Intensive ............................. 2-20
Communications and Information..... 2-21
Transportation and Distribution ........ 2-23
Energy .................................................. 2-23
Economics and Commerce ................ 2-24
Administration and Human
Services............................................... 2-24
2-1
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
patterns or the type of building construction. An Army policy popular with
one urban group may cause resentment and hostility in another due to
diverse cultural differences. All difficulties potentially exist, but they
increase the complexity for Army forces operating in urban areas. These
difficulties range from conventional military forces to disease and
starvation (see Chapter 3) to a pervasive media—often acutely present in
intricate combinations. Thus, commanders at all levels make extraordi-
nary efforts to assess and understand their particular urban environment
to plan, prepare for, and execute effective urban operations (UO).
A COMPLEX ENVIRONMENT
2-1. Urban areas vary depending on their history, the cultures of their
inhabitants, their economic development, the local climate, available building
materials, and many other factors. This variety exists not only among urban
areas but also within any particular area. The ever-changing mix of natural
and man-made features in urban areas present commanders with some of the
most difficult terrain in which to conduct military operations.
2-2. Although urban areas possess similar characteristics, no two are iden-
tical. The sprawl of Los Angeles, for example, bears little physical resem-
blance to New Delhi. Societal characteristics most significantly affect each
area’s uniqueness and complexity. While complex, information about the ter-
rain, its potential effects on operations, and how it changes over time may be
determined with some degree of certainty. However, the human dimension is
much more difficult to understand and assess, particularly its effects on mili-
tary operations. Like any environment, the side that can best understand and
exploit the effects of the urban environment has the best chance of success.
TERRAIN SOCIETY
INFRA-
STRUCTURE
Figure 2-1. Keys to Understanding
the Urban Environment
2-3. Whether a large metropolis or
a small village, each urban environ-
ment has an identifiable system of
components that constantly change
and interact. This “system of sys-
tems” consists of the terrain, the
society, and the infrastructure that
links the two (see Figure 2-1).
(These categories highlight the key
aspects to understanding the urban
environment and will be used
throughout the manual; however,
the civil-military operations (CMO)
discussion in Chapter 9 provides an alternate method for categorizing and
assessing the effects of civil considerations in any operational environment.)
2-4. These systems are not separate and distinct categories but rather over-
lapping and interdependent. Thoroughly analyzing these elements, along
with the other factors of mission, enemy, weather, troops and support
available, time, and civil considerations—
Contributes to commanders’ situational understanding.
Potentially lessens the number and cost of close combat engagements.
2-2
Urban Environment
Allows them to develop courses of action that apply appropriate
resources against decisive points.
2-5. In stability operations and support operations, this understanding
allows commanders to engage and dominate the decisive points critical to
maintaining peace or restoring normalcy to the urban environment. Although
each system is categorized into subordinate components or subsystems, com-
manders often “step back” and visualize each system, the complex urban
environment, and their area of operations (AO). This “systems thinking” aids
commanders in uncovering key relationships and intersections that can help
reveal centers of gravity (COGs) and decisive points.
2-6. To comprehend the urban environment and its components to the fullest
extent possible, commanders carefully integrate and employ special opera-
tions forces (SOF)—to include psychological operations (PSYOP) and civil
affairs units—and a myriad of other human intelligence (HUMINT) assets
and regional, language, and cultural experts. The societal aspects and inte-
grating infrastructure will challenge commanders’ assessment and under-
standing. These aspects will also require greater dependence on nonmilitary
and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and host-nation agencies for
their information, knowledge, and expertise. This last consideration requires
commanders to develop effective techniques and procedures for coordinating
and interacting with these agencies.
URBAN TERRAIN
2-7. Although complex and difficult to penetrate with many intelligence, sur-
veillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, the terrain is the most recogniz-
able aspect of an urban area. Truly understanding it, however, requires com-
prehending its multidimensional nature. The terrain consists of natural and
man-made features, with man-made features dominating; an analysis con-
siders both. Buildings, streets, and other infrastructure have varied patterns,
forms, and sizes. The infinite ways in which these factors can intertwine
make it difficult to describe a “typical” urban area. However, these elements
provide a framework for understanding the complex terrain in an urban area.
Furthermore, man-made features significantly affect military systems and
soldiers, and thus tactics and operations. General effects on urban operations
are discussed in this chapter. Specific effects on battlefield operating systems
(BOS) (see Chapters 5 and 9) and the range of operations (see Chapters 6, 7,
and 8) are interwoven throughout the manual.
MULTIDIMENSIONAL BATTLEFIELD
2-8. Urban areas present an extraordinary blend of horizontal, vertical,
interior, exterior, and subterranean forms superimposed on the natural
relief, drainage, and vegetation. An urban area may appear dwarfed on a
map by the surrounding countryside. In fact, the size and extent of the urban
battlespace is many times that of a similarly sized portion of natural terrain.
The sheer volume and density created by urban geometry can make UO
resource intensive in time, manpower, and materiel.
2-9. Like natural disasters, UO can radically alter the physical character of
the urban terrain in ways not experienced in other environments. They may
2-3
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
cause (either intentionally or not) uncontrollable fires or the loss of electri-
city. A power outage can cause flooding (especially in subsurface areas) by
shutting down pumping stations. Entire buildings may be destroyed, elimina-
ting reference points and leaving large piles of rubble. Additionally, buildings
and other urban structures, damaged but not destroyed, can still be effective
obstacles and possible booby traps. Their weakened construction and
unstable structure increase the risk of injury to soldiers and civilians moving
within them. (Engineers often determine whether the buildings can support
occupation by Army forces or civilians.) The likely presence of toxic industrial
materials (TIM) can create additional obstacles.
2-10. Commanders in other environments normally address the depth,
breadth, and height of their AO in terms of two areas: airspace and surface.
In an urban environment, they broaden their scope to include supersurface
and subsurface areas (see Figure 2-2). Although spatially separated, each
area may be used as an avenue of approach or mobility corridor, line of com-
munications (LOC), and engagement area.
Figure 2-2. The Multidimensional Urban Battlefield
Airspace
External Space
Surface
(External)
Subsurface
Supersurface
(External)
Supersurface
(Internal)
or
Intrasurface
Internal
Spaces
Internal
Spaces
Stories
or
Levels Stories
or
Levels
Top
Top
2-11. Supersurface and subsurface areas magnify the complexity of the
urban physical environment. Commanders consider activities that occur
outside buildings and subterranean areas (the external space) as well as the
activities that occur unseen in buildings and subterranean systems (the
internal space). The internal space further challenges command, control, and
intelligence collection activities and increases the combat power required to
conduct UO. Commanders develop methods to help themselves, their staffs,
and their subordinate commanders and staffs to represent and visualize the
multiple dimensions. Such dimensions can change rapidly simply due to
continued urban growth or, as described earlier, the effects of nature and UO
themselves.
2-4
Urban Environment
Airspace
2-12. Aircraft and aerial munitions use the airspace as rapid avenues of ap-
proach in urbanized areas. Forces can use aviation assets for observation and
reconnaissance, aerial attack, or high-speed insertion and extraction of sol-
diers, supplies, and equipment. Some surface obstacles, such as rubble, do
not affect aviation assets. However, buildings of varying height and the
increased density of towers, signs, power lines, and other urban constructions
create obstacles to flight and the trajectory of many munitions (masking).
These obstacles can limit low-altitude maneuverability in the urban airspace.
Excellent cover and concealment afforded enemy gunners in an urban area
increases aviation vulnerability to small arms and man-portable air defense
systems (MANPADS), particularly when supporting ground forces.
Surface
2-13. Surface areas apply to exterior ground level areas, such as parking lots,
airfields, highways, streets, sidewalks, fields, and parks. They often provide
primary avenues of approach and the means for rapid advance. However,
buildings and other structures often canalize forces moving along them. As
such, obstacles on urban surface areas usually have more effect than those in
open terrain since bypass often requires entering and transiting buildings or
radical changes to selected routes. Where urban areas abut the ocean or sea,
large lakes, and major rivers, the surface of these bodies of water may pro-
vide key friendly and threat avenues of approach or essential LOCs and,
therefore, may be a significant consideration for Army commanders. As such,
amphibious and river-crossing operations may be an integral part of the over-
all urban operation.
2-14. Larger open areas—such as stadiums, sports fields, school play-
grounds, and parking lots—are often critical areas during urban operations.
They can provide locations for displaced civilians, interrogation centers, and
prisoner of war holding facilities. These areas also can afford suitable aircraft
landing and pickup zones and artillery firing locations. They can provide
logistic support areas and aerial resupply possibilities because they are often
centrally located.
Supersurface
2-15. These areas include the internal floors or levels (intrasurface areas)
and external roofs or tops of buildings, stadiums, towers, or other vertical
structures. They can provide cover and concealment; limit or enhance obser-
vation and fields of fire; and restrict, canalize, or block movement. However,
forces can move within and between intrasurface areas creating additional,
though normally secondary, avenues of approach. Rooftops may offer ideal
locations for landing helicopters for small-scale air assaults and aerial resup-
ply. First, engineers analyze buildings for their structural integrity and
obstacles. Such obstacles include electrical wires, antennas, and enemy-
emplaced mines (although personnel may be inserted by jumping, rappelling,
or fast roping from a hovering helicopter and extracted by hoist mechanisms).
Some rooftops are designed as helipads. Roofs and intrasurface areas may
also provide excellent locations for snipers; lightweight, handheld antitank
weapons; and MANPADS. They enable top-down attacks against the weakest
2-5
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
points of armored vehicles and unsuspecting aircraft. Overall, elevated firing
positions reduce the value of any cover in surrounding open areas and permit
engagement at close range without risk of immediate close assault. This area
(and the subsurface area) requires commanders to think, plan, and execute
ground operations vertically as well as horizontally. In this latter regard, UO
share strong similarities with mountain operations (see FM 3-97.6).
Subsurface
2-16. These areas are subterranean or below surface level. They may serve as
secondary and, in fewer instances, primary avenues of approach at lower
tactical levels. When thoroughly reconnoitered and controlled, they offer
excellent covered and concealed LOCs for moving supplies and evacuating
casualties. They may also provide sites for caching and stockpiling supplies.
Subsurface areas include the subways, tunnels, sewers, drainage systems,
cellars, civil defense shelters, and other various underground utility systems.
In older cities, they may include ancient hand-dug tunnels and catacombs.
Both attacker and defender can use subsurface areas to gain surprise and
maneuver against the rear and flanks of a threat and to conduct ambushes.
However, these areas are often the most restrictive and easiest to defend or
block. Their effectiveness depends on superior knowledge of their existence
and overall design. Army commanders may need to consider potential ave-
nues of approach afforded by the subsurface areas of rivers and major bodies
of water that border urban areas. This particularly applies when operating as
part of a joint task force (JTF) task organized with SOF or when opposing a
threat with similar capabilities.
BROAD URBAN PATTERNS
2-17. Four major urban patterns can influence UO (see Figure 2-3). Central
to two of the patterns (satellite and network) is the hub or dominant urban
area or pattern around which outlying urban areas or patterns radiate. (A
segmented urban area, because it tends to be a larger urban area, can often
be a hub.) In offensive and defensive operations, the hub serves as a pivot or
strong point; as such, it often becomes a major obstacle to an attacker. If the
attacker chooses to bypass the urban area (hub) located along his axis of
advance without first isolating the area, he may expose his flank to attack
from the hub as well as dependent urban areas or subordinate satellite
patterns. Because the focus of stability operations and support operations is
on people, commanders understand the value and influence of the hub to the
economic, political, or cultural well being of the surrounding area. Whether
or not a hub, commanders must remember that urban areas are not islands;
all are connected to the surrounding rural (and other urban) areas through
fluid and permeable boundaries and LOCs.
Satellite Pattern
2-18. This common pattern consists of a central hub surrounded by smaller,
dependent urban areas. LOCs tend to converge on the hub. The natural ter-
rain throughout this pattern is relatively homogenous. Outlying areas often
support the principal urban area at the hub with means of reinforcement,
resupply, and evacuation. In some instances, they may serve as mutually
2-6
Urban Environment
supporting battle positions. Commanders should consider the effects of the
outlying urban areas on operations within the hub, and, conversely, the
effects of operations within the hub on outlying urban areas. Information
operations (IO), for example, targeted primarily at the hub of a satellite
pattern may subsequently influence outlying urban areas and achieve neces-
sary effects without having to commit specific resources to these areas.
Linear Segment
NetworkSatellite
Central
Hub
Dependent
Urban
Areas
Dependent
Urban
Areas
Subordinate
Satellite
Patterns
Dominant
Satellite
Pattern
and Hub
for the
Network
Figure 2-3. Broad Urban Patterns
Network Pattern
2-19. The network pattern represents the interlocking of the primary hubs of
subordinate satellite patterns. Its elements are more self-sufficient and less
supportive of each other, although a dominant hub may exist. Major LOCs in
a network extend more than in a satellite pattern and take more of a rec-
tangular rather than a convergent form. Its natural terrain may vary more
than in a single satellite array. Operations in one area may or may not easily
influence, or be influenced by, other urban areas in the pattern.
Linear Pattern
2-20. Potentially a subelement of the previous two patterns, the linear
pattern may form one ray of the satellite pattern or be found along
connecting links between the hubs of a network. Most frequently, this
pattern results from the stringing of minor urban areas along a confined
natural terrain corridor, such as an elongated valley, a body of water, or a
man-made communications route. In offensive and defensive operations, this
latter form of the linear pattern facilitates developing a series of strong
defensive positions in depth, effectively blocking or delaying an attacking
force moving along the canalized terrain.
2-7
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
Segment Pattern
2-21. When dominant natural terrain, such as a river or man-made features
(canals, major highways, or railways), divides an urban area, it creates a seg-
mented pattern. This pattern often makes it easier for commanders to assign
areas of operations to subordinate commanders. However, this pattern may
fragment operations and increase risk to an operation requiring mutual
support between subordinate units. Still, the segmented urban areas may
allow commanders to isolate threats more easily in these areas and focus
operations within segments that contain their decisive points. Although an
integral part of the whole (the urban area), each segment may develop
distinct social, economic, cultural, and political characteristics. This social
segmenting may benefit commanders faced with limited assets to influence or
control the urban populace. After thoroughly analyzing the society, they may
be able to focus IO and populace and resources control measures against only
specific segments that affect decisive operations. Commanders may need only
to isolate other segments or may need to just monitor for any significant
changes in the attitudes, beliefs, or actions of the civilians located there.
LESSER STREET PATTERNS
2-22. Lesser patterns in the urban area result from the layout of the streets,
roads, highways, and other thoroughfares. They evolve from influences of
natural terrain, the original designer’s personal prejudices, and the changing
needs of the inhabitants. Street patterns (and widths) influence all BOS;
however, they greatly affect maneuver, command and control, and combat
service support. (In some portions of older Middle Eastern urban areas, the
labyrinths of streets were designed only to allow two loaded donkeys to pass
each other; tanks are too wide.) Urban areas can display any of three basic
patterns and their combinations: radial, grid, and irregular (see Figure 2-4).
Figure 2-4. Basic Internal Street Patterns
Radial Grid Irregular
Radial
2-23. Societies of highly concentrated religious or secular power often con-
struct urban areas with a radial design: all primary thoroughfares radiating
out from the center of power. Cities with this design may signal an important
historical aspect in the overall analysis of the urban society. Terrain per-
mitting, these streets may extend outward in a complete circle or may form a
semicircle or arc when a focal point abuts a natural barrier, such as a coast-
line or mountain. To increase mobility and traffic flow, societies often add
2-8
Urban Environment
concentric loops or rings to larger radial patterns. Unless commanders
carefully plan boundaries, routes, and axes of advance, their subordinate
units’ movement or maneuver may be inadvertently funneled toward the
center of urban areas with this pattern resulting in congestion, loss of
momentum, and an increased potential for ambush or fratricide.
Grid
2-24. The most adaptable and universal form for urban areas is the grid
pattern: lines of streets at right angles to one another forming blocks similar
to the pattern of a chessboard. A grid pattern can fill in and eventually take
over an original radial pattern. Grid patterns often appear to ease the assign-
ment of boundaries for subordinates units. However, commanders also con-
sider how the natural terrain influences operations and the establishment of
control measures. They also consider the influence of the buildings and other
structures lining these streets, such as their height and construction, before
assigning boundaries and developing other control measures.
2-25. Describing boundaries and phase lines by easily recognizable features
is as important in urban areas as elsewhere. If available, natural features
are a better descriptor than man-made features that may be altered or
unrecognizable. When Army forces work closely with local law enforcement
agencies, commanders may not need to assess the effect of street patterns on
the assignment of boundaries. Instead, commanders may assign boundaries
overlaid on existing administrative boundaries used by local law enforcement
agencies to increase interoperability and aid in unity of effort.
Irregular
2-26. In most urban areas, regardless of the original intent, plan, or vision,
existing street patterns emerge from successive plans overlaid one on
another. Some are well planned to fit with previous plans while others a hap-
hazard response to explosive urban growth. The result may mix patterns.
Urban engineers and planners may specifically design irregular patterns for
aesthetic reasons (as in many suburban housing developments) or to conform
to marked terrain relief. Irregular street patterns may alert commanders and
analysts that the underlying natural terrain may exert greater influence over
operations than in other portions of the urban area. Finally, irregular street
patterns make the movement and maneuver of forces less predictable.
AN URBAN MODEL
2-27. Throughout the world, urban areas have similar form and function. In
form, urban areas contain like characteristics, readily divisible into distinct
sections or areas. Functionally, they tend to be the centers of population,
finance, politics, transportation, industry, and culture. While urban areas
may be modeled by several different means, Figure 2-5 on page 2-10 illus-
trates the general forms and internal functions. Some forms and functions
may overlap. For example, high-rise buildings are located in core areas as
well as in outlying areas and may be used for residential purposes. With the
rapid urbanization associated with developing nations, the areas displayed in
this urban model often manifest themselves less clearly there than in
developed nations.
2-9
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
Figure 2-5. An Urban Model
CORE
CORE
PERIPHERY
COMMERCIAL
RIBBON AREA
RESIDENTIAL
AREA
INDUSTRIAL AREA
OUTLYING HIGH-
RISE AREA
2-28. This analysis helps to determine, in general terms, potential advan-
tages and disadvantages each portion of the urban area may have toward
accomplishing the urban operation. However, construction materials and
methods can vary drastically. Commanders identify specific building types
and construction and understand weapons effects on them. If a commander
desires precise effects, the chosen munitions or weapons system must be
sufficiently accurate, capable of penetrating the target structure (without
exiting the other side), and achieve effects within. Often noncombatants,
critical infrastructure, or protected targets are in the vicinity. Commanders
may need to determine if the surrounding walls or structures will sufficiently
absorb or negate the blast or thermal effects of the weapon. Regardless,
understanding the structure of buildings in the urban AO allows
commanders to determine the best means to accomplish the mission.
Core
2-29. The core is the heart of the urban area, the downtown or central
business district. Relatively small and compact, it contains a large
percentage of the urban area’s shops, offices, and public institutions. Often, it
houses the headquarters for commercial and financial activities and contains
important cultural, historical, and governmental buildings. These activities
prefer the core because of its accessibility. As the focal point of the
transportation network, residents find the core the easiest part of the urban
area to reach. It normally has the densest concentration of multistory
buildings and subterranean features (underground parking garages, under-
ground shopping centers, and basements).
2-30. High-rise buildings, varying greatly in height (possibly 50 stories above
ground and four stories below ground), make up the cores of today’s urban
areas. Buildings routinely abut one another, with little or no setback from the
sidewalks. Building height and density (except in outlying high-rise areas)
often decreases from the core to the edge of the residential areas, while the
amount of open areas frequently increases. Modern urban planning allows for
more open spaces between buildings than found in the cores of older urban
2-10
Urban Environment
areas. Most core areas have undergone constant redevelopment resulting in
various types of construction. Commonly, brick buildings abound in the
oldest part of the core; framed, heavy-clad structures in the next oldest part;
and a concentration of framed, light-clad buildings in the newest part. The
outer edge of the core, the core periphery, has ordinarily undergone less
change than the core resulting in buildings of uniform height (commonly two
to three stories in towns and five to ten stories in larger urban areas).
2-31. Generally, offensive operations focused in core areas (even when effec-
tively isolated) will require greater resources—particularly manpower, time,
and information—than in many other parts of the urban area. Mounted
maneuver often proves more difficult in core areas because of fewer open
areas, buildings closer to the streets, and more civilian vehicles. Rubbled
buildings in central core areas (especially high-rise buildings) become greater
obstacles to mobility as they can collapse on and easily block thoroughfares.
Rubble piles can afford excellent covered and concealed positions for
dismounted threat forces. Consequently, commanders use more dismounted
forces as part of their combined arms operations. Conversely, the core may be
critical to urban defensive operations, particularly older areas of heavier
construction that afford greater protection. Despite potential difficulties, the
core area may be key to accomplishing many stability or support missions
since it houses much of the human activity that occurs in the urban area.
Industrial Area
2-32. Industrial areas often develop on the outskirts of the urban areas
where commercial transportation is easiest (along airfields and major sea,
river, rail, and highway routes). These areas will likely displace farther from
the core and residential areas as urban planners recognize the potential
threat of TIM. The dispersed pattern of the buildings provides sufficient
space for large cargoes, trucks, and materiel handling equipment. These
areas may provide ideal sites for logistic bases and maintenance sites. While
older, heavier-clad structures may be found, new construction consists of low,
large, flat-roofed factory and warehouse buildings with large parking areas
and work yards. These structures generally have steel frame and lightweight
exterior walls. Multistory structures usually have reinforced concrete floors
and ceilings.
2-33. Toxic industrial chemicals and other TIM may be transported through
an urban area (by rail, barge, truck, or pipeline) or found stored throughout.
However, larger concentrations will exist in industrial areas, and their
presence should concern Army forces operating near them.
2-34. Each year, over 70,000 different chemicals are produced, processed, or
consumed globally. An estimated 25,000 commercial facilities around the
world produce, process, or store chemicals that have a legitimate industrial
use yet are also classified as chemical warfare agents. Many other chemicals
(not classified as weapons) may still be sufficiently hazardous to pose a con-
siderable threat to Army forces and civilians in urban areas as choking
agents or asphyxiates, flammables or incendiaries, water contaminants, low-
grade blister or nerve agents, or debilitating irritants. These chemicals can
be released either accidentally or deliberately. On 2 December 1984, nearly
40 tons of methylisocyanate used to produce pesticides leaked from a storage
2-11
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
tank at Bhopal, India, killing thousands and injuring hundreds of thousands.
Figure 2-6 contains a small sampling of other toxic industrial chemicals
along with their industrial or commercial usage that commanders may
encounter in an urban area. The most common chemicals that pose a risk to
Army forces are highly toxic irritant gases such as ammonia, chlorine,
hydrogen chloride, and sulfur dioxide.
Toxic Industrial
Chemical Industrial/Commercial Uses
Ammonia Commercial Refrigerant, Fertilizer and Food Production, Petroleum,
Explosives, Other Chemicals
Arsine Semiconductor Industry
Boron Trichloride Organic Catalyst, Soldering Magnesium
Boron Trifluoride Chemical Catalyst, Aluminum Refining
Carbon Disulfide Industrial Solvent, Dry-Cleaning, Agriculture, Petroleum, Electroplating
Chlorine Potable Water, Disinfectants, Metal Treatment, Plastics & Rubber
Diborane Plastics and Rubber
Ethylene Oxide Industrial Alcohols, Fumigant, Industrial Sterilant
Fluorine Uranium Processing, Rocket Fuel
Formaldehyde Plastics, Fertilizers, Preservative/ Corrosion Inhibitor, Fungicide and
Germicide, Pesticide, Pharmaceuticals
Fuming Nitric Acid Fertilizers, Explosives, Metal Processing, Pesticides, Rocket Fuel
Hydrogen Bromide Chemical Industry, Pharmaceuticals
Hydrogen Chloride Fabrics, Semiconductors
Hydrogen Cyanide Pesticides, Other Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Electroplating
Hydrogen Fluoride Glass Production, Chemical Catalyst
Hydrogen Sulfide Metallurgy, Agricultural Disinfectant
Phosgene Dyes, Pharmaceuticals, Herbicides & Insecticides
Phosphorus Trichloride Metallurgy, Pesticides and Germicides, Gasoline Additive
Sulfur Dioxide Paper, Food Processing, Ice Production, Disinfectant, Leather Processing
Sulfuric Acid Fertilizers, Petroleum, Iron and Steel Production, Battery Electrolyte
Tungsten Electronics, Other Chemicals
Figure 2-6. Toxic Industrial Chemicals and Their Industrial or Commercial Uses
2-35. Standard chemical defense equipment may not protect against (and
chemical detection devices may fail to detect) many toxic industrial chemi-
cals. Therefore, the risk to soldiers operating near the chemicals may
increase. Commanders vigilantly identify these potential hazards, carefully
consider them as part of their overall vulnerability analysis, factor the anal-
ysis into their risk assessment, and execute necessary contamination avoid-
ance measures. Any assessment includes the chance that toxic industrial
chemicals may be deliberately released by a threat to gain advantage or
accidentally released by friendly actions (see FM 3-21 and FM 3-14).
Outlying High-Rise Area
2-36. High-rise areas consist of multistoried apartments, commercial offices,
and businesses separated by large open areas, such as parking lots, parks,
and individual one-story buildings. High-rise buildings are framed, light-clad
construction with thin walls of brick, lightweight concrete, or glass. The
automobile, mass transit systems, and improved road networks encourage
these areas to grow and function further from the urban core.
2-12
Urban Environment
2-37. Similar to the urban core, units given the mission to clear these areas,
or even portions therein, will need more resources—most notably personnel
and time—to accomplish their mission. Commanders should consider courses
of action that isolate these entire areas, multiple sections within these areas,
or even individual buildings before assigning tasks. The tasks could rapidly
drain a unit’s resources or unhinge other portions of the major operation.
When defending, commanders who can integrate these areas in the defense
will present the attacker with similar resource problems and may be appro-
priate in a defense to delay. However, defending commanders ensure that the
defense is arranged so that this portion cannot be easily isolated and
bypassed. Defensive positions in structures may require extensive reinforce-
ment due to light-clad construction.
Residential Area
2-38. Residential areas can be found dispersed throughout the urban area;
however, large suburban areas (or sprawl) normally form on the outskirts.
Residential areas often consist of row houses or single-family dwellings set in
a grid or ringed pattern in a planned development project. Yards, gardens,
trees, and fences usually separate the buildings in a residential area. Modern
residential construction is often of light-clad, framed wood construction, or
brick. The combined population of surrounding suburban areas often far out-
numbers that of the urban area proper. Specific suburbs tend toward homo-
geneity based on ethnicity, religion, economics, or some other social aspect.
Commanders locate and analyze these areas to determine their impact on
operations—often the most critical importance is the people located there
(see the subsequent discussion in this chapter on the urban society).
2-39. In offensive and defensive operations, commanders determine whether
operations pose an unacceptable physical risk to civilians. If so, they may
have to relocate civilians to a safer area, perhaps another residential area. If
not, commanders may implement a “stay-put” policy for that area and
attempt to isolate the effects of the operation from them. During support
operations, residential locations may be the initial focal point for operations
since most of the permanent population is located there.
2-40. This area also contains a relatively recent urban phenomenon known
as shantytowns. These areas are commonly on unoccupied, low-value land in
and around many urban areas in underdeveloped countries. Shantytowns
may contain over 50 percent of the total urban population. They usually lack
streets and public utilities. The lean-to structures tend to be irregularly laid
out, connected by walking paths, and made of any scrap material available:
lumber, brick, sheet metal, cardboard, cloth, or vegetation. The random
arrangement of structures, the absence of formal street naming and num-
bering, and often the lack of easily identifiable buildings and terrain create
challenges. These challenges include navigating, coordinating, and transmit-
ting accurate information and intelligence. Depending on the operation, the
temporary nature of the structures can also mean that mobility can be either
more or less restricted than other sections of the urban area. A military force
may easily knock down and traverse structures without affecting mobility at
all. However, their destruction may cause unacceptable civilian casualties, in
which case mobility becomes more restrictive as the narrow paths often do
2-13
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
not accommodate vehicular traffic. Similarly, the makeshift materials inhibit
weapons effects less than many other parts of the urban area built more
solidly. A tank round, for example, may go much farther and injure many
more noncombatants than in an area where the primary building material is
stone. Regardless, commanders consider the effects of their operations in this
area, to include vehicles and weapons, as the weak structures increase the
risk of fratricide, civilian casualties, and large, rapidly spreading fires.
Commercial Ribbon Area
2-41. Commercial ribbon areas are rows of stores, shops, and restaurants
built along both sides of major streets that run through and between urban
areas. These same types of areas often develop along the roads that connect
one urban area to another (strip areas). The buildings uniformly stand two to
three stories tall (about one story taller than the dwellings on the streets
behind them).
URBAN SOCIETY
2-42. Although intricate,
understanding the urban
terrain is relatively
straightforward in com-
parison to compre-
hending the multifaceted
nature of urban society.
UO often require Army
forces to operate in close
proximity to a high den-
sity of civilians. Even
evacuated areas can have
a stay-behind population
in the tens of thousands.
This population’s pres-
ence, attitudes, actions,
communications with the
media, and needs may affect the conduct of operations. Homogeneity de-
creases drastically as the size of the urban area increases. Commanders take
into account the characteristics of a population whose beliefs and interests
vary based on factors. Figure 2-7 lists the factors. Civilian populations con-
tinually influence, to varying degrees, operations conducted in an urban area.
Thoroughly understanding these societal aspects and avoiding “mirror-
imaging”—overlaying one’s own values and thought processes on top of the
person or group one is trying to assess—will help to accurately anticipate
civilian actions and response.
?
Ethnicity and
Culture
Government
and Politics
Religion
Population
Demographics
Health
Leadership and
Prominent
Personalities
History
KEY ASPECTS OF THE
URBAN SOCIETY
Figure 2-7. Key Aspects of the Urban Society
POTENTIAL CENTER OF GRAVITY
2-43. A COG during an urban operation, particularly in stability operations
and support operations, may be the civilian inhabitants themselves—specifi-
cally their behavior. However, supportive behavior is generally an advantage
in any type of operation. Correspondingly, neutral behavior toward friendly
2-14
Urban Environment
forces is an advantage over hostile behavior. To influence or control their
behavior, commanders first understand the society’s complex nature and
character. Second, they understand and accept that every military action (or
inaction) may influence the relationship between the urban population and
Army forces, and, by extension, mission success. Lastly, they understand that
Army forces may play only a supporting (but essential) role as part of an inte-
grated and synchronized multiagency effort focusing all aspects of national
power. With this awareness, commanders can take one or more actions:
Coordinate and plan operations.
Implement effective programs.
Take the immediate action necessary to maintain support of a friendly
populace, neutralize or gain the support of hostile or neutral factions,
or do any combination of these activities to achieve precise effects and
accomplish the mission.
Without this understanding, commanders increase the risk that their actions,
particularly concerning the urban population, may not have the intended and
necessary effects.
2-44. Although the factor of civil considerations takes on added significance
in UO, it is just one that commanders evaluate. Sometimes it may be the
most important factor to consider as a COG. At other times it may be the
least important as to be almost negligible. Its importance is not constant; it
changes over time (like all factors). At the beginning of the operation, civil
considerations may not be essential to mission accomplishment, but as the
operation progresses this factor’s importance to success may increase. In
other circumstances, the opposite may be true. Overall, commanders consider
three objectives regarding the civilians of the urban area:
Minimize their interference with urban operations. In offensive and
defensive operations this means moving them away from combat
operations. In all operations, it often requires centralizing them in one
or more locations.
Maximize their support of Army, joint, and multinational forces and
government agencies.
Observe the necessary legal, moral, and humanitarian obligations.
GENERAL POPULATION SIZE
2-45. Urban areas are com-
monly classified according
to the general size of their
population instead of land-
mass. Figure 2-8 lists cate-
gories of urban areas with
their defining population.
Category Population
Village 3,000 or less.
Town Over 3,000 to 100,000.
City Over 100,000 to 1 million.
Metropolis Over 1 million to 10 million.
Megalopolis Over 10 million.
Figure 2-8. Urban Areas by Population Size
2-46. These categories are useful to establish commonality and standardize
terms that shape ideas, discussion, and concepts. Smaller populations usually
suggest homogeneity among the inhabitants. Homogeneity can make consen-
sus or compromise easier to achieve because fewer opposing viewpoints exist.
Given this homogeneity, effects of change are more certain and often easier to
determine. However, homogenous does not mean identical. If major social
2-15
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
divisions do exist (either physical or ideological), commanders can more
easily determine those divisions and their fundamental causes with smaller
populations.
2-47. As urban areas expand, the urban patterns begin to blur and the social
complexity increases. For example, as satellite patterns continue to grow, the
LOCs between a central hub and outlying urban areas may develop and
begin to assume a linear urban pattern. Simultaneously, a hub and outlying
urban areas may continue to expand until they merge into a single, large
metropolis. On a larger scale, a network pattern can grow and unite as a
single megalopolis. This growth physically unites smaller urban areas but
cannot force conformity of needs and beliefs. It also increases the physical
and social complexity of an urban area.
GROUP SIZE, LOCATION, AND COMPOSITION
2-48. Understanding
how specific elements
of the urban society
affect operations (and
vice versa) normally
begins with analyzing
their size, location,
and composition (see
Figure 2-9). Because
commanders must
minimize civilian cas-
ualties, size and loca-
tion (without regard
to composition) are
important initial
demographic consid-
erations. After deter-
mining the presence
and numbers of civilians relative to decisive points, commanders can then
decide whether civilian proximity and density represent a significant risk to
their mission—refugees clogging LOCs, for example. If civilians are the
primary focus of the operation, as in many stability operations and support
operations, this same analysis may help to determine decisive points. In this
analysis, commanders consider that urban areas, on many levels, are in
constant motion. The densities of circulating people and other traffic often
vary according to the time of day, such as rush hours and market times. In
planning urban operations, commanders may need to consider the timing or
rhythms of population and vehicular movements in the urban area.
Size
&
Density
Composition
Location
&
Proximity
Beliefs
Needs
Agendas
Interact
Influence
Control
Who Does What to Whom? And Why?
With What
Effects?
Necessitating What
Changes?
Actions
Leadership
and
Organization
Interests
Figure 2-9. Simplified Analysis of Urban Society
2-49. Commanders determine the composition of, or the identifiable groups
or organizations within, the civilian urban population. Groups may be cate-
gorized by race, religion, national origin, tribe, clan, economic or social class,
party affiliation, education level, union memberships, age, gender, occupa-
tion, or any other significant social grouping. Physical and ideological over-
laps (and divisions) often exist between groups. Overlaps may provide early
focus for analysis and suggest ways to affect more than one group
2-16
Urban Environment
2-17
simultaneously. In some cases, groups may have radically different ideologies
but are (or can be) united by a single characteristic. Commanders understand
the intricacies of “who does what to whom.” Such understanding furthers
identifying the urban society’s sources of power, influence (both formal and
informal), and decisive points that hold the keys to controlling or protecting
this potential COG. (See also the discussion of competing power structures in
Chapter 3.) Commanders have expert, detailed, and current knowledge and
information to avoid developing simple formulas of social interaction that
may actively mislead and add to a flawed course of action.
LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATION
2-50. Commanders also understand how authority and responsibility is held
or shared within and between each of the identified groups. For groups to
exert meaningful influence, leadership provides vision, direction, and
organized coherence. This leadership can be a function of personality as well
as organization. Some groups depend on a charismatic leader to provide cohe-
sion. Others de-emphasize individual leadership and provide redundancy and
replacement in decisionmaking. Others combine elements of both these types
of leadership and organization. Based solely on personality, a leader may cen-
tralize power or, while still being in ultimate control, decentralize decision-
making and execution to subordinates. In contrast, a single person may head
a group while a ruling council actually makes and executes policy. Groups
centered on one leader (which may or may not be the officially designated
leader) can often produce decisions and initiate actions rapidly but are
vulnerable to disruptions if key personalities are removed or co-opted.
Groups with shared or redundant leadership take longer to make decisions
yet are more resistant to change and outside influence.
INTERESTS AND ACTIONS
Me and Somalia against the world,
me and my clan against Somalia,
me and my family against the clan,
me and my brother against my
family, me against my brother.
Somali Proverb
2-51. Identifying and analyzing
groups also helps commanders
focus on specific segments of the
urban society to determine their
beliefs, needs, and agendas. It also
helps commanders determine how
those interests motivate groups to
future action (or inaction)—
previous patterns of activity are critical in this regard. This analysis seeks to
determine why groups (and their leaders) act as they do. Commanders con-
sider political, economic, cultural, and religious factors in this analysis. These
factors affect all groups to some extent and often provide the basis for their
beliefs, needs (actual or perceived), and subsequent behavior. Size and loca-
tion considerations also apply to each group to help determine to what extent
its beliefs or ideologies, needs, and actions may impact the urban operation.
However, size and proximity may not accurately indicate actual or potential
capabilities. Individuals, small groups, and groups located some distance
from the actual conduct of the urban operation may be able to influence large
portions of the population. These individuals or groups may have a capability
disproportionate to their size and proximity—especially against objectives
that are not terrain oriented (as in the case of many stability operations).
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
INTERACTION, INFLUENCE, OR CONTROL
2-52. As shown above, commanders cultivate an understanding of a group’s—
Size, location (and proximity to operations), and composition (to
include leadership and organization).
Interests.
Capabilities.
Potential actions (intent) and their effects—if any—on operations.
Then they can develop or modify courses of action as appropriate. Certain
courses of action may be needed to improve the interaction between Army
forces and civilians (and between other agencies) to accomplish common
goals. Others may be needed to influence favorable support, stabilize neutral
groups, or neutralize hostile groups. Still others may require more forceful
means to control and protect civilians. The latter can include establishing
buffer zones and restricted areas; setting up checkpoints and roadblocks with
other travel restrictions, controlling rations; enforcing curfews; inspecting
facilities; conducting internment and resettlement operations; or maintaining
a “stay-put” policy.
2-53. Commanders remember that many measures will require significant
resources that may initially be beyond the capabilities of the Army force to
impose and enforce. (Where possible, commanders should attempt to use local
law enforcement to accomplish controlling activities.) The other elements of the
environment, terrain and infrastructure, may fragment efforts and make it
difficult to consistently impose controls throughout the urban area. A careful
assessment of the urban society’s interests (beliefs, needs, and agendas) is
essential before implementing any populace and resources control measures.
Otherwise, inappropriate controls may only aggravate the situation. Finally,
an appropriate course of action may require no specific action towards the
urban society. In most cases, training and discipline, grounded in cultural
understanding and sensitivity, will help mitigate many potential adverse
effects resulting from military-civilian interaction. Soldier training should
also include learning basic commands or phrases in the most common
language to their AO. (Commanders should review FM 3-15 and FM 3-19.40
for additional civilian control measures and considerations.)
A CYCLE OF EFFECTS
2-54. Since the urban society is so dynamic and the relationship between
various elements of the society so complex, commanders continually assess
how their operations will affect the society’s interests and intent and vice
versa. Specifically, they assess how effectively their measures improve
interaction with, influence of, and control over civilians’ (see Figure 2-10).
There is always a difference between intended and actual effects of a specific
course of action. Nowhere is this more prominent than dealing with the urban
society. This cycle of effects frustrates assessment during UO. Therefore,
commanders continuously monitor these effects to make decisions and modi-
fications while planning, preparing, executing, and transitioning UO.
Initially certain aspects of the society, such as religion, may not affect the
operation. However if the threat successfully shapes the perceptions of the
urban populace that Army forces are biased against them (or at least critical
segments are affected by propaganda), this element may become extremely
2-18
Urban Environment
important. In this instance, the
urban commander may need to
adjust his IO (to include PSYOP),
public affairs (PA) activities, and
CMO to counter this propaganda
while diverting other combat
power to control the populace.
URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE
2-55. Urban infrastructures are
those systems that support urban
inhabitants and their economy.
They link the physical terrain to
the urban society. Destroying,
controlling, or protecting vital
parts of the infrastructure can
isolate a threat from potential
sources of support. A threat force
operating in an urban area may
rely on the area’s water, electricity, and sources of bulk fuel to support his
forces. This is true particularly when his bases or facilities are physically
located in or near the area. Isolating this threat from these sources may
require him to generate his own electricity and transport his own water and
fuel from outside the urban area. To transport supplies, the threat may rely
on roads, airfields, sea- or river lanes, and rail lines. Controlling these
critical transportation nodes may prevent the threat from resupplying his
forces. The control of key radio, television, and newspaper facilities may
isolate him from the urban populace (another potential source of support).
Figure 2-10. UO–Society Cycle of Effects
INTERDEPENDENCE
2-56. Commanders understand that destroying or disrupting any portion of
the urban infrastructure can have a cascading effect (either intentional or
unintentional) on the other elements of the infrastructure. Yet, they may be
able to gain an operational advantage while minimizing unwanted effects.
Commanders can seize or secure an essential facility or structure by using
precision munitions, electronic disruption of communications, or SOF and
conventional ground forces. To gain this advantage, commanders will rely
more on the expertise of engineer and civil affairs units, local urban engi-
neers and planners, and others with infrastructure-specific expertise. After
understanding the technical aspects of the area’s systems, they can develop
the best course of action.
SEPARATE PARTS OF A WHOLE
2-57. Hundreds of systems may exist. Each system has a critical role in the
smooth functioning of the urban area. Simple or complex, all systems fit into
five broad categories (see Figure 2-11 on page 2-20). Commanders analyze
key facilities in each category and determine their role and importance
throughout all phases of the urban operation. This analysis considers each
2-19
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
infrastructure system individually and
in relation to others to determine an
appropriate course of action toward it.
ommunications
and
Information
Transportation
and
Distribution
Energy
Administration
and Human
Services
Economics
and
Commerce
C
STRUCTURES AND PEOPLE
Figure 2-11. Urban Infrastructure
2-58. As depicted in Figure 2-1, each
element of the infrastructure consists
of both a terrain (physical) and human
component. For example, the physical
component of the electrical segment of
the energy infrastructure consists of
power stations, substations, a distri-
bution network of lines and wires, and
necessary vehicles and repair supplies
and equipment. The human compo-
nent of this same segment consists of the supervisors, engineers, linemen,
and electricians who operate the system. Commanders understand and recog-
nize the physical and human components in their assessments.
IMPACT ON FUTURE OPERATIONS
2-59. Destroying or incapacitating of any of these elements may impact
future operations and inhabitants of the urban area. Destroying urban infra-
structure during initial phases of an operation may require commanders to
assume responsibility for repair, maintenance and clean up, and operation of
those same facilities later. Although exceptions will exist, commanders
cannot destroy or significantly damage the infrastructure of a foreign urban
center during operations and expect the population to remain friendly to US
or allied forces. Still, support from the urban society (albeit of increased
importance in UO) is only one factor that commanders weigh while develop-
ing appropriate courses of action.
RESOURCE INTENSIVE
2-60. Requirements to protect, restore, or maintain critical infrastructure
may divert substantial amounts of resources and manpower needed else-
where and place additional constraints on subordinate commanders. Civilian
infrastructure is often more difficult to secure and defend than military infra-
structure. The potentially large and sprawling nature of many systems (such
as water, power, transportation, communications, and government) make
their protection a challenge. Yet, the infrastructure of an urban area can
provide commanders with essential logistics and combat service support.
Therefore, the initial expenditure of time and other resources may be
necessary to support concurrent or future operations. Legal considerations,
however, may affect using the infrastructure and acquiring the urban area’s
goods and services. Commanders, their staffs, and subordinates (often down
to the individual soldier) know their limits concerning Army authority to
commandeer civilian supplies or equipment to facilitate mission accom-
plishment (see the legal support discussion in Chapter 9). In stability opera-
tions and support operations, the safeguard or restoration of critical urban
infrastructure for military or civilian use may be a decisive point in the
overall operation.
2-20
Urban Environment
COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
2-61. This system is comprised of the facilities and means to transmit infor-
mation from place to place. It includes—
Telecommunications, such as telephones (to include wireless), tele-
graphs, radios, televisions, and computers.
Police, fire, and rescue communications systems.
The postal system.
Newspapers, magazines, and other forms of print media.
The human interaction that conveys information.
Perhaps more than any other element of the infrastructure, communications
and information link all the other elements in an interdependent “system of
systems.”
2-62. Urban communications and information systems can serve as an alter-
nate for both friendly and threat forces and can be easily secured with
civilian, off-the-shelf technologies. Threats may make use of commercial sys-
tems intertwined with legitimate civilian users, making it unpalatable to
prevent use of these assets. Forces can also use these systems to influence
public opinion, gain intelligence information, support deception efforts, or
otherwise support IO.
Increasing Impact of Computers
2-63. In many urban areas, computers link other elements of the urban infra-
structure. They link functions and systems in the urban area and connect the
area to other parts of the world. This latter aspect creates important implica-
tions for commanders of a major operation. Operations involving this cyber-
netic function may produce undesirable effects on a greater scale than ini-
tially intended. For example, commanders may be able to close or obstruct an
urban area’s banking system; however, this system may impact the interna-
tional monetary exchange with unwanted or even unknown effects. The auth-
ority to conduct these types of IO will often be retained at the strategic level.
Whoever coined the phrase ‘The Theatre of Operations’ was very prescient. We are
conducting operations now as though we are on a stage, in an amphitheatre, or
Roman arena; there are at least two producers and directors working in opposition to
each other, the players, each with their own idea of the script, are more often than not
mixed up with the stage hands, ticket collectors and ice cream vendors, while a fac-
tional audience, its attention focused on that part of the auditorium where it is noisiest,
views and gains an understanding of events by peering down the drinking straws of
their soft drink packs.
General Sir Rupert Smith
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Pervasive Media
2-64. The media is central to the communications and information infrastruc-
ture and a critical operational concern. Compared to other operational environ-
ments (jungles, deserts, mountains, and cold weather areas), it has more
access to urban operations. This is due largely to airports, sea- and river
2-21
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
ports, and major road networks; ready access to power sources and
telecommunications facilities; as well as access to existing local media struc-
tures. Hence, media presence may be pervasive and IO even more critical to
success in UO than operations in many other environments.
2-65. A Complex Relationship. A complex relationship exists among infor-
mation, the public, and policy formulation. Although the degree and manner
in which public opinion shapes government policy are uncertain, negative
visual images of military operations presented by the media can change polit-
ical objectives and, subsequently, military objectives. As important, media
reporting can influence civilian activity in an urban AO to either the advan-
tage or disadvantage of the commander.
2-66. Induce Cooperation Through Credibility. Commanders do not con-
trol the media; however, they monitor the flow of information that the news
media receives and subsequently reports. Consequently, commanders plan
and execute PA operations that will induce cooperation between the media
and Army forces. Successful relations between urban Army forces and the
news media evolve from regular interaction based on credibility and trust.
More information is usually better than less, except when the release of such
information may jeopardize security and the success of the operations and
threaten the safety of soldiers. However, commanders cannot simply withhold
information to protect the command from embarrassment. They consider
media interests as part of the normal planning process and work to ensure
that information presented to the news media is accurate, timely, and consis-
tent with operations security. Since the media will likely arrive in the urban
area before the conduct of operations, early deployment of PA assets may be
critical. Commanders synchronize PA activities with CMO and PSYOP. Such
action eliminates duplicated effort and ensures a unity of purpose consistent
with the IO concept of support (see Chapter 4 for more details involving IO
and PA during UO).
2-67. Failure to provide sufficient information can hamper a commander’s
ability to conduct the mission. Poor relationships with the media can result
in inaccurate and even biased reporting. Such reporting can cause a public
reaction that influences the ability to achieve operational objectives. During
the Russian 1994-95 battle against Chechen separatists in Grozny, for
example, the Russian military refused to communicate with reporters. The
media reported primarily from the perspective of the Chechen rebels. This
encouraged both local and international support for the rebels. It also allowed
the Chechens, who lacked sophisticated information systems, to use the
media to broadcast operational guidance to their forces. (During their second
Chechnya campaign of 1999-2000, Russia learned this lesson well and the
Russian view of the war dominated domestic public opinion.) On the other
hand, successfully engaging the media can serve as a force multiplier. The
Army’s open and responsive interaction with the media during peacekeeping
operations in Bosnian urban areas helped to explain the challenges and
successes of Army forces in the Balkans to the public. This helped maintain
domestic, international, and local political support for NATO operations and,
with a successful command information program, helped maintain soldiers’
morale.
2-22
Urban Environment
TRANSPORTATION AND DISTRIBUTION
2-68. This element of the infrastructure consists of—
Cableways and tramways.
Networked highways and railways to include bridges, subways and
tunnels, underpasses and overpasses, ferries, and fords.
Ports, harbors, and inland waterways.
Airports, seaplane stations, and heliports.
Mass transit.
Trucking companies and delivery services that facilitate the movement
of supplies, equipment, and people.
Similar to communications and information, this facet provides the physical
link to all other elements of the infrastructure.
2-69. Army forces deploying into a theater of operations depend on ports and
airfields; seizure of these assets may impact the projection of combat power.
Once in theater, transportation and distribution systems in the urban area
can contribute greatly to the movement of forces, maneuver, and logistic
operations throughout the entire AO. Control of decisive points in this infra-
structure may be important to the military operation and to the normal func-
tioning of the urban area (and surrounding rural areas). Supplies traveling
through the transportation and distribution system may be military-specific
supplies (such as ammunition and repair parts) and supplies for both the
military and urban population (such as food, medicine, oil, and gas). The
system may also support the movement of military forces and the urban
area’s population (for which it was designed). Therefore, commanders of a
major operation may have to develop innovative methods that limit the
transit of threat supplies and reinforcements while facilitating the movement
of their own resources and those of civilians’. This last consideration
attempts to minimize hardship and promote normalcy in the urban area and
will increase in significance as the need for legitimacy increases.
2-70. Most urban areas (particularly in developing countries) have two forms
of transportation systems that exist simultaneously: a formal system and an
informal or paratransit system. Large organizations, bureaucracy, imported
technology, scheduled services, and fixed fares or rates characterize formal
systems. Low barriers to entry; family and individual entrepreneur organiza-
tions; adapted technology; flexible routes, destinations, and times of service;
and negotiated prices characterize the informal system. The informal system
is more decentralized and covers a much greater portion of the urban area
than the formal system. The informal transportation and distribution system
often includes a waterborne element, is more likely to function through
turbulence and conflict, and can extend hundreds of kilometers beyond the
urban area. Accordingly, commanders assess both systems to establish
effective movement control.
ENERGY
2-71. The energy system provides the power to run the urban area. It
consists of the industries and facilities that produce, store, and distribute
electricity, coal, oil, and natural gas. This area also encompasses alternate
energy sources, such as nuclear, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power.
2-23
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
2-72. Sources of energy may be tens or hundreds of miles away from the
urban area itself. Therefore, commanders may exert control without applying
combat power directly to the urban area itself by controlling or destroying
the source (power generation or refinement plant) or the method of
distribution (pipe- or power lines). With electrical energy that cannot be
stored in any sizable amount, the latter may be the best means as most major
urban areas receive this energy from more than one source in a network of
power grids. However, control may be as simple as securing a power station
or plant and turning off switches or removing a vital component that could
later be restored. On the other hand, lengthy pipe- and power lines may
compound security and protection of this element of the infrastructure.
2-73. The number of nations that have invested in nuclear power and
nuclear research is increasing. With this increase, the potential for Army
forces to operate in urban areas that include (or are near) these facilities also
increases. Damage to one of these facilities and potential radiation hazards
will present special challenges to commanders of a major operation. To
safeguard friendly forces and civilians, commanders will need to employ a
blend of peacetime and tactical nuclear contamination avoidance principles
(see FM 3-14).
ECONOMICS AND COMMERCE
2-74. This system encompasses—
Business and financial centers to include stores, shops, restaurants,
hotels, marketplaces, banks, trading centers, and business offices.
Outlying industrial and agricultural features to include strip malls,
farms, food storage centers, manufacturing plants, and mills.
The latter elements also consist of the production and storage of toxic indus-
trial chemicals used in agriculture (insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers),
manufacturing, cleaning, and research (to include biological agents). (See
concerns of TIM previously discussed under Industrial Areas.) Recreational
facilities such as amusement parks, golf courses, and stadiums are also part
of this element of the infrastructure. In their overall assessment of this area
of the infrastructure, commanders consider the activities and influence of
criminal organizations or elements.
2-75. A critical aspect of this area during operations may be the political
sensitivity of US or allied industries investing and operating in a foreign
country, particularly during stability operations and support operations. An
enemy or a disgruntled civilian population may attack or disrupt commercial
activities as a political statement against the US or our allies. Food produc-
tion facilities also may assist commanders in Army food services and may be
of critical concern during relief operations.
ADMINISTRATION AND HUMAN SERVICES
2-76. This broad system covers urban administrative organizations
concerned with urban area’s public health, safety, and welfare. It also
includes many organizations and structures that provide the urban populace
with its social identity. Together, it encompasses—
2-24
Urban Environment
Governmental services that include embassies and diplomatic organi-
zations.
Activities that manage vital records, such as birth certificates and
deeds.
The judicial system.
Welfare systems.
Schools and universities.
Religious organizations and their churches and shrines.
Historic monuments and other cultural resources.
Hospitals and other medical services.
Water supply systems.
Waste and hazardous material storage and processing facilities.
Emergency services, such as police, fire, and rescue.
2-77. Losing many of these services often has an immediate, destabilizing,
and life-threatening impact on the inhabitants of the urban area. In stability
operations and support operations, numerous administrative and human ser-
vices often rise to critical importance before all other elements. However, res-
toration of these services is often a lengthy civil-military operation.
Seeing the Urban Area and Its Parts
The summer of 1944 confronted German General Dietrich von Choltitz with a
dilemma. As military commander of greater Paris, he was to eliminate French
Resistance internal to the city while defending against approaching Allied units,
missions for which he had insufficient forces. Choltitz’s situation was further
complicated by Hitler’s demand that he destroy the city, an action the general
saw as needlessly destructive (and infeasible given his scant resources).
Choltitz’s seniors directed the preparation, and later the destruction, of Paris’s
45 Seine River bridges. They were the only remaining crossing points over that
waterway given Allied bombing of others outside the French capital. Premature
destruction would trap German forces defending to their north, a second-order
effect that Choltitz used to justify his disobedience of orders demanding the
bridges’ demolition.
The German general also recognized that some mission-critical elements were
part of Paris’s social rather than physical infrastructure: the leadership of the
various resistance groups and the relationships between them. Choltitz under-
stood that he lacked resources to defeat the many separate factions; he
therefore chose the unorthodox (asymmetric) approach of accepting an inter-
mediary’s offer of a truce with these groups. Such an agreement provided some
measure of the stability needed while Choltitz awaited promised reinforcements.
Further, he realized that the resistance factions were by no means united in
their goals. Communist elements sought a much different end than those
looking toward a de Gaulle-led postwar government. A truce thus set the French
Communists (who sought an uprising so as to legitimize their claims to power)
against others trying to buy time until Allied forces arrived, forces that included
Free French units supportive of de Gaulle.
2-25
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
2-26
Although his defense of the capital failed, Choltitz succeeded in harboring his
available resources, reducing the effectiveness of the resistance organizations
fighting his soldiers, and maintaining withdrawal routes for units north of the
Seine. The German commander’s analysis in support of these efforts was
effective in part because of his insightful (1) identification of critical points that
included elements of terrain, citizenry, and infrastructure; (2) understanding of
the relationships between these parts; and (3) use of an asymmetric approach
to address his lack of sufficient force to otherwise handle the densities that
challenged him.
Chapter 3
Urban Threat
. . . [T]he United States could be forced to intervene in unexpected
crises against opponents with a wide range of capabilities. Moreover,
these interventions may take place in distant regions where urban
environments, other complex terrain, and varied climatic conditions
present major operational challenges.
Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 30 September 2001
As the strategic environment has become less stable, more uncertain, and
more dangerous, Army forces are trained and ready to address urban
threats. These threats range from regional conventional military forces,
paramilitary forces, guerrillas, and insurgents to terrorists, criminal
groups, and angry crowds. Although uncertain about events, Army forces
can be clear about trends. Increasingly, the Army will face threats that
severely differ in doctrine, organization, and equipment, yet can fully in-
teract with the three other components of the urban battlefield—terrain,
society, and infrastructure. In stability operations and support operations,
commanders broaden their concept of the threat to include natural
disasters, hunger and starvation, and rampant disease. Further, com-
manders plan to contend with many passive urban threats, such as
psychological illnesses and toxic industrial materials (TIM). These threats
may be found in isolation, but most likely commanders will encounter
them in various combinations. Moreover, each new threat will pose a
different combination and likely have new capabilities that previous oppo-
nents lacked.
CONTENTS
Asymmetry .................................................... 3-2
Weapons of Mass Destruction .................... 3-2
Threat Operational Principles ..................... 3-3
Deny Access ............................................. 3-3
Neutralize Technology Overmatch ......... 3-4
Control the Tempo.................................... 3-4
Change the Nature of the Conflict .......... 3-5
Cause Politically Unacceptable
Casualties................................................. 3-5
Allow No Sanctuary.................................. 3-5
Conduct Dispersed and Decentralized
Operations................................................ 3-6
Urban Threat Tactics.................................... 3-6
Use the Population to Advantage ........... 3-6
Win the Information War ..........................3-9
Manipulate Key Facilities .......................3-10
Use All Dimensions ................................3-10
Employ Urban-Oriented Weapons ........ 3-10
Engage Entire Enemy Force ..................3-11
Focus Attacks on Support Areas,
Isolated Groups, and Individuals .........3-11
Negative Effects of Urbanization ..............3-11
General Instability................................... 3-12
Food and Water Shortages ....................3-13
Disease and Pollution ............................3-14
Competing Power Structures ................3-15
3-1
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
ASYMMETRY
3-1. An emphasis on asymmetric means to offset United States (US) military
capability has emerged as a significant trend among potential threats and
become an integral part of the threat principles and tactics discussed below.
Asymmetry results when one opponent has dissimilar capabilities—values,
organization, training, or equipment—that the other cannot counter. It is not
a new concept. It naturally evolves from a sound mission, enemy, terrain and
weather, troops and support available, time available, civil considerations
(METT-TC) analysis by an intelligent, freethinking, and adaptive threat.
These asymmetric approaches will include the most advanced, commercially-
available technology innovatively applied and mixed with crude, simple, and
unsophisticated weapons, tactics, techniques, and procedures.
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
3-2. A chief asymmetric means of engaging the national power of the US is to
employ weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against the US or its allies.
These weapons can be used against military forces by military forces and
include high-yield explosives as well as nuclear, biological, and chemical
weapons. Operations in urban areas may require concentrating forces and
may create a lucrative target for a threat that possesses fewer numbers and
less equipment.
3-3. A threat’s WMD use will adversely affect the Army’s abilities to conduct
urban operations (UO) to various degrees. For example, the intervening
structures and the effects of urban microclimates complicate the ability to
detect and identify radiological, chemical, or biological attacks from a
standoff distance. Also, the individual soldier’s ability to recognize his
leaders, understand oral and visual commands, and operate increasingly
sophisticated equipment is difficult when wearing protective clothing and
equipment—particularly if his training proficiency is low. Despite the
increased challenges and complexity, Army forces have the training and
equipment necessary to respond to such an attack compared to most armies
around the world, but certainly when compared to the civilian sector.
3-4. Although initial casualties could be high, the public can accept military
casualties before those of civilians. Therefore, threats may gain an initial tac-
tical advantage but would achieve less asymmetric benefit by directly at-
tacking Army forces. They may attempt to achieve an extraordinary asym-
metric strategic advantage by employing WMD against US or allied civilian
populations. In doing so, threats hope to use political sensitivity to high
civilian casualties to reduce popular support for the US or its allies. The
chance of these attacks occurring in an urban area increases because—
The area facilitates weapons’ effects and camouflages delivery means.
The dense civilian population ensures a high casualty rate.
The attack (or even the threat of attack) often will receive more
publicity and public attention.
The urban area’s infrastructure is especially vulnerable to WMD, par-
ticularly the systems of the economics and commerce infrastructure
located in large urban areas, and may have far-reaching national and
global effects.
3-2
Urban Threat
THREAT OPERATIONAL PRINCIPLES
3-5. The threat may apply
several key operational prin-
ciples to oppose Army forces
operating in an urban envi-
ronment (see Figure 3-1).
These principles focus more
on how a threat might fight
in an urban area rather than
specifically whom the threat
might be or in what region of
the world the conflict might
occur. They are more effec-
tive in an urban environment
due to—
The high costs in time,
material, and man-
power involved in UO.
The limiting effects of
urban areas on many technological advantages.
Deny
Access
Neutralize Technology
Overmatch
Conduct Dispersed
and Decentralized
Actions
Control the Tempo
Change the Nature
of the Conflict
Allow No Sanctuary
Cause Politically
Unacceptable
Casualties
Figure 3-1. Threat Operational Principles
The proximity of airfields and ports to urban areas.
The potential moral dilemmas created by exposing numerous civilians
to harm or injury.
These principles complement and overlap each other; however, at their core
is the need to defeat an enemy of superior numbers, technology, or both.
DENY ACCESS
3-6. The Army may not be located where future conflicts are fought. Thus,
the Army maintains the ability to rapidly project and sustain combat power
over long distances and time spans. This capability demands that Army forces
quickly gain and maintain control of seaports or aerial ports of embarkation or
debarkation, particularly where the density of US basing and en route
infrastructure is low. Commanders gain control of these ports by unopposed
(assisted or unassisted) or forcible entry operations. In either case, these
phased-entry operations may present potential vulnerabilities, particularly—
Unsuitable composition of initial or early entry forces lacking
necessary combat power for immediate decisive operations.
Initial command and control difficulties and an immature situational
understanding.
Lack of developed theater support.
3-7. Consequently, threats may attack during initial force projection opera-
tions to oppose, disrupt, or prevent the build-up of essential combat power
into a theater of operations. These attacks may occur anywhere deploying
Army forces are located, at overseas bases, at home stations, and even in
military communities. Increasingly, deployment facilities such as airfields
and ports exist as integral components of urban areas. Threats will invariably
use the complex and concealing nature of these urban areas, coupled with the
vulnerabilities, to create favorable conditions for their attacks.
3-3
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
NEUTRALIZE TECHNOLOGY OVERMATCH
3-8. Threats will always strive to force engagements at a time and place
most advantageous to them. They may locate military forces and vital
military capabilities in urban areas to achieve sanctuary from the effects of
Army capabilities and make Army forces and systems more vulnerable to
less-sophisticated weapons.
3-9. The clutter of the physical structures, electromagnetic radiation, and
population diminishes Army capabilities. This clutter makes it difficult for
Army forces to acquire and effectively engage targets at long ranges. In
urban areas, the terrain often allows a threat to operate in closer proximity
to friendly forces. Therefore, the threat may “hug” friendly forces to avoid the
effects of high-firepower standoff weapon systems and degrade their ability
to gain or maintain a thorough common operational picture. Additionally,
this threat tactic attempts to inhibit friendly commanders from employing
some weapon systems and munitions for fear of fratricide.
CONTROL THE TEMPO
3-10. Threats will try to achieve a decisive advantage by setting and con-
trolling the tempo necessary to achieve their objectives. To prevent the
Army’s entry into theater, threats may try to create a high operational tempo
to take advantage of the inherent weaknesses in power projection operations
outlined earlier. As other efforts deny entry, threats may seize the initiative,
achieve surprise, and exploit the tempo differential by attacking with heavy
conventional forces potentially possessing greater firepower and more rapid
ground mobility than the Army’s initial-entry forces.
3-11. If they cannot deny entry or end the conflict quickly, threats may use
any preparations made in the initial high-tempo period to prolong the event,
aiming to degrade US or allied commitment. The complex nature of the urban
environment slows operations conducted in and around these areas. Threats
may maximize this characteristic by fighting for key urban complexes and
infrastructure, forcing friendly forces to operate within these areas. If Army
operations focus on one or more urban areas, the overall campaign slows.
However, even when UO make up only one component of a much larger
campaign, they may consume valuable resources needed for other operations
and delay the entire campaign.
Tempo
The battle for Aachen, Germany, in the fall of 1944, developed during the US
First Army’s offensive to breach the Westwall fortifications. Aachen, the ancient
capital of Charlemagne, had symbolic political and psychological significance for
the Germans and Americans. Furthermore, it was the first city on German soil to
face an assault by the Allies. Consequently, the symbolic importance of this first
major battle in Germany ensured bitter resistance against American attackers.
The Germans surrendered only after the city was destroyed. Expected to take a
few days, instead, the battle took weeks. Although the Army had achieved a
clear tactical victory, the German defense of Aachen cost the First Army valuable
time and resources, and delayed the planned attack to the Rhine River.
3-4
Urban Threat
CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE CONFLICT
3-12. Threats may attempt to change the fundamental nature of the urban
conflict to exploit ambiguous or tenuous political-military objectives. Many
nations gain and maintain domestic popular support to use their armies for
political objectives. The threat may attempt to change the nature of the con-
flict by modifying its strategy and tactics, the environment, or any combina-
tion, ultimately hoping to reduce friendly popular support. For example,
introducing an urban terrorist threat to US civilians or soldiers not directly
engaged in operations changes the nature of the conflict. This type of threat
may not have been an initial consideration, and this change may reverse pub-
lic support for the operation. Another example, growing US coalition combat
power may cause the threat to switch from open maneuver warfare to UO to
avoid decisive combat with superior forces and achieve a stalemate. Origi-
nally expecting a quick solution or victory, the political leadership may now
envision a longer deployment with less chance of lasting success.
CAUSE POLITICALLY UNACCEPTABLE CASUALTIES
3-13. Threat forces may gain an advantage against superior friendly forces
by capitalizing on a perceived weakness of many Western nations: the
inability to endure continuous losses or casualties for other than vital
national interests or losses for which they are psychologically unprepared. A
secondary US interest may equate to national survival on the part of a
threat. Therefore, the threat (particularly with fanatical leadership) may
willingly sacrifice excessive amounts of money, equipment, and people
(soldiers and civilians) to achieve victory. Threats may attempt to weaken US
resolve and national will to sustain the deployment or conflict by inflicting
highly visible, embarrassing, and if possible, large losses on Army forces,
even at the cost of similar losses to themselves. Many threat forces will use
UO to inflict mass casualties and destroy premier Army weapon and
information systems. The physical characteristics of the urban environment
support these ambush techniques. Light infantry or insurgents with readily
obtainable, hand-held antiarmor weapons can effectively attack armored
vehicles and helicopters, no matter how sophisticated, in an urban area.
ALLOW NO SANCTUARY
3-14. Threats will attempt to deny Army forces safe haven anytime and any-
where. Terrorism may be one of the tactics used to deny sanctuary to Army
forces. They will attack Army forces anywhere, particularly while operating
in urban areas where the fear from being attacked from any quarter is often
greater. Threats may be or employ state-sponsored or independent terrorists,
well equipped and motivated to accomplish their assigned missions.
3-15. Military buildings, facilities, and installations in urban areas are par-
ticularly vulnerable to high-yield explosive munitions as well as other clever
means to create large explosions. The close-in nature of urban areas, large
populations, and high volume of vehicle traffic provide a good environment
for target reconnaissance, explosives positioning (conventional or high-yield),
and cover for an attack. These attacks will likely be preceded by extensive,
careful reconnaissance, necessitating a solid friendly counterterrorism and
counterintelligence effort.
3-5
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
CONDUCT DISPERSED AND DECENTRALIZED OPERATIONS
3-16. To a certain extent, dispersed and decentralized operations are an
integral part of all threat principles. However, this concept warrants separate
emphasis as a principle since threat forces will likely place great significance
on it on future urban battlefields. Both dispersed and decentralized
approaches seek to reduce threat vulnerabilities to air power and precision-
guided munitions (PGM) while increasing their agility, flexibility, and overall
maneuverability in an urban environment.
3-17. Urban terrain tends to fragment and separate forces that operate in it.
Threat forces recognize this characteristic, accept it, and make it work to
their advantage. They conduct operations from dispersed urban locations to
reduce their vulnerability to friendly decisive operations and massed fire-
power. Although separated, threat forces will attempt to retain the ability to
assemble and mass quickly so to strike as opportunities present themselves.
Once threat forces complete the operation, they will return to separate loca-
tions to avoid potential counterattack. The fluidity and seemingly disjointed
appearance of these threat UO will challenge friendly efforts to conduct
templating and pattern analysis. Ambushes (air and ground) will be used to
deny friendly ground and air reconnaissance of their dispersed locations.
3-18. Dispersed operations normally depend on good command and control to
achieve synchronization and massed effects. Threat forces also understand
the debilitating effects of the urban terrain on communications and the exe-
cution of operations. When they cannot mass their forces or effects, they will
depend on decentralized operations to achieve their objectives. They will op-
erate autonomously, guided only by a higher authority’s purpose and intent.
These operations make them even less vulnerable to massed attacks and
PGM as smaller threat forces do not present an objective or target that will
allow friendly decisive operations. Again, pattern analysis and templating
will be extremely difficult. Using this principle often prolongs the conflict but
is central to implementing the other threat principles.
URBAN THREAT TACTICS
3-19. Urban areas provide a casualty-producing and stress-inducing environ-
ment ideally suited for using specific urban threat tactics. Moreover, urban
areas provide threats with an unmatched degree of cover and concealment
from friendly information and firepower systems. While active urban threats
may vary widely, many techniques will be common to all. Figure 3-2 outlines
a set of threat tactics available to potential threats opposing mission accom-
plishment in urban areas. Army forces may use many of the threat tactics,
except those that violate the law, ethics, and morals, to defeat urban threats.
Moreover, using asymmetric means is not the sole domain of the threat.
Army commanders can also leverage capabilities, create conditions, and plan
operations to develop asymmetric advantages to accomplish the mission.
USE THE POPULATION TO ADVANTAGE
3-20. Many urban areas may be too large to evacuate completely (if at all).
Even if desirable, a military force may have no place to safeguard and secure
the inhabitants. Therefore, future UO may see large segment of the populace
3-6
Urban Threat
3-7
remain. Offensive and defensive operations may be constrained not only by
the terrain and by the presence of many civilians. Army forces involved in
urban stability operations and support operations will certainly conduct
missions in and amongst the residents. These residents may restrict
operations and, when gathered in large numbers, may (even without initial
hostile intent) present a critical force protection issue for the commander.
Figure 3-2. Urban Threat Tactics
Use the Population to
Advantage
Win the Information War
Manipulate Key Facilities
Use All Dimensions
Employ Urban-Oriented
Weapons
Engage Entire Enemy Force
Focus Attacks on Support
Areas, Isolated Groups, and
Individuals
ENEMY
ENEMY
Use as Key Terrain and Concealment
Chechen fighters sometimes disguised
themselves as Red Cross workers,
donning the identifying armbands.
They also passed themselves off as
civilians and offered to guide Russian
forces through the city, instead
leading them into ambushes.
Olga Oliker
Russia’s Chechen Wars 1994
-
2000
3-21. From the threat stand-
point, the populace is similar to
key terrain: the side that man-
ages it best has an advantage.
Threat forces may gain this ad-
vantage by using civilians as
camouflage, concealment, and
a means of deception. Guerrilla
and terrorist elements may
look no different from any
other member of the commu-
nity. Many foreign conventional and paramilitary troops often have a
“civilian” look. Western military forces originally adopted the clean-shaven
and close-cut hair standards to combat disease and infection, but future oppo-
nents may not adhere to those standards. They may adopt grooming
standards, civilian-looking clothing, and other “nonmilitary” characteristics
to make themselves indistinguishable from the civilians.
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
Identifying Soldiers from Civilians
During Russia’s 1994-95 conflict with Chechnya, Russian forces had difficulty
identifying Chechen guerrilla forces from Grozny’s noncombatant population.
Because their appearance was identical to that of the urban populace, Chechen
soldiers could freely walk around the city, suddenly disappear, and then abruptly
reappear firing their weapons from basements, windows, or dark alleyways. To
distinguish fighters from peaceful city dwellers, Russian forces began looking at
men’s shoulders to see if they were bruised (from firing weapons) and their
forearms to see if there was burned hair or flesh (from the extraction of
cartridges). They closely examined their clothing and smelled for gunpowder
residue. To identify a Chechen artilleryman, Russian soldiers checked for glossy
spots left by artillery and mortar rounds on the bends and cuffs of sleeves. They
also turned pockets inside out to check for a shiny, silvery-leaden hue indicating
the former presence of small arms ammunition. Russian forces also recognized a
grenade launcher operator or mortar man from fibers and crumpled pieces of gun
cotton on their clothing. US Army commanders may need to develop similar,
imaginative means to identify the threat.
Gain Cover, Protection, and Increased Mobility
3-22. Threat forces may attempt to gain cover by using the urban inhabitants
as human shields. With this increase in protection, they simultaneously
increase their mobility. They recognize the Army’s focus on developing and
applying rules of engagement (ROE). They will take advantage of the
restraining effects of international law and the Army ethical values to
enhance their mobility in proximity to friendly positions. Knowing the
Army’s reluctance to cause noncombatant casualties and collateral damage,
threats may operate in areas containing civilians and essential facilities to
restrict the Army’s use of massed or nonprecision firepower. They may also
employ “rent-a-crowds”—civilians paid to demonstrate against military
forces—armed only with sticks, stones, and Molotov cocktails (a potential
asymmetric challenge).
Make Moral Responsibilities a Weakness
3-23. Depending on their successes, threats may use these tactics and skillful
information operations that attack national will and coalition sensitivities in
an attempt to force the Army to establish more restrictive ROE. Threat forces
may also take advantage of the Army’s moral responsibilities. By herding
refugees into friendly controlled areas, threat forces try to make the civilians
a burden on the Army’s logistic and security resources. Threat forces, on the
other hand, may not abide by international agreements, such as the Geneva
conventions. They may not take prisoners unless they can be ransomed or
made part of a local prisoner exchange. They may even execute friendly
prisoners in front of the media to show their “strength” and, more impor-
tantly, to cause friendly forces to overreact and lose their legitimacy. Threat
forces can then use such an overreaction to unite others with their cause.
Acquire Intelligence and Logistic Support
3-24. Indigenous threat forces can normally use the local population for intel-
ligence and logistic support far more effectively than can an alien army.
3-8
Urban Threat
Threat forces may manipulate local hires serving among US soldiers, such as
those contracted by the Army for base operation purposes or translator
duties. In addition, refugees moving through friendly controlled sectors may
provide the threat with information on friendly dispositions, readiness, and
intent. Even friendly residents may become unwitting or unwilling inform-
ants, providing an enemy or a hostile with vital information on friendly
activities, dispositions, and capabilities. However, a threat employing
particularly cruel, abusive, or repressive measures may easily turn certain
groups in the urban area against them, even when they share a common
history, culture, and ethnicity with the civilians. This is more likely in those
areas with high population densities.
3-25. Threat forces may also seek to use some nongovernmental organiza-
tions (NGOs). They may try to obtain relief supplies either through the
organizations’ legitimate relief operations or as a target for theft. Some
organizations may even be fronts for weapons, food, ammunition, money, and
fighters. For example, during Russia’s second conflict in Chechnya (1999-
2000), documents purportedly found in Grozny by the Russians listed nations
such as Sudan, Nigeria, Niger, and Ivory Coast as sending fighters to
Chechnya under the guise of the International Islamic Relief Organization.
(Chechen fighters also disguised themselves as Red Cross workers.) This
deception increases the need for strict security and force protection
measures, close coordination with NGOs operating in urban areas, and closer
monitoring of suspect organizations’ activities by civil affairs personnel.
WIN THE INFORMATION WAR
3-26. Threat forces will try to win the information war as much as they will
directly oppose Army UO. Threat urban campaigns need not be tactical mili-
tary successes. They need only to weaken legitimacy and make the opposi-
tion’s campaign appear unpalatable to domestic and world support. As a
critical part of their overall information operations, threats will use the ever-
present media to tell their story. Portable video cameras, commercial radios,
and cellular telephones, available and easily concealed, will be as important
to many threat actors as weapons and ammunition. Internet access, already
firmly established in many urban areas, provides the means to easily
disseminate threat propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation through
web sites and electronic mail. Hackers, covered and concealed in the interior
spaces of the urban area, may gain access to US sites to manipulate infor-
mation to the threat’s advantage.
Information and the Media
The media coverage of the urban battle for Hue, South Vietnam, although only
one of hundreds of different attacks of the Tet Offensive, affected the will of both
the American people and their political leadership. On January 31, 1968, two
North Vietnamese Army (NVA)/Vietcong (VC) regiments and two sapper
battalions, moving rapidly and with the element of surprise, attacked and seized
part of the walled city (Citadel) of Hue. It was the third largest city in South
Vietnam, the former capital of a united Vietnam, the capital of Thua Thien
province, and a spiritual and cultural center. Initially intending to hold the city for
3-9
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
seven days, the NVA/VC retained portions of the city for approximately three
weeks against determined US and South Vietnamese attempts to retake it.
Hue marked a revolution in the coverage of war by modern media. It was the first
time Americans could sit at home and watch an ongoing battle on the evening
news. One of the most intense and savage battles of the Vietnam conflict, it was
televised every evening for almost a month. Although the battle for Hue was a
tactical victory for the US, the North Vietnamese clearly achieved strategic
success by searing the American consciousness with the high costs of urban
warfare. Had US leaders made winning the information war a central part of the
overall campaign plan—for example, exposing the American people to the NVA’s
brutality by publicizing the civilian executions in Hue—civilian support for the war
may have been bolstered and a different outcome achieved. See Chapter 6 for a
more detailed account of the battle for Hue.
MANIPULATE KEY FACILITIES
3-27. Threat forces will attempt to identify and quickly seize control of criti-
cal components of the urban area to help shape the battlespace. Urban tele-
phone exchanges, for example, provide simple and reliable communications
that can be easily secured with off-the-shelf technologies. Sewage treatment
plants and flood control machinery can be used to implement WMD
strategies or to make sections of the urban area uninhabitable. Media
stations significantly improve the information operations abilities of the
controlling force. Power generation and transmission sites provide means to
control significant aspects of civilian society over a large area.
USE ALL DIMENSIONS
3-28. Threats will think and operate throughout the depth, breadth, and
height (including supersurface and subsurface areas) of the urban environ-
ment. Conventional lateral boundaries will often not apply as threat forces
control some stories of the same building while friendly forces control others.
3-29. Intrasurface areas and roofs provide urban threats with excellent
observation points and battle positions above the maximum elevation of
many weapons. Shots from upper floors strike armored vehicles in vulnerable
points. Basements and other subsurface areas also provide firing points
below many weapons’ minimum depressions and strike at another weakness
in most armor. Sewers and subways may provide covered and concealed
access throughout the area of operations.
EMPLOY URBAN-ORIENTED WEAPONS
3-30. Whether purpose-built or adapted, many weapons are more useful in
an urban environment while others may have significant disadvantages.
Urban threat weapons are much like the nature of urbanization and the ur-
ban environment: inventive and varied. Many threats will integrate widely
available off-the-shelf technologies into their weapon systems and armed
forces. However, sniper rifles and small, man-portable, fire-and-forget
weapons and demolitions and other improvised explosive devices will likely
dominate the urban environment. Figure 3-3 lists examples of threat
weapons favored in UO.
3-10
Urban Threat
ENGAGE ENTIRE ENEMY FORCE
Weapons With No Minimum
Depression or Maximum
Elevation
Mortars
Grenade Launchers
(Automatic and Rifle-
Mounted)
RPGs and Other Shoulder-Fired
Antiarmor Weapons
Weapons With Little or No Backblast
(Gas-Metered, Soft Launch, or
Recoilless)
Sniper Rifles
Machine
Guns
Grenades
Mines, Booby Traps,
and Other
Improvised
Explosive Devices
Flame, Incendiary, and Blast
Weapons (Thermobaric and Fuel-
Air Explosives)
Riot Control and
Tranquilizer Gases
Figure 3-3. Favored Threat Weapons
3-31. Threats may
attempt to keep all or
significant portions of
Army forces engaged in
continuous operations to
increase their suscepti-
bility to stress-induced
illnesses. UO, by their
nature, produce an
inordinate number of
combat-stress casual-
ties. Continuous opera-
tions exacerbate this
problem. Threat forces
that employ this tactic
will often maintain a large reserve to minimize the psychological impacts on
their own forces.
3-32. To accomplish this, threat UO will likely involve decentralized maneu-
ver, precision fires, and simultaneous operations involving unconventional
and special purpose forces. Threat forces will take advantage of any exposed
weakness and engage in battles as opportunities present themselves.
FOCUS ATTACKS ON SUPPORT AREAS, ISOLATED GROUPS, AND INDIVIDUALS
3-33. To supplement the previous tactic, threat forces will seek to target sup-
port areas, small groups, leaders and their headquarters, and individual
soldiers. Their focus on resupply, casualty evacuation, and other sustainment
activities, coupled with the compartmented terrain, navigational challenges,
and multiple three-dimensional avenues of approach often makes these
locations and soldiers more susceptible to surprise raids and ambushes.
Attacks on these areas and groups are conducted to erode the Army’s ability
to sustain UO, to inflict maximum casualties, and to induce psychological
stress. These attacks can be mitigated by careful, regular evaluation of choke
points and other restrictive terrain, regular awareness training for units and
individuals operating in or transiting through potential incident-prone areas,
and thorough after-action analysis of incidents.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF URBANIZATION
3-34. Many urban areas are the engines for increased industrialism and eco-
nomic growth as an expanding population provides the labor for manufac-
turing and service needs. However, rapid and inadequately planned growth
can result in undesirable consequences. Uncontrolled urbanization may
result in an infrastructure and economic base unable to support the growing
population. A large transient, ill-housed, and idle population in a close geo-
graphic space may produce strife. Classes, cultures, ethnic groups, and races
that might otherwise peacefully coexist can clash under the stress of sur-
vival. Uncontrolled urban growth has resulted in the negative effects listed in
Figure 3-4 on page 3-12. In many urban stability operations and support
operations, these may be the primary “threats” to mission accomplishment.
3-11
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
3-35. Not all urban
areas prevail as inher-
ently unstable or hot-
beds for unrest. Urban
growth due to migration
may remove sources of
conflict, or it may
provide the catalyst for
violence. Commanders
recognize the possible
effects of uncontrolled
urbanization. During
their intelligence prepa-
ration of the battlefield
(IPB), they determine if
these conditions exist. Throughout mission analysis and the development of
courses of action, commanders consider the impact (if any) on their opera-
tions. At the same time, they recognize that UO may create similar problems
that may affect the current operation as well as the overall campaign.
Negative
Negative
Effects of
Effects of
Urbanization
Urbanization
Competing
Power
Structures
Disease &
Pollution
Food & Water
Shortages
General
Instability
Figure 3-4. Negative Effects of Urbanization
GENERAL INSTABILITY
3-36. Urbanization can enhance stability by generating industrialization and
economic growth resulting in more jobs, a higher overall standard of living,
and an educated, relatively satisfied populace. However, the population dy-
namics associated with urbanization can also have an opposite, destabilizing
effect. Radical population growth may create overcrowding and generate or
aggravate resource and quality of life issues. Intense and destructive compe-
tition for employment, housing, and social status may develop in this climate
of economic deprivation. The inability of some governments to handle these
problems—
Makes their urban areas potential sources of unrest.
Increases the likelihood of the Army’s involvement in stability
operations and support operations.
Complicates operations conducted in such an urban environment.
Weak civil administrations have difficulty controlling their society, safe-
guarding their military armaments, and preventing their urban areas from
serving as sanctuaries to terrorists and criminal organizations.
3-37. Urbanization in developing countries warrants more concern. Their re-
sources necessary for urban growth are scarce and the rate of urbanization
disproportionately large. Between 1970 and 1993, the urban population of
developed countries grew by 208 million compared to 910 million in the de-
veloping countries of the world. Over the next two decades, developing coun-
tries are projected to gain another 1.6 billion inhabitants, 72 percent more
than in the previous two decades. Figure 3-5 graphically portrays the
widening demographic differences between the developed and developing
regions. Each day, over 160,000 people in these developing nations migrate to
urban areas. By 2015, 24 of the 30 largest urban areas may exist in the
developing world. Intense migration and growth, coupled with the forced
closeness of people once separated by the rural countryside, may stress
3-12
Urban Threat
already struggling
institutions, hasten
conflict, and lead to
overall instability.
Commanders under-
stand that UO,
depending on the op-
eration, may either
cause massive popu-
lation movement out
of or into urban
areas.
n il
3-38. Urban areas
with a large youth
population may also help to generate conditions for instability. Rural-to-
urban migrants tend to be relatively young. In 1999, Cairo, for example, had
more than 40 percent of its population younger than 15 years. Young urban
populations generate enormous demands for social resources, primarily
education and jobs. Even a strong urban economy may fold under the
economic expectations of a tremendous influx of young migrants. Disorder
and violence may result as hostiles (many nonstate actors) easily mobilize
and manipulate the idle young to act politically and criminally. Urbanization
and population growth are more dangerous when they combine to produce a
cohort of young urban dwellers separated from traditional social controls,
such as village elders and clan leaders.
0
2
4
6
8
10
1996 2010 2030 2050
Populatio (b lions)
Developed
Regions
Developing
Regions
Source: UN Department for Economic and
Social Information and Policy Analysis
Figure 3-5. Worldwide Population Projections
3-39. Ethnic, religious, and other social issues may become the vents for
anger and frustration produced by the high tension of urban life. Major acts
of violence and destruction, such as occurred in 1992 in India, can directly
threaten a nation’s security. Army forces may have to conduct large-scale,
stability operations and support operations to promote peace and protect
national interests. In these cases, all levels of command will be particularly
concerned with maintaining impartiality and perceived legitimacy.
Cultural and Religious Instability
The 1992 bombing of the Babri Masid Mosque in Ayodya, India, enflamed an
already intense cultural and religious rivalry between Hindus and Muslims and
led to rioting throughout many Indian urban areas. Of the 1,500 who died in
conflicts and riots, almost 95 percent died in urban areas. The violence struck
Ahmedabab and Bombay most seriously, with acts of murder, gang rapes, and
arson occurring months after the destruction of the mosque.
FOOD AND WATER SHORTAGES
3-40. Rapid urbanization, primarily in developing nations, may lead to
severe food shortages that could influence Army forces (or lead to their use).
Such shortages may cause instability, massive migration, revolts, or
increased support of armed opposition groups. Armed factions may target
NGOs that supply aid as a means of furthering dissatisfaction among the
populace. In effect, food may become a weapon. Deployed troops may need to
3-13
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
provide or support humanitarian food aid networks to keep the humanitarian
situation from escalating.
3-41. Normally, commanders should use centralized feeding centers as a last
resort. Instead, Army forces should bring the food closest to the population to
encourage civilians to stay in their homes. If safe areas or camps are created,
they should be designed for use over as short a time as is feasible. The
general rule should be to return the urban population to their homes as soon
as possible. Army forces conducting domestic support or foreign humani-
tarian assistance operations that cannot maintain the safe food supplies may
find the frustrations and hostility of the local population focused on them.
3-42. Water shortages (and quality) are becoming a serious problem in many
regions. Commanders operating in an urban environment need to know the
water supply origins and its treatment, purification, distribution, and vul-
nerabilities. Before beginning operations, commanders must know if they are
providing water for the noncombatants as well as their own forces. Across the
range of operations, controlling and protecting a limited water supply is, or
may become, an essential operational consideration during UO.
Food and Water Shortages
Countries as varied as Indonesia and Algeria exported their food surpluses only
two generations ago but now import up to two-thirds of their basic staples. This
cycle has resulted in many countries, which once exported agricultural products,
facing the growing cost of imports to feed their urban populations. Estimates
predict that by the 2010, at least 65 countries (including 30 of Africa’s 51 coun-
tries) may depend completely on food imports. For some countries, it is even
worse. Congo (Zaire), once a net food exporter, now faces mass starvation.
Over the last four decades in China, irrigated farmland has tripled and urban
populations have quintupled. In Indonesia, urban areas such as Jakarta may use
six times more water in 2005 as it did in 1990, and Indonesia currently has
limited capability to meet this increased demand.
DISEASE AND POLLUTION
3-43. Urban areas frequently spawn epidemics; therefore, widespread
disease may pose a significant threat to Army forces that operate there. In
many developing nations, rapid urbanization has occurred without a
corresponding upgrade, expansion, or even development of adequate sewage
and water systems. Some urban areas have only one toilet for every 750
people or more. In these areas, hundreds of thousands live much as they
would in poor villages, yet so confined as to ensure high transmission rates
for airborne, waterborne, sexually transmitted, and contact-transmitted
microbes.
3-44. In urban areas lacking adequate trash and waste management infra-
structure, insect-spread diseases proliferate. Mosquitoes that breed in pol-
luted water, open water tanks, and irrigated urban gardens carry malaria
and dengue fever—the leading causes of sickness and death from infectious
disease in Latin America and Africa. The problem compounds with growing
numbers of bacteria resistant to various antibiotics, a shortage of trained
3-14
Urban Threat
medical personnel, inadequate or insufficient medical facilities and supplies,
and unclean agricultural and food-processing practices.
3-45. Pollution also creates critical health problems in developing areas and
a potential health risk for intervening Army forces. Urban areas in China
have recorded five to ten times the levels of sulfur dioxide found in the air of
urban areas in the developed world. In parts of Poland, toxic waste has so
polluted the land and water that ten percent of the babies have birth defects.
Pollution may cause immediate health problems but more often, the insidious
effects appear months or years after exposure. As discussed earlier, UO may
contribute, either intentionally or unintentionally, to an increase in
pollution. Destruction of industrial complexes that use, produce, and store
hazardous material may produce toxic gas and smoke pollutants that
contributed to significant health concerns to exposed soldiers.
3-46. Commanders initiate combat health support (CHS) planning early, in-
cluding analysis of the medical threat and other critical medical information
requirements during the IPB process. A medical surveillance system monitors
the daily status of Army personnel throughout the operation. In preparation,
all personnel receive a predeployment medical examination. This exam estab-
lishes an accurate baseline health status of the force and ensures that Army
forces do not introduce new diseases to an urban area, possibly exacerbating
the situation. Conversely, soldiers not immune to native viruses or
possessing a weakened immune system due to continuous operations and the
stress associated with UO may put Army forces at a significant disadvantage.
An outbreak of plague during an operation would have an effect similar to a
chemical or biological attack. The closer that Army forces operate to civilians
(the humanitarian assistance operations conducted in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
and Mogadishu, Somalia, for example), the more probable that these
situations may occur. See Chapter 9 for further CHS considerations.
COMPETING POWER STRUCTURES
3-47. Many groups can exist that become strong enough to rival the power of
the governing officials and eventually turn the urban area into a system of
divergent and competing power structures. These groups can consist of insur-
gent forces, a merchant class or an economic elite, criminal organizations, or
some other significant source of power such as religious organizations, clans,
or tribes. In the absence of a legitimate authority, armed factions headed by
“warlords” may vie to fill the power void. Sometimes these groups or organi-
zations, normally at odds with each other, may form alliances to achieve spe-
cific goals. Commanders recognize, identify, and understand these alternate
urban power bases and, if necessary, develop engagement strategies to
neutralize or harness them to accomplish the Army mission.
Urban Insurgencies
3-48. As urban migration increases in the developing world, rural guerrillas
appear to follow. This transition of insurgencies from rural to urban areas oc-
curs because urban areas offer a rich field of targets for insurgent attacks.
People immediately notice any disruption of urban infrastructure, thus
having great propaganda value. A concentrated urban population is often
more susceptible to propaganda and political organization. Insurgents can
3-15
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
easily arrange mass demonstrations using available communications facili-
ties, both overt and covert. Travel is effortless and large urban populations
provide cover and concealment. On the whole, urban areas may provide a
fertile environment for guerrillas to apply their rural insurgent strategies.
However, even with a rural-based insurgency, operations in urban areas offer
distinct opportunities to disrupt, discredit, and demoralize the government
(see FM 3-05.20 and FM 3-07).
Urban Insurgencies
In Africa, a strategy of capturing urban areas, while trapping government forces
within others, has become a common tactic of insurgent forces. Similarly, insur-
gents in Liberia concentrated their efforts in the capital city of Monrovia while
guerrillas in Sierra Leone have battled the government repeatedly for the urban
diamond mining hubs. Even Shiite rebels in Afghanistan took their conflict with
the government into the heart of Kabul, the capital.
Merchant Class
3-49. Urban areas normally possess a merchant class or an economic elite as
part of their social structure. In some urban areas, they may carry more
power than the local or central state government. They may isolate them-
selves physically and socially from the sprawling poor yet wield enormous
power over the country’s political and economic activities. The degree of eco-
nomic separation between the merchant class and the poor may be small but
still socially or politically significant.
3-50. In a vastly impoverished area where the economy of the urban area is
severely disrupted, the merchant class will often continue to operate and
function and, as a result, achieve a measure of influence. To continue to
operate under acute economic turmoil, they may form alliances in criminal
organizations and secure loyalties within the government. Outside resources
introduced into a crisis area (such as food, water, fuel, and pharmaceuticals)
take on increased value, may replace currency as the medium for exchange,
and often become the means to amass and hold wealth. One of the primary
ways to obtain wealth may be to steal it.
3-51. In some turbulent situations that lead to the need for stability opera-
tions or support operations, commanders may harness the power of the
merchant class as a force for peace and stability instead of one that uses
crime to achieve economic goals. For example, in a relief situation, instead of
competing with the merchant class by distributing food directly to the needy
and possibly creating an environment of looting and black marketeering, it
may be possible to monetize food. Food assistance from donor governments
could be sold to merchants at an attractive price so they have a reliable
source of supply. This could, in turn, create a healthy economic system and
separate merchants from criminals and gangs.
Criminal Organizations
3-52. Organized criminal groups have grown common in urban areas; have
also become an important part of the urban social structure (gangs for ex-
ample); and can exert considerable influence on governments, people, and
3-16
Urban Threat
military forces conducting UO. Some large criminal organizations relying on
international connections often have better resources and equipment than
their insurgent counterparts. Their large financial resources, long-reaching
connections, and ruthlessness provide them the means to corrupt or intimi-
date local officials and government institutions. In any operation, but
especially support operations, they may violently confront and oppose Army
forces during mission execution.
3-53. The tactics of urban criminal groups parallel those of insurgents. They
have developed an intuitive cultural understanding of slum neighborhoods
and the ability to lure civilians into criminal activities. They have also
mastered the management of mobs. They recruit teenagers and young adults
in their efforts against rivals and authorities, just as insurgents muster
armies from the youth of rural villages. In many developing nations, there
exists an alliance between insurgents and organized criminal groups. In
these alliances, the insurgents defend the criminals and the criminals fund
the insurgents. During many UO, particularly during or following combat,
civil disturbances, or large natural disasters, looting (organized or
unorganized) may become of critical concern. Therefore, UO may often
require a combined law enforcement and military response.
Crime and Criminal Organizations
Crime and poverty plague urban areas such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second
largest urban area and would affect military operations conducted in their limits.
Rio has some of the nation’s highest negative urban indicators: the largest num-
ber of slum dwellers (1 million), the highest murder rate (1 of 700 residents per
year), and the highest kidnapping rate (4 per week). In 1989, the homicide rate of
the urban area was three times higher than New York City’s and the rate of
urban violence continues to rise. Therefore, law enforcement management may
be a critical issue for Army forces operating in urban environments similar to that
of Rio de Janeiro.
However, criminal elements or organizations may not always work against Army
commanders. They can be co-opted or influenced to serve friendly objectives.
For example, during World War II the US Navy worked covertly with the Mafia in
New York City to secure the New York harbor from German U-boats believed to
be torpedoing ships there. The Mafia controlled most dock activities New York
harbor and was perfectly positioned to monitor other subversive waterfront
activity. This capability provided needed information to the Navy for its
counterintelligence and security tasks. New York civil authorities therefore
agreed to permit a Navy-Mafia alliance to operate at the port for the greater good
of the country. Although the Mafia was not the preferred ally of the Navy, it had
the capability to protect US ships and the interest (patriotism) to help in the war
effort. In those circumstances, the temporary alliance worked (see also the
civilian threat discussion in Appendix B).
Warlords
3-54. A characteristic of many recent stability operations and support opera-
tions has been the deterioration or complete collapse of political authority in
the country or urban area in crisis. In some cases, warlords have attempted
3-17
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
to fill the power vacuum (see Appendix C for an example). These individuals
often have no particular claim to legitimacy. Their power issues from their
weapons, not necessarily from their political skills, human services provided,
or popular consent (although they have some popular support to remain in
their relative position of authority). In dealing with these urban warlords
during support operations or stability operations, it may appear that there
are two options: either ignore them completely or work with them visibly or
regularly. Commanders may reduce some of the greater risks involved in
these extremes by adopting a middle-ground approach. Nevertheless, the
technique chosen must clearly support political and military objectives.
3-55. Refusal to acknowledge warlords may increase the threat to Army
forces and NGOs. Their militias may attack Army forces to achieve recogni-
tion or simply due to misunderstanding or inherent friction between armed
forces. On the other hand, dealing with them may provide legitimacy to the
exclusion of other elements of the urban population such as professional
groups (for example, doctors or teachers), religious groups, and traditional
clan or tribal chiefs—which may have a greater claim to legitimacy and
better form the foundation for a reconstituted urban society.
3-56. A compromise between these two extremes may offer the best chance
for success. Commanders generally recognize these warlords or they risk
incidents; however, this recognition can be kept at staff levels to avoid be-
stowing any legitimacy on them. Instead, commanders themselves visibly
meet the other elements of society that have a more legitimate claim to politi-
cal, social, or economic leadership. Inevitably, commanders may need to meet
with warlords. In those circumstances, clan or tribal elders, and others who
represent traditional authority should attend and commanders should ask
for, and give deliberate consideration to, their opinions.
3-18
Chapter 4
Contemplating Urban Operations
We based all our further calculations on the most unfavorable
assumptions: the inevitability of heavy and prolonged fighting in the
streets of Berlin, the possibility of German counter-attacks from
outside the ring of encirclement from the west and south-west,
restoration of the enemy’s defence to the west of Berlin and the
consequent need to continue the offensive.
General of the Army, S. M. Shtemenko
describing the operational level planning for taking Berlin
The Soviet General Staff at War
In any potential situation and in
any area, Army commanders will
likely need to assess the rele-
vance and impact of one or more
urban areas on their operations.
They will also need to determine
whether full spectrum urban
operations (UO) will be essential
to mission accomplishment. UO
may be the commander’s sole
focus or only one of several tasks nested in an even larger operation.
Although UO potentially can be conducted as a single battle, engagement,
or strike, they will more often be conducted as a major operation
requiring joint resources. Such actions result from the increasing sizes of
urban areas. Army commanders of a major urban operation then ensure
that UO clearly support the operational objectives of the joint force
A
major operation
is a series of
tactical actions (battles, en-
gagements, strikes) conducted
by various combat forces of a
single or several services, co-
ordinated in time and place, to
accomplish operational, and
sometimes strategic objectives
in an operational area.
CONTENTS
Necessity of Urban Operations ................... 4-2
Force Strength .......................................... 4-2
Type of Forces .......................................... 4-2
Casualities................................................. 4-3
Munitions and Equipment........................ 4-4
Collateral Damage .................................... 4-4
Time and Momentum................................ 4-4
Vulnerabilities ........................................... 4-5
Escalation.................................................. 4-5
Consider Alternatives and Risk
Reduction Measures................................ 4-6
Characteristics of Major Urban
Operations................................................ 4-7
Joint............................................................4-7
Full Spectrum Operations........................ 4-7
Integration into Land Operations..............4-10
Concept of the Operation...................... 4- 10
Rules of Engagement .............................4-10
Resource Allocation ...............................4-12
Urban ISR.................................................4-13
Information Operations ..........................4-18
Integration of Conventional and
Special Operations Forces ...................4-24
Coordination with Other Agencies ....... 4-25
4-1
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
commander (JFC), requesting and appropriately integrating critical joint
resources. Whether the urban operation is the major operation itself or
one of many tasks in a larger operation, Army commanders assess and
thoroughly shape the conditions so subordinate tactical commanders can
dominate in the complex urban environment.
NECESSITY OF URBAN OPERATIONS
4-1. Early in plan-
ning, commanders of
a major operation
address the necessity
of conducting opera-
tions in urban areas
located throughout
their areas of opera-
tions (AOs). Chap-
ter 1 discussed stra-
tegic and operational
considerations that
compel forces to
operate in urban
areas. These reasons
include the location of
the threat force; cri-
tical infrastructure or
capabilities that are operationally or strategically valuable; the geographic
location of an urban area; and the area’s political, economic, or cultural signi-
ficance. Several considerations exist, that may make UO unnecessary, unwar-
ranted, or inefficient. When determining whether to operate in an urban
environment, commanders consider the operational (and accidental) risks and
balance them with mission benefits. The factors shown in Figure 4-1 high-
light some measures to evaluate the risks associated with UO.
FORCE STRENGTH
4-2. When facing prospective UO, commanders consider if they have troops
available to conduct the operation properly and with acceptable risk. Under
normal circumstances, large urban areas require many forces merely to
establish control. New York City police department has over thirty thousand
officers simply to conduct peacetime law enforcement. Major UO, particularly
those that are opposed, will often require a significant number of forces. If
commanders lack sufficient force to conduct effective operations, they may
postpone or consider not initiating those operations until they have the
necessary strength. Commanders add to their analysis the requirements for
troop strength elsewhere in the AO.
Force
Strength
Force
Strength
Type of
Forces
Type of
Forces
Casualties
Casualties
Munitions
and
Equipment
Munitions
and
Equipment
Collateral
Damage
Collateral
Damage
Time and
Momentum
Time and
Momentum
Escalation
Escalation
ulnerabilities
ulnerabilities
Risk management is the
process of identifying,
assessing, and controlling
risk arising from operational
factors, and making an
informed decision that
balances risk cost with
mission benefits.
Figure 4-1. Risk Management and the Risks
Associated With Urban Operations
V
V
TYPE OF FORCES
4-3. Along with force strength, commanders consider the type of forces
available. This consideration includes an assessment of their level of training
4-2
Contemplating Urban Operations
in urban operations. All UO put a premium on well-trained, dismounted
infantry units. Therefore, Army forces conducting UO should be force tailored
to include a large infantry component. In addition, special operations forces
(SOF) are invaluable in UO. SOF include psychological operations (PSYOP)
and civil affairs (CA) forces. They should always be considered as part of the
task organization.
4-4. UO include combined arms to ensure tactical success in combat.
Although masses of heavy forces are not normally required, successful UO
require all the combined arms capabilities of all Army forces. Even if an
urban operation is unlikely to involve offensive and defensive operations,
field artillery may be essential to force protection. In urban stability opera-
tions and support operations, successful mission accomplishment requires
more robust CA organizations. They are also valuable in urban offensive and
defensive operations. While commanders may have sufficient combat and
combat support forces, they may lack enough combat service support forces to
provide the logistic support to maintain the tempo. Commanders without
balanced types of forces, to include their proficiency in operating in urban
environments, should consider alternatives to UO or delaying UO until
proper force types are trained and available in sufficient numbers.
CASUALTIES
4-5. Casualties in UO are more likely than in operations in other
environments. In urban offense and defense, friendly and threat forces often
engage at close range with little space to maneuver. The urban terrain
provides numerous advantages to the urban defender; higher casualties occur
among troops on the offensive, where frontal assaults may be the only tac-
tical option. Conversely, defenders with limited ability to withdraw can also
suffer high casualties when isolated and attacked. Casualties can be more
difficult to prevent in urban stability operations and support operations
because of the dense complex terrain, the close proximity of the urban popu-
lation, and the possible difficulty in distinguishing friend from foe. The
potential for high casualties and the subsequent need for casualty evacuation
under difficult circumstances make the positioning and availability of
adequate medical resources another important consideration.
4-6. Though casualties occur in all operations, commanders recognize the
likelihood of more casualties during large-scale or high-intensity UO. During
the battle for Hue in 1968, for example, many company-size units suffered
more than 60 percent casualties in only a few days of offensive operations.
Commanders conducting urban stability operations and support operations
know the casualty risk and how it relates to national and strategic objectives.
While a lower risk normally exists in stability operations and support
operations than in offensive and defensive operations, just one casualty may
adversely impact the success of the stability or support mission. A realistic
understanding of the risk and the nature of casualties resulting from UO
critically affect the decisionmaking process. If commanders assess the
casualty risk as high, they ensure that their higher headquarters under-
stands their assessment and that the objectives sought within the urban area
are commensurate with the anticipated risk.
4-3
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
MUNITIONS AND EQUIPMENT
4-7. Offensive and defensive operations in an urban environment put a pre-
mium on certain types of munitions and equipment. Forces may want to use
vast amounts of precision munitions in the urban environment. At the tac-
tical level, they will likely use more munitions than during operations in
other environments. These munitions include—
Grenades (fragmentation, concussion, stun, riot control, and smoke).
Mortar ammunition (due to its rate of fire, responsiveness, and high-
angle fire characteristic).
Explosives.
Small arms.
Soldiers need access to special equipment necessary to execute small-unit
tactics effectively. In urban stability operations and support operations, this
equipment may include antiriot gear, such as batons, protective clothing, and
other nonlethal crowd control devices. In urban offensive and defensive
operations, special equipment can include sniper rifles, scaling ladders, knee
and elbow pads, and door busters. Soldiers can conduct UO with standard
clothing and military equipment. However, failure to equip them with the
right types and quantities of munitions and special equipment will make
mission success more difficult and costly. When commanders consider
whether to conduct UO, they evaluate the ability of combat service support to
provide the resources (see Chapter 9).
COLLATERAL DAMAGE
4-8. UO require an expanded view of risk assessment. When considering risk
to Army, joint, and multinational forces, commanders analyze the risk to the
area’s population and infrastructure. This comprehensive analysis includes
the second- and third-order effects of significant civil casualties and infra-
structure damage. Collateral damage can influence world and domestic
opinion of military operations and thus directly affect ongoing operations. It
also influences the postconflict physical environment and attitudes of the
population. Negative impressions of the civilian population caused by col-
lateral damage can take generations to overcome. Destroying an urban area
to save it is not a viable course of action for Army commanders. 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. Unavoidable collateral damage of suffi-
cient magnitude may justify avoiding UO, which, though it may be tactically
successful, may run counter to national and strategic objectives.
TIME AND MOMENTUM
4-9. Commanders conducting major operations analyze the time required to
conduct UO successfully. UO can be time consuming and can require large
quantities of resources. The density of the environment, the need for addi-
tional time to conduct a thorough reconnaissance, and the additional stress
and physical exertion imposed on Army forces operating in urban areas con-
sume time and slow momentum. Commanders cannot permit UO conducted
as a shaping operation to divert resources from the decisive operation. Nor
can they allow UO to interrupt critical time lines, unnecessarily slow tempo,
4-4
Contemplating Urban Operations
or delay the overall operation. Threat forces may conduct UO with the pri-
mary purpose of causing these effects. Commanders should avoid or minimize
UO that might delay or disrupt a larger operation to an unacceptable degree.
VULNERABILITIES
4-10. Commanders weigh the potential for increased vulnerabilities when
executing UO. The density of the environment makes protection (safety, field
discipline, force protection, and especially fratricide avoidance) much more
difficult. Forces operating in a large urban area increase their risk of
isolation and defeat in detail. Joint capabilities, such as air power, work less
effectively to support a close urban battle than in some other environments.
Thus, responding to unexpected situations or augmenting disadvantageous
force ratios when applying joint capabilities is significantly more difficult.
Although organized, trained, and equipped for success in any environment,
the Army vulnerability to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) increases
when forces concentrate to conduct UO. Commanders may consider not
committing forces or limiting the size of a force committed to an urban area
because of increased vulnerability to (and likelihood of) attack by WMD.
4-11. Fratricide avoidance is a matter of concern for commanders in all
operations. The complex urban terrain and density of participating forces
coupled with typical battlefield effects—smoke, dust, burning fires—and
weather effects—fog, snow, rain, and clouds—immensely increase the poten-
tial for urban fratricide. Therefore, commanders increase emphasis on fratri-
cide prevention measures during UO. Causes can be procedural, technical, or
a combination of the two and include—
Combat identification failures due to poor situational understanding,
lack of communication, and short engagement ranges coupled with the
need for quick reaction.
Location errors involving either the target or enemy forces due to poor
situational understanding.
Inappropriate command and control and fire support coordinating mea-
sures; a failure to receive, understand, or adhere to these measures.
Imprecise weapons and munitions effects such as, an antitank round
that penetrates several walls before exploding near friendly forces.
4-12. The effects of fratricide can be devastating to UO and spread deeply
within the Army force. Critical effects include—
Needless loss of combat power.
Decreased confidence in leadership, weapons, and equipment. These
lead to a loss in initiative and aggressiveness, failure to use supporting
combat systems, and hesitation to conduct limited visibility operations.
Disrupted operations and decreased tempo.
General degradation of cohesion and morale.
ESCALATION
4-13. In the urban environment, Army forces cannot avoid close contact with
enemy forces and civilians that may potentially become hostiles. In urban
stability operations and support operations, commanders consider the chance
of this contact escalating into confrontation and violence, which may become
4-5
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
destabilizing. This consideration may limit or altogether preclude UO using
Army forces.
CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES AND RISK REDUCTION MEASURES
4-14. Since UO are often high risk, commanders should consider courses of
action that provide alternatives. When the objective of an urban operation is
a facility, commanders should consider replicating that facility outside of the
urban area. For example, a critical requirement for an airfield to sustain
operations may lead commanders to consider UO to seize or secure one
located in an urban area. However, if adequate resources exist, Army forces
may build an airfield outside of the urban area and eliminate the need to
conduct the urban operation. Similarly, logistics over-the-shore operations
may be an alternative to seizing a port facility. In some situations, the objec-
tive of UO may be to protect a political organization such as a government.
Relocating the government, its institutions, and its personnel to a safer area
may be possible. Commanders can also design an operation to avoid an urban
area. For example, if an urban area dominates a particular avenue of
approach, use a different avenue of approach. This differs from isolating and
bypassing because the entire operation specifically makes the urban area
irrelevant.
4-15. If commanders execute UO, they assess potential hazards, and then
they develop controls to either eliminate or reduce the risks to Army forces.
The first means to offset risk is always to ensure a thorough understanding
of the urban environment and its effects on operations by all members of the
force. Other measures to bring risk to acceptable levels may include—
Detailed planning to include thorough intelligence preparation of the
battlefield and appropriate branches and sequels.
Integrated, accurate, and timely intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance (ISR).
Clear missions and intent, which includes a well-articulated end state.
Sufficient reserves and rotation of forces.
Vigilant physical security precautions to include increased use of bar-
riers and other defenses, particularly when urban areas are used as
support areas.
Operative communications and other information systems (INFOSYS).
Effective populace and resources control measures.
Comprehensive and flexible rules of engagement (ROE) continuously
reviewed to ensure they remain adequate for the situation.
Sufficient command and control measures and standard marking and
identification techniques. Measures should allow commanders to satis-
factorily control UO and minimize fratricide without unreasonably
restricting subordinate commanders’ ability to accomplish assigned
missions.
Proper targeting procedures (including effective fire support coordina-
ting measures and a streamlined legal review of targets), positive iden-
tification of targets, and controlled clearance of fires. The goal is
achievement of precise (yet rapid) effects with both lethal and
nonlethal means.
4-6
Contemplating Urban Operations
Well-synchronized information operations (IO) that begin before intro-
ducing Army forces into the urban environment and well through tran-
sition. Commanders emphasize vigilant operations security (OPSEC)
particularly when operating closely with nongovernmental organiza-
tions (NGOs) and elements of the civilian population.
Active and effective integrating, synchronizing, and coordinating
among all forces, agencies, and organizations involved in the operation.
Responsive, sustainable, and flexible urban combat service support.
Forces well trained in joint, multinational, and combined arms UO.
Thorough after-action analyses conducted during actual operations as
well as after training exercises. A system exists to allow hard-won,
lessons learned and tactics developed to be immediately passed on to
other units and soldiers—even in the midst of an operation.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MAJOR URBAN OPERATIONS
JOINT
4-16. Major UO are inherently joint. Major United States (US) UO conducted
since World War II have all included multiple services. Often, they may
include a multinational component (see Figure 4-2 on page 4-8). Joint urban
operations (JUOs) in which Army forces are a major component will be land
operations. These operations may take place within the context of a joint
campaign conducted by a joint force land component commander or a joint
task force (JTF) commander. Or they may be an Army operation under an
ARFOR commander who himself operates for a JFC, depending on the
organization of the theater’s joint command structure. In the later case, the
JFC will manage joint issues in the urban area.
4-17. The JFC conducting JUOs will focus on effectively organizing his forces
for UO and tasking them in accordance with their service capabilities. His
guide for the conduct of the JUO will be the joint operational tasks described
in JP 3-0. JP 3-06 will provide the JTF commander specific guidance
regarding the conduct of joint operational tasks in the urban environment.
Army commanders will execute tasks assigned by the JFC and advise him on
using Army forces and capabilities. Army commanders will also ensure that
Army UO are nested within the JFC’s concept of operations. Also, the
ARFOR commander will request support through the JFC from other service
and functional commanders who have urban capabilities critical to the
success of Army UO. See Appendix D for more information on joint
capabilities in an urban environment.
FULL SPECTRUM OPERATIONS
4-18. Army forces will conduct the full range of operations across the spec-
trum of conflict within urban areas. The situation will mandate that one type
of operationoffense, defense, stability, or supportdominates the urban
operation. However, commanders will often find themselves executing all
types of operations—often simultaneously. The mission determines the domi-
nant type of operation, with the other types of Army operations conducted to
shape the AO for mission success.
4-7
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
SEOUL, KOREA 1950
(N A VY )
HUE, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, 1968
Note: Only SHADED
units actually
conducted UO in
and around Hue
OPERATION JUST CAUSE, PANAMA 1989
82
XX (–)
16
X
MP
470
X
MI
525
X(–)
MI 96
I I
CA
1
XX (–)
CO SCO M
1109
X
AIR FOR CES
PANA MA
(J O IN T )(N A VY )(AIR FORCE)(A RM Y)(A RM Y)(A RM Y)
Naval gunfire support
provided by the g uided
missile destroyer USS
Lynde McCormic
ADVISOR
3MACV
HQ
ARVN
HQ
I
XXX
(A RVN)
I
XX
(A RVN)
(+ )
(J O IN T )
(A R M Y )
XX
17TAC
AIR X CORPS
(A RMY) (M ARINE) (M ARINE/NAVY )
17 (R O K )
32 (U S)
I I I
7
5
1
I I I
(M ac A rt h ur)
XXX
10
(A R M Y )
HQ
CINC FE
HQ
USS Sicily
USS Badoeng Strait
X CORPS
TROOPS
XX (–)
AT SEA:
12
ASHORE
33 MAG
I I I I I I
JTF
XXX
SO UT H
TF
X-RAY
XX
1
(–)
I I I
1
I I
25
I I
15
I I
11
35
X(–)
4
I I I (–)
XX
7
(–)
L
NAVAL FORCES
PANAMA
SEMPER FI
I I
(M ARINE)X
ATLANTIC
X
AV IAT IO N
XX
PACIFIC
JSOTF
X
BAYONET
(J O IN T )
HQ
MACV
FWD
HQ
MACV
(J O INT )
(JOINT) (M ARINE) (A RMY)
212 CAV
I I
I I
57 CAV
I I
17 CAV
XX
1
X
1
(–)
LANDING
CRAFT
(M AG ) (M AG )
SEOUL, KOREA 1950
(N A VY )
HUE, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, 1968
Note: Only SHA DED
units actually
conducted UO in
and around Hue
OPERATION JUST CAUSE, PANAMA 1989
82
XX (–)
16
X
MP
470
X
MI
525
X(–)
MI 96
I I
CA
1
XX (–)
CO SCO M
1109
X
AIR FOR CES
PANA MA
(J O IN T )(N A VY )(AIR FORCE)(A RM Y)(A RM Y)(A R M Y)
Naval gunfire support
provided by the g u ided
missile destroyer USS
Lynde McCormic
ADVISOR
3MACV
HQ
ARVN
HQ
I
XXX
(A RVN)
I
XX
(A RVN)
(+ )
(J O IN T )
(A R M Y )
XX
17TAC
AIR X CORPS
(A RMY) (M ARINE) (M ARINE/NAVY )
17 (R O K )
32 (U S)
I I I
7
5
1
I I I
(M ac A rt h ur)
XXX
10
(A R M Y )
HQ
CINC FE
HQ
USS Sicily
USS Badoeng Strait
X CORPS
TROOPS
XX (–)
AT SEA:
12
ASHORE
33 MAG
I I I I I I
JTF
XXX
SO UT H
TF
X-RAY
XX
1
(–)
I I I
1
I I
25
I I
15
I I
11
35
X(–)
4
I I I (–)
XX
7
(–)
L
NAVAL FORCES
PANAMA
SEMPER FI
I I
(M ARINE)X
ATLANTIC
X
AV IAT IO N
XX
PACIFIC
JSOTF
X
BAYONET
(J O IN T )
HQ
MACV
FWD
HQ
MACV
(J O INT )
(JOINT) (M ARINE) (ARM Y)
212 CAV
I I
I I
57 CAV
I I
17 CAV
XX
1
X
1
(–)
LANDING
CRAFT
(M AG ) (M AG )
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
4-8
Figure 4-2. Organization of Historic Joint Urban Operations
4-8
Contemplating Urban Operations
Offense
4-19. Against a large conventional enemy in a major urban area with a large
civil population present, offensive operations require the greatest commit-
ment of Army resources. They also entail the greatest risks to Army forces
and noncombatants. Within defensive or stability operations, forces may
conduct tactical offensive UO, such as counterattacks to maintain the initia-
tive or raids to eliminate elements disrupting the stability operation.
Defense
4-20. Defensive UO are generally conducted as a shaping operation within a
larger major operation. These temporary operations often set conditions for
successful offensive operations, stability operations, or support operations.
Commanders conduct defensive UO within other types of operations to pro-
tect essential facilities in the urban area, protect flanks against counter-
attack, prevent the breakout of isolated enemies, or protect valuable supply
bases or vulnerable convoy routes. Army forces conducting defensive UO use
the environment to enhance their combat power.
Stability
4-21. Stability operations in an urban environment require offensive, defen-
sive, and support operations, combined with other tasks unique to each sta-
bility operation. Army forces conduct urban stability operations for various
reasons, including noncombatant evacuation operations, peace operations, or
support to insurgencies (see Chapter 8). Urban stability operations will re-
quire an offensive capability to destroy any military capability that overtly
threatens its objectives before that military threat can adversely affect the
operation. Army forces employ defensive capabilities to safeguard themselves
as well as secure critical places, populations, or infrastructure in the urban
area. Commanders may also employ defensive capabilities to separate and
protect one faction from another. Various stability tasks require urban sup-
port operations, such as distributing food or aid and protecting or assisting
agencies conducting economic or humanitarian activities.
Support
4-22. Army support operations in an urban environment aid other agencies
either in domestic emergencies or for humanitarian relief. Support
operations require the equipment, personnel, or organizational abilities of
Army forces rather than the Army’s combat capabilities. In a support
mission, these capabilities often involve Army transportation, medical,
quartermaster, or engineer forces. Although urban support operations may
seldom require combat, commanders determine if hostile threats exist that
could hamper Army support operations. Defensive and offensive capabilities
may be required to mitigate threats to support operations. In addition, the
emergency that prompts the need for Army support operations may require
stability, offensive, or defensive operations to shape the situation so units can
execute support tasks.
4-9
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
INTEGRATION INTO LAND OPERATIONS
4-23. The commander of the major operation, after determining that urban
operations are required, then integrates the urban operation into his overall
operation. He does this by articulating his intent and concept for the urban
operation to his subordinates. The commander of the major operation also
sets the conditions for successful tactical urban operations by his subordi-
nates. He defines ROE, focuses ISR efforts, task organizes his capabilities,
ensures information superiority, designs the operational framework, and
coordinates with other agencies (see FM 6-0).
CONCEPT OF THE OPERATION
4-24. The commander’s concept of the operation should address all opera-
tionally important urban areas in his AO. It articulates his vision of the
urban operation through directions to his staff and subordinates.
Subordinate commanders address urban areas that the higher commander
does not specifically address. The commander’s concept discusses each urban
area in terms of task and purpose (see FM 101-5). The commander also
describes his vision of the situation’s end state in terms of—
The threat.
The urban environment (terrain, society, and infrastructure).
Friendly forces.
The conditions necessary to transition control of urban areas within his
AO to another agency or back to legitimate civilian control.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
4-25. National- or joint-level command authorities may develop urban-
specific ROE. If not, Army commanders, as part of their assessment, deter-
mine if urban-specific ROE are required for their situation and provide sup-
plemental ROE. However, commanders forward any conflicts or incongruities
to their higher headquarters for immediate resolution.
4-26. Developing effective ROE relies on thoroughly understanding the
national and strategic environment and objectives. It also relies on under-
standing how to conduct urban operations at the tactical level including
weapons effects. For example, broad ROE may result in significant collateral
damage and civilian casualties. Even in a major theater war (MTW), signifi-
cant collateral damage caused during UO can make postcombat operations
difficult. Such damage may even change national and international public
opinion or threaten the achievement of national and strategic objectives. In
contrast, restrictive ROE can hamper tactical operations causing mission
failure, higher friendly casualties, or both. ROE are often part of essential
elements of friendly information (EEFI), protected to reduce the potential for
threat exploitation. Even in a limited urban operation, ROE will frequently
need to change as circumstances warrant. Therefore, commanders should
plan ROE “branches” for anticipated changes in the operational environment.
4-27. In urban operations, ROE are flexible, detailed, and understandable.
They should preclude the indiscriminate use of deadly force while allowing
soldiers latitude to finish the mission and defend themselves. ROE should
recognize that the urban area is not homogenous and may vary according to
4-10
Contemplating Urban Operations
the key elements of the threat and environment: terrain, society, and
infrastructure. To be effective, ROE are consistent throughout the force (an
increased challenge in multinational urban operations), and soldiers are
thoroughly trained and familiar with them.
Enemy Effects
4-28. The nature of an urban enemy affects ROE as well. Commanders
consider the type of enemy weapon systems, the degree of defensive prepa-
ration, the ability to target enemy vulnerabilities with precision systems, and
the ability to distinguish combatant from noncombatant.
Terrain Effects
4-29. ROE may vary according to the terrain or physical attributes of an
urban area. Physical factors may drive the ROE to preclude certain types of
munitions. For example, if the construction of a portion of the area is sensi-
tive to fire, then ROE may preclude using incendiary munitions in that area.
The ROE may lift this prohibition when units move into areas of mason con-
struction. Toxic industrial chemicals or radiological contaminants in an
industrial area may also affect ROE.
Societal Effects
4-30. The societal or human dimension of the urban environment will often
affect ROE the most. Commanders base the ROE development on a thorough
understanding of the civilian population and threat. They evaluate the
loyalty of the population, its dynamic involvement in activities that affects
the operation, and its size and physical location. A population that is present
and supports Army forces will likely elicit more restrictive ROE than a hostile
population actively supporting forces opposing the Army forces. A neutral
population, not actively involved in behavior affecting Army forces, supports
consideration of more restrictive ROE. In all cases, ROE conforms to the law
of war. However, ROE may be much more restrictive than the law of war
requires.
4-31. The location of the population also affects ROE. The evacuation or con-
solidation of noncombatants into controlled, safe areas may result in less
restrictive ROE. An allied population that remains in the urban area con-
ducting routine business in and amongst Army forces during noncombat UO
will normally require the most stringent ROE.
Infrastructure Effects
4-32. Commanders consider the urban infrastructure when developing ROE.
An urban infrastructure vital to current or future Army operations may
dictate that commanders adjust ROE to ensure that critical elements of the
infrastructure remain intact during the conduct of operations. If Army forces
conduct an urban operation to capture port facilities, the ROE address
damage to the key facilities that are the objective of the operation.
4-11
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
RESOURCE ALLOCATION
4-33. Commanders of a major operation ensure that subordinate tactical
commanders have the resources necessary to conduct UO effectively. They
assign appropriate forces to subordinate commanders tasked to conduct UO;
support them with Army forces at the operational level; and request and
coordinate their support by joint resources.
Task Organization
4-34. Task organizing subordinate units for urban operations depends
largely on the nature of the operation. Some units, however, are always part
of the task organization to ensure the success of UO. Infantry, CA, aviation,
military police, PSYOP, military intelligence, and engineers are units
required for all urban operations across the full range of Army operations.
Other type forces—such as armor, artillery, and chemical—have essential
roles in specific types of urban operations but are less applicable across the
range of Army operations. Commanders and staffs of a major operation
understand their mission, the particular urban environment in which they
operate, and the general effects of the environment across the battlefield
operating systems (BOS) to allocate the appropriate forces to their tactical
commanders. See Chapter 5 for details.
Operational-Level Support
4-35. Commanders of a major operation also support the tactical commander
with forces remaining under their direct control. These forces can include
Army SOF, such as CA, PSYOP, and Special Forces, ground and air cavalry,
aviation, logistics, engineers, and communications support. These forces may
not be under operational control of the supported command, but their efforts
are synchronized and coordinated.
Coordinating and Requesting Joint Support
4-36. Commanders of a major operation provide forces to the JFC as well as
receive assets. They also coordinate for and integrate joint assets to support
the tactical battle. These assets will usually include air support, such as close
air support, tactical airlift, and aerial reconnaissance and surveillance. Intel-
ligence support comes in the form of reachback to strategic and national
intelligence capabilities and to space-based systems. This reachback to space
assets provides reliable, robust long-range communications, environmental
monitoring, and warning of enemy missile launch. Joint special operations
capabilities can assist the tactical mission with special operations aviation,
special reconnaissance, and direct action against high-payoff targets. Joint
resources also provide the Army forces augmentation by Marine ground
forces. In coastal areas, Naval forces and Coast Guard elements assist Army
forces with security, sealift, and fire support. Commanders of a major opera-
tion coordinate with the JFC regarding available joint resources and their
allocation. They then ensure that their efforts coordinate with and comple-
ment those of tactical Army forces in the urban area. Appendix D discusses
the potential contribution of joint capabilities to Army UO.
4-12
Contemplating Urban Operations
URBAN ISR
4-37. Commanders at all levels require accurate and timely information to
conduct assessments for successful urban operations. This is critical to
planning and execution. Senior commanders have a large role in coordinating
the urban ISR effort. National strategic sources (as well as open sources)
provide most of the information that commanders and staffs require on the
characteristics of the human dimension, the physical properties of the
terrain, and the infrastructure. The general characteristics of these aspects of
the urban environment do not change drastically over time, with one excep-
tion. Military operations or natural disasters can change physical charac-
teristics drastically. Analysts can obtain crucial information through diligent
research of intelligence databases and open sources. However, the disposition
and composition of the urban threat is time sensitive and not likely to be
discovered through this type of investigation. Due to the effects of the urban
environment, deceptive efforts may influence the threat more easily. The
urban population is dynamic and updated or confirmed as a prelude to urban
operations. Surveillance and reconnaissance provide accurate and timely
information regarding threat dispositions, composition and the state of the
population, and the specifics of the urban terrain. Successful urban opera-
tions depend on the successful conduct of urban reconnaissance (see also the
discussion of effects on the intelligence and command and control BOS in
Chapter 5).
Challenges
4-38. The most significant challenge to urban ISR is physical. The physical
organization and complexity of the urban terrain, both man-made and
natural, challenges national strategic, operational, and tactical ISR capabili-
ties. Commanders understand the challenges when planning and allocating
time and resources to their ISR efforts. They acknowledge that subordinate
commanders will face similar challenges. Therefore, commanders consider
subordinate capabilities, limitations, and needs when planning, requesting,
allocating, and prioritizing ISR assets and capabilities.
4-39. Imagery Capabilities. A significant national and strategic ISR capa-
bility is imagery. However, the structures of the urban area significantly
degrade the information that imagery acquires and may make it susceptible
to physical deception measures. Current imagery capabilities cannot pene-
trate intrasurface or subsurface areas. Yet, imagery is an excellent source
regarding the arrangement and nature of many other physical aspects. It can
provide significant detail of major portions of the infrastructure. Imagery can
also reveal what may be happening in structures through detailed study of
patterns and other exterior indicators. Yet, the bulk of a skillful threat’s
forces, well positioned and concealed inside or underneath structures in the
urban area, are largely immune from rapid detection by overhead imaging
systems. The volume of movement in an urban area will itself provide a
degree of camouflage and increase the difficulty of employing pattern
analysis. The success in 1999 of the Yugoslavian army concealing heavy
forces when confronting NATO indicates the limits of these assets to
penetrate an urban area.
4-13
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
4-40. Electronic Capabilities. The physical attributes of the urban area
also diminish the effectiveness of electronic ISR capabilities. Buildings and
other structures significantly disrupt radio communications in an urban
area. Buildings not only make tactical radio communications difficult for the
user, they also make them difficult to locate, intercept, and jam. The range
and clarity of frequency modulation (FM) signals significantly diminish when
antennas are located inside buildings or when buildings block line of sight
between the source and receiving station. To mitigate this effect, detection
capabilities often move closer to the transmission source. Without losing tac-
tical surprise and increasing risk, units cannot effectively use many electronic
detection and surveillance capabilities until urban combat is imminent or
perhaps already begun. Thus, the threat’s vulnerability to compromise by
means of his FM and other wireless communications in an urban environ-
ment is much less than in many other environments.
4-41. Human Capabilities. The limits on imagery and electronic ISR capa-
bilities place a premium on human-based visual reconnaissance. Com-
manders have three types of human reconnaissance assets to augment elec-
tronic reconnaissance resources: special reconnaissance, conventional combat
reconnaissance, and human intelligence (HUMINT) gathered by military
intelligence from individuals. The urban environment poses several chal-
lenges to these capabilities.
4-42. The urban area challenges special reconnaissance in several ways.
First is the access the urban area. Although avenues of approach may be
numerous, concealed avenues of approach into a defended urban area may be
limited and thoroughly covered. Air access is also more difficult because
aircraft are detected more easily, airspace is smaller, drop and landing zones
are limited or not secure, and more air defense systems probably exist. Still,
special reconnaissance efforts to penetrate the urban area can be successful
using unconventional techniques including high-altitude low-opening
parachutes or underwater penetration.
4-43. Special reconnaissance then faces a second challenge: moving in and
identifying targets in the urban area. Stealth movement in an occupied
urban area is exceptionally difficult. Repositioning to new or alternate posi-
tions is also dangerous. The soldiers’ ability to conceal themselves among the
civil population can mitigate some of these challenges but includes inherent
risks of a different nature. Also difficult is establishing observation positions
that provide a field of view of several targets.
4-44. Finally, special reconnaissance may face navigational and reporting
challenges. Special reconnaissance’s ability to locate themselves and commu-
nicate critical locations and routes are challenged by—
Differences in language and numbering systems.
Irregular street patterns.
Outdated maps.
Intervening structures that impede communications and global posi-
tioning systems.
Changes to the landscape due to the effects of UO or natural disasters.
Featureless shantytowns.
4-14
Contemplating Urban Operations
4-45. Conventional reconnaissance faces many of the same challenges as
special reconnaissance. Conventional reconnaissance also may lack the
advantage of surprise and the special equipment and training that provides
special reconnaissance stealth capability. Conventional reconnaissance is not
likely to operate undetected by the civilian population. Given the constraints
discussed above on other sources, conventional reconnaissance units will
likely begin their mission with much less information than they would have
on threat dispositions in a less complex environment. Commanders may
choose to have their reconnaissance elements fight for information in the
urban area. While this high-risk option is more favorable under fluid
conditions, it can be used at any time. It requires careful planning, rehearsal,
and formulation of information requirements.
4-46. Human intelligence may be one of the most valuable sources for infor-
mation regarding the situation inside an urban area. HUMINT may take ad-
vantage of the proximity and large numbers of potential informants to gather
information about threat activities and capabilities. It is especially valuable
because it can address all elements of the environment. HUMINT sources
can describe political and religious nuances significant to commanders. Such
information is useful for insights regarding the human dimension but
extremely difficult to obtain from other means. This intelligence also can
describe the infrastructure relating essential details of how the infrastruc-
ture functions. Obtaining good HUMINT requires skilled interrogators and
linguists. Commanders know and account for some of the possible short-
comings of HUMINT:
It is susceptible to the influence of the threat; the threat can threaten
and influence the source.
It is limited by the accuracy of the source’s perceptions.
It may not be timely. The process of identifying and cultivating a
source (particularly in an environment where most civilians support
threat forces), gathering information, analyzing the information, and
providing the intelligence to commanders can be extremely time
consuming.
Some informants may come from unscrupulous or sordid elements of
the urban society and may have their own agenda. They may attempt
to use protection afforded them by their relationship with Army forces
to conduct activities (even atrocities) that will compromise political and
military objectives.
Conducting Urban ISR
4-47. To be successful, ISR efforts (national to tactical level) are exceptionally
comprehensive and synchronized. Success requires integrating all ISR
sources into operational and tactical planning. This requires that ISR assets be
deployed and execute early, diversify, properly focus, and integrate into a
comprehensive ISR plan. It also requires flexibility to adapt to the opera-
tional and tactical needs of the commander (see Figure 4-3 on page 4-16).
4-48. Early Deployment. One of the first requirements for effective urban
ISR is the early deployment and employment of assets. The complex urban
terrain presents a significant challenge. It will normally take longer for ISR
assets to gather data amid the complexity.
4-15
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
4-49. Limited national, strategic, and opera-
tional imagery intelligence (IMINT) and sig-
nals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities are
requested. If they are approved, they are
tasked and deployed or repositioned to begin
urban ISR operations. This takes time.
Spacing the ISR effort over time permits the
analysis of the information or data as it is
received. Such time also permits subsequently
refining the ISR effort before all assets are
committed.
4-50. SOF or conventional units will require
significantly more time to execute reconnais-
sance missions and maintain an acceptable
survivability rate. Urban reconnaissance
operations require additional time for stealthy
insertion into the urban area. IMINT and
SIGINT capabilities are used to identify
possible locations of high-value targets and
corresponding observation positions; this helps minimize time-consuming
and high-risk repositioning in the urban area. Again, reconnaissance units
may require extensive time to observe from observation positions for
indicators of threat activity and disposition and identify patterns.
Early Deployment
Early Deployment
Diversity
Diversity
Focus
Focus
Integration
Integration
Flexibility
Flexibility
Figure 4-3. Urban ISR
Conside
r
ations
4-51. As conventional combat forces prepare to commit to the urban area,
conventional reconnaissance precedes their actions. Conventional reconnais-
sance will often be a slow and methodical effort. Such forces need time to
reconnoiter the interior of structures for snipers and other small threat
teams. They also need time to deploy and destroy snipers and small delaying
elements and to breach harassing obstacles. If necessary, they need time to
mass the combat power necessary to fight through security forces and
continue reconnaissance.
4-52. Diversity. No single ISR capability can solve the riddle of the urban
defense. The only way to successfully gain a thorough common operational
picture of the complex urban terrain—so commanders can focus combat
power on decisive points—is to employ diverse ISR capabilities. These capa-
bilities will each contribute pieces of relevant information to permit iden-
tifying operational objectives and leveraging tactical combat power to achieve
those objectives quickly. Higher-level commanders know that tactical recon-
naissance capabilities alone often cannot provide all the tactical information
required for success at lower echelons.
4-53. Using diverse capabilities challenges the threat’s ability to defeat the
friendly ISR effort. A threat who focuses on minimizing his vulnerability to
satellite imagery may increase his reliance on communications and thus his
vulnerability to SIGINT. At the same time, he may decrease his ability to
detect the actions of ground reconnaissance units. A threat that actively
campaigns to detect ground reconnaissance may make himself more vul-
nerable to SIGINT and IMINT.
4-16
Contemplating Urban Operations
4-54. Diverse capabilities also facilitate the tactical ISR effort. Tactical recon-
naissance units often consist of small dismounted teams and small combined
arms teams with a dismounted element and an armor-protected mounted
element. Engineers and breaching capability are essential to the combined
arms reconnaissance effort. The teams’ movements are synchronized and
coordinated with other assets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and
air cavalry reconnaissance. These teams use several movement techniques
including infiltration, with the primary objective of conducting zone recon-
naissance along key axes that support brigade and battalion actions against
decisive points. To accomplish this mission, reconnaissance reconnoiters the
proposed routes and alternate approaches. This supports deception and
contingency planning. Infiltration of dismounted reconnaissance is made
easier when a threat focuses on combined arms reconnaissance teams. Aerial
reconnaissance, such as air cavalry and UAVs, provides early warning of
threat elements to ground reconnaissance, identifies obstacles and ambush
sites, and helps select the routes for ground reconnaissance. Air elements
may also reduce the mobility of counterreconnaissance forces.
4-55. Focus. Another key to successful ISR is the ability to focus the assets
on commander’s critical information requirements (CCIR). This focus begins
with the mission and the commander’s initial planning guidance. It is incre-
mentally refined throughout planning and execution as each ISR effort
provides information and permits more specific focus in subsequent efforts.
The size and complexity of the urban environment require that the ISR effort
center strictly on decisive points or centers of gravity (COGs). Therefore, the
overall ISR effort will have two major focuses. The first is to confirm and
develop information on the decisive points and COG. The second is the
approaches to the decisive points and COG. The first focus will likely drive
ISR in support of major operations. The second focus will likely provide the
impetus for tactical ISR efforts. For example, special operations reconnais-
sance might focus on a major command center that controls the entire urban
area and that is one of a corps CCIR. Tactical reconnaissance might focus on
the nature of the defense along a particular avenue of approach to the
objective.
4-56. Integration. Another important aspect of urban ISR is integration. All
reconnaissance capabilities provide both distinctive information as well as
information that confirms and adds to that coming from other sources. Essen-
tial to urban ISR is the link between all of these sources, either directly or
through an integrating headquarters.
4-57. ISR operations are vertically and horizontally linked. Vertical links
ensure that ISR operations among the various levels of command are comple-
mentary and that the information flow between these levels is rapid. Hori-
zontal links ensure that forces operating in close proximity (particularly
adjacent units), where areas of interest overlap, can rapidly share results of
their individual ISR efforts. Together, this helps ensure that all Army forces
share a common operational picture and permits the greatest flexibility and
survivability of ISR resources.
4-58. ISR operations also are integrated into the planning system, especially
the targeting process. As part of targeting, positioned reconnaissance and
surveillance elements may become the trigger and terminal control for
4-17
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
applying precision fires when appropriate and after considering the risks of
compromise of the position or platform.
4-59. Flexibility. The urban ISR effort is more flexible than in other opera-
tions. This flexibility permits the ISR effort to meet unforeseen circumstances
and to deal with the challenges of the urban environment. As indicated
previously, the urban environment is particularly difficult to penetrate. The
practical effects of this characteristic are that—
The initial ISR effort may not be as successful as in other operations.
More intelligence requirements may be discovered later while exe-
cuting ISR operations than otherwise.
The threat may be more successful in active counterreconnaissance
because of the concealment advantages of the urban environment
(hiding in structures as well as among the urban population).
Therefore, tactical and operational commanders consider requesting greater
than usual ISR support from higher headquarters. Higher headquarters is
proactive in augmenting units conducting urban operations with additional
ISR assets. Additionally, ISR assets remaining under the control of the
higher headquarters respond more quickly to the CCIR of supported com-
manders. Sequencing reconnaissance missions over time provides flexibility
by creating uncommitted reconnaissance assets.
4-60. Time sequencing of ISR assets is essential to flexibility. It makes ISR
assets more survivable and allows the intelligence cycle to mature the CCIR.
It also creates a ready ISR capability to augment committed forces in critical
areas if required or diverts them around centers of threat resistance. If not
required, it executes original tasks as envisioned in planning. Cueing allows
a high-value ISR asset to be capable to respond to multiple targets based on
an ongoing assessment of the overall reconnaissance effort and the changing
CCIR. Redundancy permits the effort to overcome line of sight restrictions,
the destruction of an ISR asset, and the ability to combine ISR resources to
create combat power if required. Maximizing the ISR effort requires applying
all available ISR assets to support the urban operation. Additionally, assets—
such as air defense artillery and field artillery radars and engineer squads—
are integrated into the ISR effort. In urban operations, units will also commit
infantry and armor elements (plus their organic reconnaissance elements)
into the tactical reconnaissance effort. These units increase the dismount
capability and the ability of reconnaissance elements to fight for information
and fight through security zones.
INFORMATION OPERATIONS
4-61. Information operations are an integral part of all Army operations and
a critical component in creating and maintaining information superiority.
The information environment is the sum of individuals, organizations, or
systems that collect, process, and disseminate information; it also includes
the information itself. In UO, the information environment is extremely
dense due to the proliferation of INFOSYS and widespread access to those
systems. In urban operations, commanders consider how the urban environ-
ment, particularly the human component, uniquely relates to executing IO.
4-18
Contemplating Urban Operations
4-62. IO are executed using
core and supporting elements
and related activities (see Fig-
ure 4-4 and FM 100-6). The
elements of IO are employed in
either an offensive or defensive
role. Many elements of IO are
not affected differently in an
urban environment from any
other environment. The fol-
lowing sections outline some
IO considerations unique to
urban operations.
Figure 4-4. IO Elements and Related
Activities
¾Operations Security
¾Psychological
Operations
¾Counterpropaganda
¾Military Deception
¾Electronic Warfare
¾Computer Network
Defense
¾Computer Network
Attack
¾Physical Destruction
¾Counterintelligence
¾
¾
¾Counterdeception
Counterdeception
Counterdeception
¾
¾
¾Physical Security
Physical Security
Physical Security
¾
¾
¾Information Assurance
Information Assurance
Information Assurance
Information Operations Public
Affairs
Civil-
Military
Operations
Offensive
Offensive
Defensive
Defensive
Operations Security
4-63. In the urban environment, Army forces can leverage existing urban
infrastructure, including the communications and information infrastructure,
to enhance Army operations. The danger in integrating these systems is vio-
lating OPSEC. Commands ensure that Army forces use only approved
systems and proper safeguards exist. Commands also supervise subordinate
units for inadvertent breaches of OPSEC policies when using existing urban
systems.
4-64. The close proximity of the Army operations to a civil population, parti-
cularly in stability operations and support operations, makes Army activities
themselves an OPSEC concern. Hostiles or other threats integrated into the
urban population may have more chances to observe Army activities closely.
Such observations can provide insight into tactics, techniques, and proce-
dures (TTP) and expose operational vulnerabilities. However, threats may
coerce even friendly civilians to provide a threat EEFI, and are supplemented
with military deception efforts. Commanders in an urban environment
ensure that civilians cannot observe critical TTP. Any observable patterns
and TTP vary and are supplemented with deception efforts. Physical security
is increasingly important in urban areas to control civilians’ access. Although
many urban operations require close coordination with NGOs, commanders
screen information provided to them to protect EEFI. Release of EEFI to
NGOs is controlled and done with full recognition and understanding of
potential consequences—the benefits must far outweigh the risks involved.
Psychological Operations
4-65. PSYOP aim to influence the behavior and attitude of foreign audiences,
both military and noncombatant, in the urban environment. PSYOP are a
force multiplier and contribute in many ways to mission success (see
FM 33-1-1). Their ability to influence the attitudes and disposition of the
urban population cannot be overstated. While the complexity of the societal
component of the urban environment can make PSYOP challenging, it also
offers many options and resources. Potentially, PSYOP (with other political
and economic actions) may help limit or preclude the use of military force in
urban areas. In some circumstances, military operations may be relevant
only in terms of their psychological effect.
4-19
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
4-66. The positive influence created by PSYOP is often essential to develo-
ping an effective HUMINT capability particularly in an urban area where
many civilians actively or passively support the threat. Persuading and influ-
encing a few to support friendly forces may pay great dividends. These few
supporters may allow Army forces to penetrate the urban area and obtain
essential information. Such information can apply to threat capabilities,
threat intentions, and even the urban environment itself.
4-67. PSYOP, combined with other elements of offensive IO, aid in isolation
of a threat—a critical shaping action for any urban operation. For example,
commanders may use PSYOP to inform civilians about new food distribution
points located away from urban combat operations. This action supports the
UO fundamental of separating combatants from noncombatants and helps to
further isolate the threat (both physically and psychologically) from the
civilian populace. Aside from projecting a positive image of friendly forces
over threat forces, PSYOP also isolates the threat. These operations identify
and exploit ethnic, cultural, religious, and economic differences between the
elements of the civilian populace and threat forces as well as the differences
among supportive and unsupportive civilian factions. The complexity of the
urban environment enables quick changes in opinion or attitude. Com-
manders continually evaluate the results of PSYOP for mission relevance.
Counterpropaganda
4-68. Because propaganda is aimed at both combatants and noncombatants,
UO are especially concerned with its use. Propaganda can rapidly and dra-
matically affect the attitudes of the urban population and will probably occur
after urban operations have begun. Thus, it can create situations in the
human dimension of the environment quite different from those discovered in
the pre-operations assessment. Counterpropaganda is, therefore, essential to
urban operations. To negate, deflect, or destroy the threat’s propaganda
capability, counterpropaganda requires—
Monitoring the threat’s propaganda efforts.
Evaluating the effectiveness of those efforts.
Determining methods using all Army force capabilities, especially
PSYOP and PA units.
Military Deception
4-69. Urban operations present numerous challenges to tactical commanders;
however, higher-level commanders may help to mitigate some challenges.
Commanders can use military deception efforts designed to mislead threat
decisionmakers as to friendly force disposition, capabilities, vulnerabilities,
and intentions. Military deception actions may allow commanders to achieve
tactical surprise or improve relative combat power at a selected location. For
example, allowing the threat to observe certain activities on a selected
avenue of approach may cause the threat to shift his forces (and effort) to the
area perceived to be threatened. (This movement may also aid in determining
the overall disposition of threat forces and intentions.) Repositioned forces or
effort to activities or locations that are not decisive to the achievement of
friendly objectives, combined with other IO designed to overwhelm his
information and intelligence systems, may create the force and tempo
4-20
Contemplating Urban Operations
differential necessary to achieve success. Commanders tailor urban deception
plans to the specific urban area, paying close attention to the societal charac-
teristics of the target population.
Electronic Warfare
4-70. Electronic warfare (EW) includes all actions that use electromagnetic or
directed energy weapons to control the electromagnetic spectrum or to attack a
threat. Conducting EW in urban areas seeks to achieve much the same
results as in other environments. A major consideration in urban areas is
collateral effects on portions of the urban infrastructure that rely on the
electromagnetic spectrum for service. Thus, precision is a major factor in
planning for EW operations. For example, EW attacking a threat’s television
broadcasts avoids affecting the television broadcasts of neutral or friendly
television. Likewise, EW attacking military communications in a large urban
area avoids adversely affecting the area’s police and other emergency service
communications. Urban offensive and defensive operations will have the least
restrictions on EW operations while urban stability operations and support
operations may have significant constraints on using EW capabilities.
Computer Network Operations
4-71. Computer network operations (CNO) include computer network attack
(CNA), computer network defense (CND), and computer network exploitation
(CNE). CNO are not applicable to units at corps and below. Echelons above
corps (EAC) units will conduct CNA and CNE. If tactical units require either
of these network support, they will request it of EAC units.
4-72. Computer Network Defense. In urban operations, CND will require
extreme measures to protect and defend the computers and networks from
disruption, denial, degradation, or destruction. The nature of the urban
environment and configuration of computer networks provides the threat
with many opportunities to interdict local area networks (LANs) unless
monitored by military forces. LANs controlled by military forces are normally
more secure than the civilian infrastructure. Commanders prepare for oppor-
tunities by the threat to insert misinformation.
4-73. Computer Network Attack. Considerations regarding the execution
of CNA in urban operations are similar to those of EW: CNAs that do not dis-
criminate can disrupt vital civilian systems. However, possible adverse
effects on the civilian infrastructure can be much larger—potentially on a
global scale. In the short term, CNAs may serve to enhance immediate
combat operations but have a debilitating effect on the efficiency of follow-on
urban stability operations. Because of these far-reaching effects, tactical
units do not execute CNA. CNA is requested of EAC units. EAC units will
receive all requests from lower echelons, carefully consider second- and third-
order effects of CNA, and work to ensure its precise application.
4-74. Computer Network Exploitation. CNE is an enabling operation and
intelligence collection to gather data from target or adversary automated
INFOSYS or networks. Tactical units do not have the capability for CNE.
CNE contributes to intelligence collection at EAC. In UO, CNE will be
centrally controlled.
4-21
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
Information Assurance
4-75. Information assurance in UO takes on an added dimension. As with
other operations, availability of information means timely, reliable access to
data and services by authorized users. In UO, the timeliness of information
may be restricted because structures block the transmission waves. The need
for retransmission facilities will overwhelm the signal community. The
reliability can be questioned because of the blockage between units and com-
munications nodes. Unauthorized users may intercept the communications
and input misinformation or disinformation. Commanders protect the
integrity of all information from unauthorized changes, including destruction.
INFOSYS with integrity operate correctly, consistently, and accurately. The
authentication of information may be accomplished by sophisticated elec-
tronic means. However, it is more likely that communications-electronics
operating instructions authentication tables will authenticate the informa-
tion. Commanders consider the confidential nature of all information in UO.
The G6 protects the information from unauthorized disclosure. Information
being passed cannot be repudiated. The density of the infrastructure in urban
areas may inhibit receipt by the intended individual or unit. The sender may
have no means to determine if the message was received.
Counterdeception
4-76. In UO, threat forces can easily accomplish deception operations. The
force that controls the area above and below ground will have freedom of
movement. Deception aimed at friendly commanders will cause them to
deploy combat power at the wrong place and the wrong time. Counter-
deception by friendly commanders will identify and exploit threat attempts to
mislead friendly forces. Counterdeception is difficult. Cultures of certain
rhetoric and actions are more predisposed to deception than others. Knowing
a threat’s previous deception methods is important. Dismissing tactical indi-
cators because they conflict with preconceptions may allow a hostile
deception operation that plays on the preconception to succeed.
Physical Destruction
4-77. Physical destruction includes those actions—including direct and
indirect fires from air, land, sea, space, and Special Forces—taken with, to
augment, or supplement IO actions. Like many other IO elements, major
concerns with employing physical destruction in UO are precision and follow-
on effects. Thus, commanders using physical destruction to support IO
adhere to the same constraints as all other fires.
Counterintelligence
4-78. Counterintelligence (CI) in the context of IO focuses on detecting
threats against INFOSYS. The urban environment, particularly in stability
operations and support operations, is ideal for espionage, other intelligence
activities, sabotage, or assassination. Threats can approach, conduct recon-
naissance, and escape under the concealment of the urban terrain and
population.
4-22
Contemplating Urban Operations
4-23
Civil-Military Operations
4-79. Civil-military operations (CMO) are a critical aspect of virtually every
urban operation and are included here as a closely related activity of IO.
CMO activities enhance the relationship between military forces, civilian
authorities, and the urban population. They promote the development of fav-
orable emotions, attitudes, or behavior. CMO range from support to combat
operations to assisting in establishing political, economic, and social stability.
Chapter 9 has a more detailed discussion of CMO and CA units. However,
because of its criticality to UO, CMO and its effects are thoroughly integrated
throughout this manual.
Public Affairs
Four hostile newspapers
are more to be feared than
a thousand bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte
4-80. Another related activity to IO is
public affairs (PA). PA influences urban
operations by transmitting information
through the media to internal (in urban
Army forces as well as in the urban
civilian populace) and external audiences.
At higher levels of command, PA can help maintain popular national support
for the urban operation by clarifying the links between strategic goals and
operational objectives. At both the operational and tactical levels, it links
Army units, the urban inhabitants, the US and international public, and the
media. PA can help determine potential media issues that may influence
planned UO. It can also aid commanders in assessing the impact of UO on the
environment (particularly its citizens) and other agencies and organizations
operating in the urban area. PA also helps to counter rumors, uncertainty,
fear, loneliness, confusion, and other factors that cause stress (to both
soldiers and civilians) and undermine effective UO. If the populace does not
understand the mission, false expectations may be created that Army forces
may not be able to meet. PA can help prepare the American public for the
possibility of high casualty rates. Overall, PA supports urban commanders in
their goals to achieve information superiority and preserve public support.
4-81. PA does not distort, direct, or manipulate information. Its effectiveness
stems directly from establishing and maintaining credibility with the urban
population and media. Commanders synchronize PA with the integral ele-
ments of IO (particularly PSYOP and counterpropaganda) to ensure that all
Army sources send only one message. Urban commanders plan for the media
and integrate PA into their decisionmaking and (through IO) targeting
processes.
4-82. The density of information sources and reporters in UO ensures that all
Army activities will be subject to media and public scrutiny. Many reporters
will congregate in cities for their own comfort and take advantage of estab-
lished communications networks. Urban areas are densely populated and,
together with Army forces and NGOs operating there, will present the
greatest number of human-interest stories. The local urban or host-nation
media, however, will often have their own agendas developed over a longer
period of time. This local media will also have a greater influence over the
urban population than the international media. The indigenous media may
not follow international norms. Commanders are responsible to understand
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
4-24
the media (particularly the local media), its role, and its potential influence.
They cannot allow themselves to be intimidated by it. Commanders support
open and independent reporting and grant access to their units as early and
as far forward as the situation permits.
Truth is Paramount
If News is Out, It is Out
Public Affairs Must be Deployed Early
Not All News is Good News
Practice Security at the Source
Media are Not the Enemy
Telling Our Story is Good for the Army
Soldiers and Families Come First
Figure 4-5. Public Affairs Principles
4-83. The PA principles listed in
Figure 4-5 and addressed in
FM 46-1 summarize PA. They
serve as useful guides toward
planning and executing PA
operations regardless of the en-
vironment. However, the princi-
ples of “practice security at the
source,” and “truth is para-
mount” particularly apply to the
urban environment. The com-
partmented nature of most UO impede commanders’ and their PA officers’
ability to be at all places where the media will likely be. Therefore, all
soldiers are trained, provided with clear and understandable PA guidance,
and prepared to communicate to the civilian media. The keys at all levels are
understanding, prepared acceptance, and truthfulness tempered with an
essential concern for OPSEC.
INTEGRATION OF CONVENTIONAL AND SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES
4-84. One important Army and joint resource that commanders of a major
operation can use to influence urban operations is SOF. Several types of these
forces exist, each with unique and complementary capabilities. They can be
extremely valuable in UO for their ability to execute discrete missions with a
higher degree of precision than conventional forces, to provide information,
and to enhance cultural understanding. However, the challenges of using
SOF include command and control, integration, and coordination with con-
ventional forces that will normally command, control, and conduct the bulk of
UO tasks. The density and complexity of UO make close coordination and
synchronization of conventional forces and SOF essential to mission success.
The nature of the environment dictates that both forces will work in close
proximity to each other; the separation in space and time between SOF and
conventional forces will often be much less in urban areas than in other envi-
ronments. Overall, the nature of the environment demands a synergistic com-
bination of capabilities to achieve effects on the threat and mission success.
4-85. Successfully integrating SOF occurs with proper integration into, or
coordination with, the command structure of the force conducting the UO.
SOF within a theater (less PSYOP and CA) ordinarily fall under joint com-
mand and control. Therefore, the commander of the major operation respon-
sible for an urban area, if he is not a JFC, will have to coordinate through the
JFC to integrate SOF capabilities into the UO. Examples of critical coordina-
tion elements include boundaries, no-fire areas, coordination points, and re-
quirements to support search and rescue contingencies.
4-86. A special operations command and control element (SOCCE) is usually
formed at Army corps level, specifically to coordinate integrating the SOF
with conventional forces. The SOCCE links conventional force commanders
Contemplating Urban Operations
with the SOF units operating in their AOs. It primarily deconflicts conven-
tional and SOF targets, positions, and missions. The synchronization and
unity of action necessary between conventional and SOF in an urban AO may
still require the Army force headquarters to further coordinate SOF integra-
tion through the JTF commander. The special operations coordination
element (SOCOORD) is the ARSOF element within the Army corps or
Marine expeditionary force (MEF) G3 section responsible for coordinating
special operations requirements. As an integral part of the corps or MEF
staff, the SOCOORD provides a focal point for SOF command, control,
communications, computers, and intelligence structure to synchronize special
operations activities in support of corps missions.
COORDINATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES
4-87. The population density of the urban environment, its economic and
political importance, and its life-supporting infrastructure attracts many
types of organizations. These organizations include—
Other US governmental agencies.
International governmental organizations.
Allied and neutral national governments.
Allied and coalition forces.
Local governmental agencies and politicians.
NGOs.
Even in a MTW, many organizations operate in the area as long as possible
before combat or as soon as possible after combat. Therefore, coordination
with these organizations sharing the urban AO will be essential; however,
effective coordination is challenging, time consuming, and manpower inten-
sive. The staffs of larger headquarters (divisions or higher) normally have the
breadth of resources and experience to best conduct the coordination. They
can effectively use or manage the organizations interested in the urban area
and mitigate their potential adverse effects on UO. By taking on as much of
the coordination requirements as possible, the operational headquarters
permits its tactical subordinates to remain focused on accomplishing their
tactical missions. The higher headquarters should assume as much of the
burden of coordination as possible. However, the density of the urban
environment will often require that smaller tactical units coordinate with
other agencies simply because of their physical presence in the units’ AOs. In
urban stability operations and support operations, mission accomplishment
will require effective civil-military coordination activities and measures at all
levels as either a specified or implied task.
Civil-Military Operations Centers
4-88. To coordinate activities among the varied agencies and organizations
operating in an urban area and the local population, urban commanders can
establish a civil-military operations center (CMOC). The CMOC synchronizes
Army activities and resources with the efforts and resources of all others
involved (see FM 41-10). This can be particularly important in stability opera-
tions and support operations where combat operations are not the dominant
characteristic of the operation. CMOCs can be established at all levels of com-
mand. Hence, more than one CMOC may exist in an AO, particularly large
4-25
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
urban areas. CMOCs may be organized in various ways and include
representatives from as many agencies as required to facilitate the flow of
information among all concerned parties. Commanders still ensure that force
protection and OPSEC requirements are not compromised. Effective CMOCs
can serve as clearinghouses for the receipt and validation of all civilian
requests for support, can aid in prioritizing efforts and eliminating redun-
dancy, and, most importantly, can reduce wasting the urban commander’s
scarce resources.
Liaison Officers
4-89. Liaison officers (LNOs)—sufficiently experienced and adequately
trained in liaison duties and functions—are necessary to deal with the other
agencies that have interests in the urban area. Army LNOs work with the
lead agency or other organizations that the commander has identified as criti-
cal to mission success. Together they work to rapidly establish unity of effort
and maintain coordination, often before a CMOC is established. The addi-
tional coordination afforded by the physical presence of LNOs within these
organizations may be required even after the CMOC is fully functional.
When commanders lack enough LNOs to meet requirements, they prioritize
and often assign a single LNO to several organizations. That LNO will then
share his time and presence to those organizations based on the situation
and his commander’s guidance.
Commander’s Personal Involvement
4-90. Overall, establishing a close relationship with other agencies will often
be a major, positive factor in successful mission accomplishment, particularly
in urban stability operations. Commanders that develop a direct and personal
relationship with the leaders and staff of other agencies can often avoid
conflict, win support, and help eliminate the “us versus them” mentality that
frequently frustrates cooperation among Army forces and civilian organiza-
tions.
4-26
Chapter 5
Foundations for Urban Operations
Utilities such as electricity and water are as much weapons of war as
rifles, artillery pieces or fighter aircraft. . . . In the case of Manila,
where there was a noncombatant, civilian population of one million in
place, it was the attacker’s aim to capture the utilities which the
defender planned to destroy.
The Battle for Manila
Commanders conducting major urban operations (UO) use their ability to
visualize how doctrine and military capabilities are applied within the
context of the urban environment. An operational framework is the basic
foundation for this visualization. In turn, this visualization forms the
basis of operational design and decisionmaking. To accurately visualize,
describe, and direct the conduct of UO, commanders and their staffs
understand the basic fundamentals applicable to most UO. They also
understand how the urban environment affects the battlefield operating
systems (BOS) and the tactical urban battle.
URBAN OPERATIONAL FRAMEWORK
5-1. Army leaders who have an urban area in their area of operations (AO) or
are assigned missions in an urban area follow an urban operational
framework. They identify the portion of the urban area essential to mission
success, shape the area, precisely mass the effects of combat power to rapidly
dominate the area, and then transition control of the area to another agency.
This framework divides into four essentials: assess, shape, dominate, and
transition. These four components provide a means for conceptualizing the
application of Army combat power and capabilities in the urban environment.
The Army framework modifies the joint urban operations framework
CONTENTS
Urban Operational Framework ....................5-1
Assess........................................................5-3
Shape..........................................................5-4
Dominate....................................................5-6
Transition...................................................5-7
Fundamentals of Urban Operations..........5-12
Perform Focused Information
Operations ..............................................5-12
Conduct Close Combat ..........................5-13
Avoid the Attrition Approach.................5-13
Control the Essential ..............................5-13
Minimize Collateral Damage...................5-14
Separate Noncombatants from
Combatants.............................................5-14
Restore Essential Services ....................5-15
Preserve Critical Infrastructure .............5-15
Understand the Human Dimension .......5-15
Transition Control ...................................5-16
General Effects on Operations ..................5-16
Battlefield Operating Systems ...............5-16
Tactical Considerations..........................5-32
5-1
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
(understand, shape, engage, consolidate, and transition) to further clarify the
JUO concepts within the context of Army capstone doctrine found in FM 3-0.
The framework for joint urban operations (JUO) provides the joint force
commander a framework for planning and conducting JUO. FM 3-0 provides
Army commanders with the operations process that provides a framework for
planning, preparation, execution, and continuous assessment. Army capstone
doctrine, supported with the Army UO framework, is fully compatible with
the concepts and purpose of the JUO framework.
5-2. The urban operational framework assists commanders in visualizing
urban operations. This framework is simply an aid to the commander. Com-
manders combine the framework with—
The principles of war.
The tenets of Army operations.
The components of operational design.
Considerations for stability operations and support operations.
Characteristics of combat service support (CSS).
Staff estimates.
Commander’s critical information requirements (CCIR).
Each commander’s experience.
The framework contributes to the visualizing, describing, and directing
aspects of leadership that make commanders the catalysts of the operational
process (see Figure 5-1). In the same manner, the urban operational
framework contributes to the overall operations process (see FM 3-0).
Figure 5-1. The Urban Operational Framework and Battle Command
Visualize Describe Direct
The urban operational frame-
work highlights critical
aspects of conducting UO.
Combined with other analy-
tical tools, the UO framework
assists the commander in
visualizing his mission and
mission requirements. The
framework also provides a
means for describing and
directing subordinates.
The commander’s vision of
the UO is then translated
through planning guidance
and intent into plans and
orders.
URBAN OPERATIONAL
FRAMEWORK
Operational Process
Plan
Prepare
Execute
Assess
Estimates
Estimates
Principles of War
&
Tenets of Army
Operations
Principles of War
&
Tenets of Army
Operations
METT-TC
METT-TC
Elements of
Operational Design
Elements of
Operational Design
Considerations for
Stability Operations
and Support
Operations
Considerations for
Stability Operations
and Support
Operations
Experience
Experience
Characteristics
of Combat
Service
Support
Characteristics
of Combat
Service
Support
CCIR
CCIR
UO FRAMEWORK
Assess
Shape
Dominate
Transition
5-2
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
ASSESS
5-3. Assessment is the continuous monitoring—throughout planning prepa-
ration, and execution—of the current situation and progress of an operation,
and the evaluation of it against criteria of success to make decisions and
adjustments (FM 3-0). Commanders use visualization as their assessment
method, staff officers use staff estimates, and all use the intelligence prepara-
tion of the battlefield (IPB) process. Commanders and staffs begin the assess-
ment process by observing and then collecting information about the situa-
tion. They observe and learn about the urban environment, and factors of
METT-TC—mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support
available, time available, civil considerations. They use intelligence, surveil-
lance, and reconnaissance means; information systems (INFOSYS); and
reports from other headquarters, services, organizations, and agencies. Then
they orient themselves to the situation and achieve situational under-
standing based on a common operational picture (COP) and continuously
updated CCIR. Largely, the ability to rapidly and accurately assess the
situation contributes to the commanders’ abilities to seize, retain, and exploit
the initiative during UO.
Disproportionately Critical
5-4. The Army operations process requires continuous assessment; it pre-
cedes and guides every activity. In UO, however, assessment is disproportion-
ately critical for several reasons. First, each urban environment is unique.
Other environments can be studied and their characteristics quantified in a
general manner with accuracy. This is fundamentally not true of different
urban areas. The characteristics and experience in one urban area often have
limited value and application to an urban area elsewhere. This characteristic
sets UO apart from operations in other environments.
Extremely Dynamic
5-5. The urban environment is also extremely dynamic. Either deliberate
destruction or collateral damage can quickly alter physical aspects of the
urban environment. The human aspect is even more dynamic and potentially
volatile. A friendly civil population, for example, can become hostile almost
instantaneously. These dynamics (combined with initial difficulty of under-
standing and describing this unique environment) make it difficult for com-
manders and staffs to initially develop and maintain a COP and establish
situational understanding. Furthermore, public reaction to media coverage of
the urban operation and political changes influence national objectives and
overall strategy. Such changes can affect the basic nature of an operation,
especially after it has commenced. Anticipating these potential effects and
developing appropriate branches and sequels based on an accurate assess-
ment often determines how quickly commanders can achieve the desired end
state.
Risk Assessment
5-6. As in any environment, UO pose both tactical and accident risks.
However, the level of uncertainty, ambiguity, and friction can often be higher
than that of many other environments. Such challenges increase the
5-3
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
probability and severity of a potential loss due to the presence of the enemy, a
hostile civilian group, or some other hazardous condition within the urban
environment (see Necessity of Urban Operations in Chapter 4). Therefore,
commanders—
Identify and assess hazards that may be encountered in executing their
missions.
Develop and implement clear and practical control measures to elimi-
nate unnecessary risk.
Continuously supervise and assess to ensure measures are properly
executed and remain appropriate as the situation changes.
Risk decisions are commanders’ business. Staffs, subordinate leaders, and
even individual soldiers also understand the risk management process and
continuously look for hazards at their level or within their area of expertise.
Any risks identified (with recommended risk reduction measures) are quickly
elevated to the appropriate level within the chain of command (see
FM 100-14).
Complex and Resource Intensive
5-7. The urban environment is the most complex of all the environments in
which the Army conducts operations. It is comprised of a diverse civil popu-
lation and complex, ill-defined physical components. A sophisticated net of
functional, social, cultural, economic, and political institutions unites it.
Thus, the analysis to understand the environment is also complex and time
and resource intensive. The nuances of the urban environment can take years
to uncover. Hence, constant analysis of the environment requires greater
command attention and resources. Accurately assessing the environment is a
prerequisite to shaping it, and both are critical to achieve domination.
SHAPE
5-8. Shaping operations, part of all Army operations, are essential to suc-
cessful UO. They set the conditions for decisive operations at the tactical
level in the urban area. Rapid action, minimum friendly casualties, and
acceptable collateral damage distinguish this success when the AO is
properly shaped. Failure to adequately shape the urban AO creates unaccept-
able risk. The commander of a major urban operation has several resources
with which to begin shaping the AO. Important capabilities include—
Fires.
Information operations.
Special operations capabilities.
The maneuver of major subordinate units.
Isolation
5-9. Isolation of an urban environment is often the most critical component of
shaping operations. Commanders whose AO includes operationally signifi-
cant urban areas often conduct many shaping operations to isolate, or
prevent isolation of, those areas from other parts of the AO. Likewise, com-
manders operating in the urban area focus on isolating decisive points and
objectives in the urban area or from being isolated. Isolation is usually the
5-4
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
key shaping action that affects UO. It
applies across the range of Army opera-
tions. Most successful UO have effec-
tively isolated the urban area. Failure
to do so often contributed to a difficult
or failed UO. In fact, the relationship
between successful isolation and suc-
cessful UO is so great that the threat
often opposes isolation actions more
strongly than operations executed in
the urban area. In some situations, the
success of isolation efforts has been
decisive. This occurs when the isolation
or imminent isolation of the urban area
compels a defending enemy to withdraw or to surrender before beginning or
completing decisive operations. In UO that are opposed, Army forces attempt
to isolate the threat three ways: physically, electronically, and psychologically
(see Figure 5-2).
PSYCHOLOGICAL
PHYSICAL
ELECTRONIC
ISOLATION
ISOLATION
ISOLATION
Figure 5-2. Urban Isolation
5-10. Physical Isolation. In offensive UO, physical isolation keeps the
threat from receiving information, supplies, and reinforcement while
preventing him from withdrawing or breaking out. Conversely, a defending
Army force attempts to avoid its own physical isolation. Simultaneously, this
force conducts operations to isolate the threat outside, as they enter, or at
selected locations in the urban area. Physical isolation can occur at all levels.
In many situations, particularly major theater war (MTW), the commander of
a major operation may attempt to isolate the entire urban area and all enemy
forces defending or attacking it. At the tactical level, forces isolate and attack
individual decisive points. In stability operations, physical isolation may be
more subtly focused on isolating less obvious decisive points, such as a hostile
civilian group’s individual leaders. In many operations, isolation may be
temporary and synchronized to facilitate a decisive operation elsewhere. To
effectively isolate an urban area, air, space, and sea forces are necessary in
addition to the capabilities of ground forces.
5-11. Electronic Isolation. Electronic isolation is achieved through offen-
sive information operations (IO). Electronic warfare (particularly two of its
components: electronic warfare support and electronic attack) and computer
network attack are critical to electronic isolation (see FM 100-6 and Informa-
tion Operations in Chapter 4). At the operational level, offensive IO aims to
quickly and effectively control the information flow into and out of an urban
area. This isolation separates the threat’s command and control (C2) system -
in the urban area from its operational and strategic leadership outside the
urban area. Offensive IO also focuses on preventing the threat from com-
municating with civilians through television, radio, telephone, and computer
systems. At the tactical level, IO aim to isolate the threat’s combat capability
from its C2 and leadership within the urban area, thus preventing unity of
effort within the urban area. Defensive IO are key to preventing isolation of
friendly forces defending in an urban area.
5-12. Psychological Isolation. Psychological isolation is a function of
public affairs, physical actions, electronic warfare, and other forms of IO,
5-5
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
especially military deception and psychological operations. Psychological iso-
lation denies the threat political and military allies. It separates the enemy
or hostile civilian group from the friendly population, nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) operating in the urban area, and from political leaders
who may consider supporting Army forces. Psychological isolation destroys
the morale of individual enemy soldiers or hostile civilians. It creates a
feeling of isolation and hopelessness in the mind of the threat. It undermines
the confidence of the threat in their leadership. On the other hand, IO, as
well as the disciplined conduct of Army personnel, can help to forge legiti-
macy for Army operations. In stability operations, psychologically isolating
the threat results in the friendly urban population and NGOs positively sup-
porting Army operations.
Other Shaping Actions
5-13. Other shaping actions can include the proper sequencing and deploy-
ment of forces, reconnaissance operations, and force protection. These actions
contribute equally to the success of any urban operation. Commanders
understand how the urban environment affects their ability to accomplish
these shaping actions. However, civil-military operations (CMO), another
closely related activity of IO, are important to shaping the urban battlespace
for decisive operations. The specific civil-military task can vary greatly and
may include affecting a cooperative relationship with the civil political
system, protecting portions of the civil population or infrastructure, or estab-
lishing refugee camps or safe areas for noncombatants. This is most true in
stability operations and support operations. Successful CMO also can con-
tribute to the psychological isolation of the threat. (See Civil-Military Opera-
tions in Chapters 4 and 9 for more detailed discussions.)
Training and Education
5-14. Finally, Army commanders know that critical shaping actions often
occur prior to the urban operation in the form of professional education and
training. Commanders can enhance training through joint, interagency,
multinational, and combined arms exercises and effective rehearsals. Capa-
bilities and competencies of units include—
A general understanding of the urban environment to include effects on
soldiers, weapon systems, and equipment. Significantly, commanders
cultivate a firm understanding of urban time-distance relationships.
Multicultural understanding.
A solid grounding in urban combat to include appropriate tactics, tech-
niques, and procedures (see FM 3-06.11 and TC 90-1).
DOMINATE
5-15. Army forces dominate by establishing pervasive and lasting control and
influence over the urban environment until responsibilities are transferred to
other legitimate military or civilian control. Decisive operations, at all
echelons across the full spectrum of operations, are critical to a commander’s
ability to dominate. Decisive operations take advantage of the Army force’s
superior training, leadership, and, within the constraints of the environment,
technology. These operations apply overwhelming combat power or
5-6
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
capabilities to achieve maximum effects. Army forces dominate a situation
when they have fulfilled all mission requirements and established preemi-
nent military control over the threat, geographical area, or population.
Achieving domination in a specific urban operation depends, of course, on the
situation and the assigned mission.
Offense: Attack Decisive Points
5-16. In urban offensive operations, forces achieve dominance by successfully
striking at the enemy’s center of gravity using multiple offensive actions from
unexpected directions and throughout all dimensions. Army forces aim to
dominate identifiable decisive points. Successful efforts against decisive
points lead to effects on the center of gravity. The center of gravity will differ
in each offensive situation. It may be an individual enemy leader, the
enemy’s combat power, the enemy’s communications capability, or a physical
structure of cultural, political, or economic significance.
Defense: Deny Vital Functions and Critical Infrastructure
5-17. In urban defensive operations, domination translates into denying the
enemy control of the vital functions and critical infrastructure of the urban
area. Forces achieve this by leveraging the defensive advantages of the urban
terrain, defending essential areas in depth, using economy of force in nones-
sential areas, controlling the enemy direction of attack with natural and
man-made obstacles, and retaining the initiative through counterattacks.
Stability and Support: Apply Innovation and Imagination
5-18. The ability to dominate in urban stability operations hinges on the type
of stability operation commanders execute. In a noncombatant evacuation
operation, forces limit domination to finite geographic areas and times. In
contrast, a peace operation may require domination of a large urban area for
an extended time. In this operation, dominate is defined as using the array of
Army capabilities to create specific conditions among the belligerents. Thus,
the techniques used for domination in stability operations vary according to
the situation and as situations mature during long-term operations.
5-19. In urban support operations, dominating the situation may require
innovative and subtle application of Army capabilities. Since Army forces
usually support other agencies that lead the operation, achieving domination
results from carefully and discretely applying Army capabilities to the tasks
assigned by the lead agency. In a humanitarian relief situation, Army forces
may be tasked to transport supplies in the urban area. Domination of this
activity then becomes the goal of Army forces and may be achieved by
providing, managing, and protecting transportation assets.
TRANSITION
5-20. When planning UO, commanders ensure that they plan and prepare for
transitions. Transitions are movements from one phase of an operation to
another. They involve significant changes in the type of operation, concept of
the operation, mission, situation, task organization, forces, resource allo-
cation and support arrangements, or C2. Transitions occur in all operations,
but in UO they occur with greater frequency and intensity, are more complex,
5-7
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
and often involve agencies other than US military organizations. For
example, a successful attack may transition to a defend mission that includes
not only defense tasks but also stability tasks. Unless planned and executed
effectively, transitions can reduce the tempo of the urban operation, slow its
momentum, and cede the initiative to the threat.
Mental and Physical Preparation
5-21. Transitions occur as conditions warrant. They can be carefully planned
and controlled, or they can be quick and dramatic, such as the swift transfor-
mation of a stability operation into offense or defense. Units prepare mentally
and physically to address rapid transitions. Accordingly, plans include
branches and sequels that address anticipated or possible transition points.
When the dominant type of operation changes from an offense to stability,
the types of units originally conducting the UO may no longer be appropriate.
A large mobile reserve may permit increased flexibility to react to unplanned
transition requirements. Operations in one part of an urban area may
transition before operations in a different part of the same urban area. This
will require commanders to execute various types of operations and asso-
ciated tasks simultaneously.
Transition to Legitimate Civilian Authorities or Agencies
5-22. In UO, a distinct aspect of transition is the requirement to quickly and
efficiently transition the major portions of Army responsibilities to civil
agencies. Some tasks to which units will transition are not traditional combat
tasks but rather stability tasks more closely associated with CMO. In
stability operations and support operations this is often a near-term critical
mission objective. In these operations, commanders aim to alleviate the
circumstances requiring Army forces and ensure that other civilian agencies
assume the functions provided by Army forces. In combat operations, civilian
agencies quickly resume specific support activities—such as providing
sanitary services, food services, law enforcement, and health services
because of their high demand on Army resources.
Clearly Visualize and Describe the End State
5-23. Army UO conclude when Army forces depart and have no further
mission requirements in the urban area. At the outset, commanders visualize
and describe the intended end state of a unit’s execution of UO. Commanders
then clarify and update this visualization as the political or strategic situa-
tion is refined or changes. This enables subordinate units to identify likely
transitions and ensures that current operational planning takes into account
second- and third-order effects. As long as an active Army AO contains an
urban area, some type of urban operation will exist. After urban combat
successfully ends, combat forces may move on. Support forces conducting
sustaining operations may then occupy the area and continue to conduct a
different form of UO.
5-8
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
5-9
Panama
Panama
Caribbean
Sea
Pacific
Ocean
Panama City
Madden Dam
Coco Solo
Colon
Pecora River
Bridge
Rio Hato
Fort Cimarron
La Chorrera
Pan-American Highway
Torrijos-Tocumen
Airport
Fort Sherman
Fort Davis
Fort Espinar
Albrook Air
Station
Fort Amador
Bridge of the
Americas
Fort
Kobbe
Howard A.F.B.
Rodman Naval
Station
N
Panama Canal
N
Panama City Area
Fort Armador
Comandancia
Presidential
Palace Paltilla Airport
Marriott Hotel
US Embassy
Balboa
Quarry
Heights
USSOUTHCOM
Albrook Air
Station
Applying the Urban Operational Framework
Panama – December 1989
The US conducted OPERATION JUST CAUSE in December 1989 to remove the
illegal ruler of Panama, Manuel Noriega, and to restore that country to a democ-
racy. It also conducted the operation to ensure the safety of a substantial number
of US personnel as well as the security of US interests in Panama. The major
focus of JUST CAUSE was in Panama City, the country’s capital. Most opera-
tions occurred in this large urban area, one of the numerous smaller urban areas,
or the urban-like military bases. These bases proliferated the AO and were
directly linked to operations in the capital city. This successful operation illus-
trates how commanders can apply the urban operational framework to visualize,
describe, and direct the critical aspects of urban operations.
Assess
The synchronization achieved during the operation may have obscured the chal-
lenges faced in the initial assessment process in Panama. However, it was not
as simple as it may have seemed. Using the framework of the urban environ-
ment, US forces required details of the physical characteristics of the environ-
ment, the infrastructure, and the human dimension including the capabilities of
the Panamanian military.
Figure 5-3. Panama
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
5-10
Because Army forces had a long history in Panama, commanders clearly under-
stood the physical challenges and layout of critical urban areas (see Figure 5-3
on page 5-9), particularly Panama City. They also understood how the infrastruc-
ture in each urban area functioned and which parts would be key to success.
Examples of key portions of the infrastructure included the Madden Dam, which
controlled the water flow through the Panama Canal, and the Cerro Azul
television tower, which was the main Panamanian broadcast tower.
Collecting information and developing intelligence on the human elements of the
urban environment was critical to operational success and a challenge. Because
the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) had traditionally been an ally of the US,
Army forces did not have a systemic database that adequately depicted their
order of battle and their true capabilities. Additionally, much of the situation in
Panama was colored in political terms making it more difficult for traditional mili-
tary sources to evaluate the status of PDF forces. For example, Army planners
needed to know if PDF military units (when faced with a formidable US force)
would fight at all for Noriega and if they did fight, how hard and long would they
fight. The answers depended largely on their political loyalty to Noriega and on
the individual loyalty of the unit officers to the Panamanian president. Thus, Army
commanders needed to understand the military characteristics of PDF units and
their political affiliations and tendencies.
Because transition from combat to noncombat tasks would be critical to
achieving all objectives, particularly the restoration of democracy, Army forces
also needed an accurate assessment of the political opposition to Noriega—
including that opposition’s capabilities and vulnerabilities. Again, Army forces
were required to make assessments outside those needed solely for combat
operations. Ultimately, assessing the political opposition’s vulnerabilities led to
assigning Army units to protect them throughout the operation so that they could
serve as a foundation for a new democratic government.
Finally, the commander’s assessment included an evaluation (often subjective)
of the attitudes and disposition of the Panamanian people. Human intelligence
(HUMINT) was the primary source of information on the population. Army forces
had good access to the population because of their close proximity and historical
ties to Panama. Many soldiers were married to Panamanians, and the Army had
total access to local media and to prominent individuals.
National imagery and special operations forces (SOF) also contributed to the
ability of Army forces to assess the urban environments of JUST CAUSE. All
units executing operations had detailed satellite photos of objective areas. Addi-
tionally, key objectives were placed under SOF surveillance well in advance. This
surveillance revealed unit readiness, vulnerabilities, detailed disposition, and
other patterns critical to mission success. The combination of the two capabilities
allowed units to plan and achieve the synchronization necessary for such a
complex urban operation.
Shape
During OPERATION JUST CAUSE, commanders conducted numerous shaping
operations to establish the conditions for the decisive operations. Many opera-
tions were designed to control information, such as an assault on the Azul tele-
vision tower identified during the assessment of the infrastructure. Planners
designed many shaping operations to isolate various garrisons and PDF units.
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
5-11
An example of tactical isolation was the plan for the Pacora River Bridge to
prevent reinforcements from reaching the garrison at Torrijos-Tocumen Airport.
Operational isolation was achieved through the Ranger Regiment’s and 82nd Air-
borne Division’s assault on targets at Rio Hato in the west and Fort Cimarron in
the east. These actions in conjunction with the securing of Maddam Dam had the
primary objective of isolating Panama City. They were also the largest of the
major actions occurring during OPERATION JUST CAUSE. The airborne assault
was also the largest airborne operation conducted by US forces since World
War II. This large-scale shaping operation demonstrates that shaping operations
are critical to mission success and can be more resource intensive than the
actual operations that achieve domination.
Dominate
US Army forces achieved domination in OPERATION JUST CAUSE by estab-
lishing unchallenged military control over Panama City and eliminating Noriega’s
capability to challenge that control. Toward this end, the operation attacked two
decisive points. The first was the assault on the PDF headquarters located in
Panama City: the Comandancia. The second was the operation undertaken to
locate and seize Noriega himself.
Three battalions of task force (TF) Bayonet (5-87th Infantry, 1-508 Infantry
[Airborne], and 4-6th Infantry [Mechanized]) executed the attack on the Coman-
dancia and Fort Amador. They were also tasked to protect the American Em-
bassy in downtown Panama City. To execute these missions, they moved from
various staging areas located throughout the city to their assigned objectives
using air assault, mounted, and dismounted approaches. The ground movement
through the city proved to be the most difficult and hazardous part of the mission
due to the vulnerability of the troops in their armored personnel carriers and
trucks. The dismounted movement was slower than the mounted movement but
allowed the soldiers greater cover and concealment.
The strongest opposition to TF Bayonet occurred at the Comandancia. Elements
of three PDF companies and two public order companies held out for three
hours. The troops moving to Comandancia were subject to a large volume of
sniper fire, and in the assault, unidentified indirect fire caused significant casual-
ties among the mechanized forces. TF Bayonet forces, supported by airborne
armored reconnaissance vehicles and Hellfire missiles from Apache helicopters,
captured the Comandancia. Commanders noted in particular the precision of the
supporting fires from attack helicopters. The assault by fire from supporting
AC-130 gunships destroyed most of the reinforced Comandancia building.
Simultaneously, SOF attacked several targets where Noriega might be located.
These initial attacks were unsuccessful. However, many subsequent actions
neutralized Noriega’s influence and eventually resulted in his apprehension on
3 January 1990. These actions included the well-organized and relentless
manhunt conducted by SOF units, the isolation of Panama City itself, population
control efforts, sophisticated IO, and cooperation with other US agencies.
Transition
OPERATION JUST CAUSE demonstrated the vital need for a thought-out plan
that adequately addresses the transition from combat to noncombat before com-
manders initiate operations. Normally in complex UO, commanders cannot leave
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
the details of transition until after the operation has begun without unacceptable
risk to overall mission accomplishment. The follow-on stability operation,
OPERATION BLIND LOGIC (later renamed OPERATION PROMOTE LIBERTY)
began 24 hours after the initial assault and thus both operations were occurring
simultaneously. This simultaneity of different types of operations is typical in
major operations conducted in a large urban area. The stability operations
involved more time than the combat operation and continued well after the close
of OPERATION JUST CAUSE and after most of the major combat units had
redeployed. It involved significant resources without the same level of risk to US
forces as the combat operations.
Civil affairs (CA) were a dominant part of the transition from combat to stability
operations. The 96th Civil Affairs battalion was central to this operation. CA
forces established a civil police force, emergency food distribution, property
protection, production and distribution of newspapers, cleanup of the city, and
building support for a new civil government. Most tasks were coordinated through
Army CA forces and executed by other Army forces under the supervision of CA.
IO were also a major aspect of affecting a stable transition and successful post-
combat operations. These operations built support for the US operation among
the population. They emphasized that the US conflict was with Noriega and not
the Panamanian people and that the US forces would depart as soon as a new
Panamanian government could take over.
Other US agencies played critical roles in stability operations in Panama. The US
Drug Enforcement Agency and Justice Department were important to the
negotiations that led to Noriega’s capture. The US State Department helped to
negotiate for Noriega and develop military policies and plans during the stability
operation. The American Embassy advised commanders regarding the large
diplomatic community that existed in Panama City.
FUNDAMENTALS OF URBAN OPERATIONS
5-24. UO often differ from one operation to the next. However, some funda-
mentals apply to UO regardless of the mission, geographical location, or level
of command. Some of these fundamentals are not exclusive to urban environ-
ments. They are particularly relevant to an environment dominated by man-
made structures and a dense noncombatant population (see Figure 5-4).
Appendix A provides an historical example of how these fundamentals apply
to an actual conflict situation.
PERFORM FOCUSED INFORMATION OPERATIONS
5-25. Information operations aimed at influencing non-Army sources of infor-
mation are critical in UO. Because of the density of noncombatants and
information sources, the media, the public, allies, coalition partners, neutral
nations, and strategic leadership will likely scrutinize how Army forces
participate in UO. The proliferation of cell phones, Internet capability, and
media outlets ensure close observation of the activities of Army forces. With
information sources rapidly expanding, public information of Army opera-
tions will be available faster than the internal military INFOSYS can process
it. Army forces should aggressively integrate IO into every facet and at all
5-12
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
levels of the opera-
tion to prevent
negative impacts.
Under media scru-
tiny, the actions of
one soldier may
have significant
strategic implica-
tions. IO aim to
make the infor-
mation accurate;
placed in the
proper context of
the Army’s mis-
sion; and available
to all interested
parties: the public,
the media, and
other agencies.
Perform Focused
Information
Operations
Perform Focused
Information
Operations
Conduct Close
Combat
Conduct Close
Combat
Avoid the Attrition
Approach
Avoid the Attrition
Approach
Control the Essential
Control the Essential
Minimize Collateral
Damage
Minimize Collateral
Damage
Separate
Noncombatants from
Combatants
Separate
Noncombatants from
Combatants
Restore Essential
Services
Restore Essential
Services
Preserve Critical
Infrastructure
Preserve Critical
Infrastructure
Understand the
Human Dimension
Understand the
Human Dimension
Transition Control
Transition Control
Figure 5-4. Fundamentals of Urban Operations
CONDUCT CLOSE COMBAT
5-26. Close combat is required in all offensive and defensive UO. This core
capability is also present and visible in urban stability operations and may be
required in urban support operations. Close combat in any urban operation is
resource intensive, requires properly trained and equipped forces, and has
the potential for high casualties. However, the ability to close with and
destroy enemy forces as a combined arms team remains essential. This
ability allows Army forces to morally dominate a threat, destroy his means to
resist, and terminate urban conflicts on the Army commander’s terms. There-
fore, nothing in this manual should lead commanders to compromise this
decisive capability.
AVOID THE ATTRITION APPROACH
5-27. Previous Army doctrine was inclined towards a systematic linear
approach to urban combat. This approach emphasized standoff weapons and
firepower. Army force structure does not support this approach towards UO.
It can result in significant collateral damage, a lengthy operation, and an
inconsistency with the political situation and strategic objectives. Enemy
forces that defend urban areas want Army forces to adopt this approach
because of the likely costs in resources. Commanders should only consider
this approach to urban combat as an exception and justified by unique cir-
cumstances.
CONTROL THE ESSENTIAL
5-28. Many modern urban areas are too large to be completely occupied or
even effectively controlled without an enormous force. Therefore, Army forces
focus their efforts on controlling only the essentials to mission accomplish-
ment. At a minimum, this requires control of key terrain. Key terrain is
terrain whose possession or control provides a marked advantage to one side
or another. In the urban environment, commanders determine key terrain
5-13
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
based on its functional, political, economic, or social significance. A power
station or a church may be key terrain.
5-29. All principles of war can apply to UO. The principle of mass and the
principle of economy of force (in addition to the principle of unity of command
discussed later in this chapter) are particularly important in guiding UO and
providing mission focus. Army forces mass combat power only to control those
requirements essential for mission success. This permits conservation of
combat power. It also implies economy of force and associated risk in those
areas where Army forces choose not to exercise control.
MINIMIZE COLLATERAL DAMAGE
5-30. Forces should use
precision fires, IO, and non-
lethal tactical systems con-
sistent with mission accom-
plishment while decreasing
the potential for collateral
damage. Commanders
develop unique rules of
engagement (ROE) for each
urban operation and pro-
vide necessary firepower
constraints. IO and non-
lethal systems may com-
pensate for some restric-
tions, especially in stability
operations and support
operations. Commanders continually assess the short- and long-term effects
of firepower on the population, infrastructure, subsequent missions, and
national and strategic objectives.
SEPARATE NONCOMBATANTS FROM COMBATANTS
5-31. Promptly separating noncombatants from combatants (psychologically
and physically) may make the operation more efficient and diminish some of
the threat’s asymmetrical advantages. This separation also may reduce
restrictions on the use of firepower, enhance force protection, and strip the
threat from its popular support base. This important task becomes more diffi-
cult when the threat is an unconventional force that can mix with civilians.
5-32. In recent operations, threats have sought to integrate their military
capabilities as closely as possible into the civilian population and infrastruc-
ture. In these conditions, commanders increase their efforts to discriminate
between the two. Soldiers managing violence in this setting require the
highest level of individual and organizational discipline and judgment. The
training, effort, and command emphasis in this area is as important as fully
successful results. Such efforts strongly impact national and international
perceptions of the operation.
5-14
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
RESTORE ESSENTIAL SERVICES
5-33. Army forces plan to restore essential services that may fail to function
before or during an operation. Essential services include power, food, water,
sewage, medical care, and law enforcement. When planning for and con-
ducting Army UO, units can use nonlethal and less destructive munitions
and capabilities to keep potentially vital infrastructure intact. Initially, Army
forces may be the only force able to restore or provide essential services.
Failure to do so can result in serious health problems for the civilians, which
can affect the health of Army forces and negatively impact overall mission
success. Army forces transfer responsibility for providing essential services to
other agencies, NGOs, or the local government as quickly as possible.
PRESERVE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
5-34. Commanders analyze the urban area to identify critical infrastructure.
They attempt to preserve the critical elements for postcombat sustainment
operations, stability operations, support operations, or the health and well-
being of the indigenous population. Urban areas remain in the AO after
combat operations have ceased. Postcombat UO are unavoidable. Different
from simply avoiding collateral damage, Army forces may have to initiate
actions to prevent an enemy or a hostile civilian group from removing or
destroying critical infrastructure. Such infrastructure may include cultural
resources such as religious and historical places. In some cases, preserving
the infrastructure may be the assigned objective of the urban operation.
UNDERSTAND THE HUMAN DIMENSION
5-35. Commanders carefully consider and manage the perceptions, alle-
giance, and morale of the civilians. Their assessment of the environment
needs to accurately identify the attitudes of the people toward Army forces.
Operational guidance to subordinates—including ROE, protection, logistics
operations, and fraternization—is based on this assessment. Commanders
expect and consider the demographic variance in the attitudes of an urban
population. They cannot inadvertently apply Western cultural norms to a
non-Western urban population. Commanders can only make assessments
based on understanding and appreciating the local culture.
5-36. Sound policies, proper discipline, and adequate consideration for local
culture will positively affect the attitudes of the population toward Army
forces. Additionally, well-conceived and executed IO will enhance the position
of Army forces relative to the urban population. Even during high-intensity
urban combat, heightened awareness of and sensitivity toward the civilians
can lead to a better postcombat situation than if civil considerations were
unobserved or diminished in importance. An improved postcombat situation
enhances transition. As the environment of conflict becomes more complex,
the human dimension (and associated moral aspects) takes on greater
importance and may have the greatest potential for affecting the successful
outcome of UO. Therefore, the human aspect creates a discrete overall
planning area.
5-15
FM 3-06 __________________________________________________________________________________
TRANSITION CONTROL
5-37. Because UO are resource intensive, commanders plan to end them
quickly, yet consistently with successful mission accomplishment. The end
state of all UO transfers control of the urban area to another agency or
returns it to legitimate civilian control. Quick transition releases Army
resources for use elsewhere and improves the civilian morale and disposition
toward Army forces. This requires the successful completion of the Army
force mission and a thorough transition plan. The transition plan may
include returning control of the urban area to another agency a portion at a
time as conditions permit.
GENERAL EFFECTS ON OPERATIONS
5-38. Commanders understand the general effects that the environment has
on the BOS. They also understand the effects that the environment has on
lower-level tactics to properly plan, prepare, and execute major operations
that may include UO. Otherwise, commanders may ask their subordinates to
achieve effects, accomplish objectives, or adhere to a timetable that is unsup-
portable due to the constraints imposed by the urban environment. However,
commanders do more than simply understand the impossible, rather they
determine what it will take to make it possible.
BATTLEFIELD OPERATING SYSTEMS
5-39. Understanding the effects of the BOS
permits the urban commander to better vis-
ualize the battlespace. See Figure 5-5. With
this appreciation, he can conduct a more
thorough assessment and thereby determine
the most efficient means of employing Army
forces. The staff can be intimately familiar
with effects in their area of expertise and use
that knowledge to understand the problem
and develop creative and innovative solutions
to achieve their commander’s intent.
Intelligence
Maneuver
Fire Support
Air Defense
Mobility, Countermobility,
and Survivability
Combat Service Support
Command and Control
Figure 5-5. Battlefield
Operating Systems
Intelligence
5-40. The intelligence system plans, directs, collects, processes, produces, and
disseminates intelligence on the threat and the environment. The urban envi-
ronment affects this critical system in many ways. Impacts of the environ-
ment on the intelligence system include degraded reconnaissance capability,
more difficult IPB process, and increased importance of credible HUMINT.
The Army forces’ response to these effects can result in timely, accurate, and
actionable intelligence that permits the effective application of other BOS to
the mission within the urban environment.
5-41. Degraded Reconnaissance and Surveillance Capability. The
physical environment creates a major challenge to the intelligence system.
The man-made construction in the urban areas provides nearly complete
cover and concealment for threats. Current sensor capabilities cannot pene-
trate the subsurface facilities and much of the space within intrasurface
5-16
___________________________________________________________ Foundations for Urban Operations
areas. The mass of buildings can also defuse electronic signatures. Tall
buildings shield movement within urban canyons from aerial observation ex-
cept from directly overhead. Urban threats may be less technology dependent
and may thwart some signals intelligence efforts simply by turning off their
radios and using messengers. Threat forces will likely use elements of the
civilian telecommunications infrastructure for C2. These systems may
include traditional landline phones, cellular telephones, and computer-to-
computer or Internet data communications. Most urban telecommunications
systems use buried fiber or cables or employ modern digital signaling tech-
nology. Such systems are difficult to intercept and exploit at the tactical level.
These characteristics make it difficult for the intelligence system to use
electronic means to determine threat dispositions and, in offensive and defen-
sive UO, identify decisive points and centers of gravity.
5-42. Challenging IPB Process. The complexity of the environment also
challenges the intelligence system. The intelligence system applies the IPB
process to the urban environment in accordance with Army doctrine (see
Appendix B). With more data points for the IPB process to identify, evaluate,
and monitor, this application becomes more demanding. The human and
societal aspects of the environment and the physical complexity primarily
cause this difference. Relationships between aspects of the environment, built
on an immense infrastructure of formal and informal systems connecting the
population to the urban area, are usually less familiar to analysts. Thus, the
urban environment often requires more intelligence resources to penetrate,
identify, monitor, and assess than other environments.
5-43. Compounding the challenges is the relative incongruity of all urban
environments. No two urban areas are alike physically, in population, or in
infrastructure. Thus, experience in one urban area with a particular popula-
tion and pattern of infrastructure does not readily transfer to another urban
area. Any experience in UO is valuable and normally serves as a starting
point for analysis, but the intelligence system cannot assume (and treat as
fact) that patterns of behavior and the relationships in one urban area mirror
another urban area. The opposite is as likely to hold true. The intelligence
system will have to study each urban area individually to determine how it
works and understand its complex relationships.
5-44. Each characteristic of the urban environment—terrain, society, and
infrastructure—is dynamic and can change radically in response to UO or
external influences. Civilian populations pose a special challenge to com-
manders conducting UO. Civilians react to, interact with, and influence to
varying degrees Army forces. Commanders know and account for the poten-