Joint and Multinational Urban Operations
53[Joint force commanders] synchronize the actions of air, land, sea, space, and special operations forces to achieve strategic and operational objectives through integrated, joint campaigns and major operations. The goal is to increase the total effectiveness of the joint force, not necessarily to involve all forces or to involve all forces equally.
As pointed out earlier, Army forces, division size and larger, will likely be required to conduct operations in and around large urban areas in support of a joint force commander (JFC). The complexity of many urban environments, particularly those accessible from the sea, requires unique leveraging and integration of all the capabilities of US military forces to successfully conduct the operation. This appendix discusses many of these capabilities; JP 3-06 details joint urban operations.
D-1. In some situations, a major urban operation is required in an inland area where only Army forces are operating. Army commanders determine if the unique requirements of the urban environment require forming a joint task force (JTF) or, if not, request support by joint capabilities from the higher joint headquarters. Sometimes the nature of the operation is straightforward enough or the urban operation is on a small enough scale that conventional intraservice support relationships are sufficient to meet the mission requirements.
D-2. Most major urban operations (UO), however, require the close cooperation and application of joint service capabilities. A JTF may be designated to closely synchronize the efforts of all services and functions in an urban area designated as a joint operations area (JOA). If a large urban area falls in the context of an even larger ground force area of operations, a JTF dedicated to the urban operation may not be appropriate. These situations still require joint capabilities. In such cases, the responsible JFC designates support relations between major land units and joint functional commands. The major land units can consist of Army forces, Marine Corps forces, or joint forces land component command. The joint functional commands can consist of the joint special operations task force (JSOTF), joint psychological operations (PSYOP) task force, or joint civil-military operations task force.
D-3. This appendix describes the roles of other services and joint combatant commands in UO. It provides an understanding that enables Army commanders to recommend when to form a JTF or to request support from the JFC. It also provides information so commanders can better coordinate their efforts with those of the JFC and the commanders of other services or components conducting UO. Lastly, this appendix describes some considerations when conducting UO with multinational forces.
D-4. Army forces conducting UO rely on other services and functional joint commands for specialized support in the urban environment. These capabilities are requested from and provided through the commanding JFC. Army forces request the assets and capabilities described in this annex through their higher headquarters to the joint command. The JFC determines if the assets will be made available, the appropriate command relationship, and the duration of the support. Army forces prepare to coordinate planning and execution with other services and to exchange liaison officers. These capabilities can greatly increase the Army's ability to assess, shape, dominate, and transition within the context of UO.
D-5. Air Force support is an important aspect of the Army force concept for urban operations. Air Force elements have a role to play in UO across the range of Army operations.
D-6. Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems contribute significantly to assessing the urban area. These ISR systems include the E-8 Joint Surveillance, Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) (see Figure D-1), U2S, RC-135 Rivet Joint, or RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. Air Force ISR systems can provide vital data to help assess threat intentions, threat dispositions, and an understanding of the civilian population. These systems also can downlink raw information in real-time to Army intelligence processing and display systems, such as the common ground station or division tactical exploitation system.
D-7. Air interdiction (AI) can be a vital component of shaping the urban battlespace. Often, AI of the avenues of approach into the urban area isolates the threat by diverting, disrupting, delaying, or destroying threat forces before they can be used effectively against Army forces. AI is especially effective in major theater war (MTW) circumstances where restrictions on airpower are limited and the threat is likely to be a conventionally equipped enemy. In 1991 during OPERATION DESERT STORM, AI helped prevent the Iraqi 5th Mechanized Division from reaching Khafji.
D-8. Precise air-delivered fires can positively and directly affect the conduct of Army close combat actions in the urban area. Special munitions designed to penetrate hardened bunkers can provide unique support to land forces executing UO. Problems associated with dense smoke and dust clouds hanging over the urban area and laser scatter may restrict the use of special, heavy, laser-guided bombs. If the launching aircraft can achieve a successful laser designation and lock-on, these weapons have devastating effects, penetrating deep into reinforced concrete before exploding with great force. If launched without a lock-on, or if the laser spot is lost, these weapons are unpredictable and can travel long distances before they impact.
D-9. General-purpose bombs from 500 to 2,000 pounds can also be used; however, they are only moderately effective against enemy located in large buildings. High-dive angle bomb runs may improve accuracy and penetration but will increase the aircraft's exposure to antiaircraft weapons. Low-dive angle bomb runs using high-drag (retarded) bombs may be appropriate to place bombs into upper stories but penetration is poor. On the other hand, aerial bombs can pass completely through light-clad buildings and explode on the outside with unwanted effects.
D-10. In addition to shaping and dominating the UO through firepower, commanders can use Air Force capabilities to improve and augment the urban transportation and distribution infrastructure. Air Force units can repair or improve airfields, revitalize civil aviation maintenance facilities, manage air-delivered cargo, and control civil and military air traffic. These latter capabilities particularly enhance urban stability operations and support operations. These capabilities may even be decisive. Air-delivered cargo and air traffic management, for example, were the decisive factors in US forces' successful resistance of the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948. In OPERATION RESTORE HOPE, from December 1992 to May 1993, Air Force operations in Mogadishu were critical to airlifting and staging supplies and forces. The Air Force determined the ultimate success of the humanitarian assistance operation (see the Somalia vignette in Appendix C).
D-11. In unique situations, such as the Berlin Blockade and OPERATION RESTORE HOPE, exercising Air Force urban capabilities may be the decisive action of the operation. Air Force capabilities will play a shaping role, sustaining role, or both in joint urban operations because of the requirement to occupy terrain and interface with the population.
D-12. The Marine Corps can assault across water obstacles into a defended urban environment. This capability is an invaluable tactical and operational tool. The mere threat of this capability can divert many enemy forces from other avenues of approach and obscure the true nature of an attack. The impact of the threat of amphibious assault was vividly demonstrated during OPERATION DESERT STORM where embarked Marine Forces diverted several Iraqi divisions to defensive positions along the coast and near Kuwait City.
D-13. The presence of Marine amphibious equipment, apart from Marine infantry, provides Army forces unique capabilities. In UO, the amphibious operation is often not an assault from the sea, but rather an assault river crossing. In 1950, the 7th US Infantry Division used amphibious tractor support from the 1st Marine Division to conduct an assault river crossing of the Han River into downtown Seoul.
D-14. The worldwide deployment of Marine air-ground task forces (MAGTFs) enables a short notice response into any urban areas accessible from the sea. Typically, a deployed MAGTF is a Marine expeditionary unit (special operations capable) (MEU[SOC]). The MEU(SOC) can perform forcible entry operations, seize lodgments, and may execute these tasks anticipating reinforcement by Army or joint forces. They are also well positioned and equipped to rapidly reinforce Army forces already deployed in theater. The special-operations-capable training that these units accomplish before deploying includes urban warfare training and contributes to their value in UO. The MEU(SOC) is relatively small (its core unit is a Marine infantry battalion), is forward deployed, and has a wide spectrum of organic capabilities. It is an important asset in crisis stability operations and support operations.
D-15. The Marine expeditionary brigade is the MAGTF between a MEU and a Marine expeditionary force (the largest MAGTF). All MAGTFs include an aviation combat element, which is particularly skilled at providing accurate and timely close air support. The responsiveness and accuracy of Marine close air support aptly suits it to UO where the lethality of combat and the close range of engagements demand accurate and responsive fires (see FM 3-31.1).
D-16. Marine forces that conduct UO work well in littoral urban areas because of their unique relationship with naval forces and thus their capability to closely integrate land and sea operations. A supporting arms liaison team may be attached to Army forces at battalion level to provide ship-to-shore communications and coordination for naval gunfire support.
D-17. Many major urban areas are accessible from the sea. Army commanders understand how sea power can influence and support UO. The Navy brings several major capabilities to UO. These include naval gunfire support, naval air support, and port and coastal security.
D-18. Naval surface fire support (which includes naval gunfire support) particularly applies to forcible entry operations in littoral urban areas. It provides an initial indirect fire support capability until Army forces land ashore. However, naval gunfire support lacks a precision munitions capability. In defensive operations, naval gunfire support can also add major fires, especially during retrograde operations through an urban area. Naval gunfire support of the 3rd Infantry Division was the primary fire support for the last two days of the X Corps retrograde operation out of the port of Hungnam, North Korea, in December 1950.
D-19. Destroyers and cruisers, which mount the 127mm MK45 lightweight gun system (see Figure D-2), usually provide naval gunfire support. This gun system can provide a rate of fire of 16-20 rounds per minute per gun to a range of approximately 23 kilometers. Naval air support, based on the highly mobile aircraft carrier battle group, can provide highly responsive full-spectrum aviation support to UO in most major urban areas. This alleviates the need for fixed-wing aviation bases.
D-20. Due to its flat trajectory, terrain masking affects naval gunfire more than field artillery. Naval gunfire also results in large range probable errors (the dispersion pattern of the naval gun is roughly elliptical with the long axis in the direction of fire). Hence, coverage of targets such as roads and airfields is most effective when the gun-target line (GTL) coincides with the long axis of the target. Very close supporting fire can be delivered when the GTL is parallel to the front line of troops. Oppositely, a GTL perpendicular to the front trace can endanger friendly forces. Within the limits of hydrographic conditions, the ship can maneuver to achieve a better GTL, but ship movement also makes it difficult to adjust fire. Overall, naval and air threats, bad weather, and large range probable errors make naval gunfire difficult and can cause cancellation of supporting fires.
D-21. Water terminals located in urban areas are usually the debarkation points for the bulk of Army forces as well as a joint force theater logistics requirement. Army forces are responsible for water terminal operations while naval capabilities protect these strategic and operationally vital facilities.
D-22. Naval coastal warfare (NCW) is the responsibility of the JFC and is often exercised through the Navy component commander. He may assign a naval coastal warfare commander for an appropriate geographic area. NCW includes coastal sea control, port security, and harbor defense. While coastal sea control is conducted in the environment of the open seas, port security and harbor security include the urban environment. Port security is the safeguarding of vessels, harbors, ports, waterfront facilities, and cargo from internal threats. It includes destruction, loss, or injury from sabotage or other subversive acts; accidents; thefts; or other causes of similar nature. The Navy's role in protecting essential urban infrastructure is often key. This task is also important when executing stability operations or support operations if the threats against urban infrastructure will likely be unconventional.
D-23. Harbor defense protects harbor approaches, harbors, anchorages, and ports from external threats. Harbor defense focuses on the conventional defense of port infrastructure. It is a task appropriate in a MTW scenario and often includes port security as a subtask. The JFC executes NCW (focused on harbor defense and port security) using combined Navy capabilities including surface warfare, aviation, and naval special operations. See also discussions in this appendix on transportation command and special operations command.
D-24. The Coast Guard, like the Navy, can significantly influence the conduct of UO when the urban area is accessible from the sea. The US Coast Guard (USCG) is the federal authority for port security and harbor defense of domestic facilities. When directed by the President, the USCG can augment the Navy in operations overseas. Historically, the entire USCG was under Navy control during both World Wars I and II. USCG elements deployed overseas and operated under Navy control during the Vietnam War and during OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.
D-25. The USCG uses surface warfare systems and aerial reconnaissance systems to conduct its missions. Its air systems are unarmed, whereas its surface systems are armed for self-defense and law enforcement operations. The USCG is experienced and adept at supporting other agencies, local governments, and law enforcement. Its capabilities can best support Army UO in stability operations or support operations or the stability and support aspects of an operation. The USCG works effectively against an unconventional threat and threats with on-water capability.
D-26. Three commands provide urban functional combatant command capabilities. Transportation Command works for the Department of Defense. Space Command integrates several agencies. Special Operations Command uses special operations forces.
D-27. US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) provides strategic air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense to deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy US military forces worldwide. USTRANSCOM provides global transportation management, using an integrated transportation system across the spectrum of operations through its transportation component commands (TCCs). The TCC consists of Air Mobility Command (AMC), Military Sealift Command (MSC), and Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC).
D-28. During urban operations, USTRANSCOM, through its TCC, can provide common-user terminal services in support of strategic transportation movements to a theater of operations. AMC provides common-user airlift, air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation services. It is the worldwide aerial port manager and, where designated, the operator of common-user aerial ports of embarkation and aerial ports of debarkation. MSC provides common-user sealift services between seaports of embarkation (SPOEs) and seaports of debarkation (SPODs). MTMC provides common-user ocean terminal service and, where designated, serves as the single port manager at SPOEs and SPODs. The urban transport system, in the form of railheads, ports, and airfields, is integral to many urban operations across the spectrum of Army operations and often the objective of Army UO. Army forces planning, preparing, and executing urban operations engage the supported geographic commander of a combatant command or his component commands in all aspects of conducting UO when the objective is transport related.
D-29. In offensive operations, commanders use transportation expertise to identify the urban transportation infrastructure (both the terrain and social [human] aspects) that is secured or that can affect current and future operations. This analysis also includes second- and third-order support systems. USTRANSCOM is consulted regarding the degree of acceptable damage that the system can sustain and still meet mission requirements. During execution, USTRANSCOM units may integrate into the operation so they can begin operating the transportation systems as early as possible. During the Inchon landing of September 1950, Army forces had begun rail operations on D+1 and port operations under way by D+3 of the forcible entry.
D-30. In defensive or stability operations, USTRANSCOM units safeguard and prevent disruption of the transport system by the conduct of defensive operations or stability tasks. USTRANSCOM advises Army commanders of the impact of defensive tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) on USTRANSCOM operations as well as security requirements for USTRANSCOM facilities. The JFC provides guidance to deconflict any issues that may arise from these potentially divergent missions and tasks.
D-31. Support UO, particularly in foreign humanitarian relief operations, often rely on USTRANSCOM to establish terminal operations and the tempo of transportation flow into a theater. The Army forces' planning, preparation, and execution of tasks, such as security and distribution actions in the area, support the geographic combatant commander's validated movement plan.
D-32. The United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) is the combatant command that integrates and synchronizes space capabilities to ensure their most effective use. USSPACECOM operates assigned space forces through its service component commands: US Army Space Command, Naval Space Command, and 14th Air Force (the Air Force space component).
D-33. Space systems offer global coverage and potential for real-time and near real-time support to military operations. Space systems are unconstrained by political boundaries. Commanders can use space systems during peacetime or times of crisis to monitor an urban area before inserting friendly forces. Space forces support Army UO through space force enhancement operations that provide products and services to multiply Army force effectiveness. Space support teams may assist both Army and JTF commanders to leverage system capabilities to facilitate planning and executing space operations.
D-34. Space systems enhance operations and assist commanders in overcoming some of the physical challenges of the urban environment. These enhancement operations include ISR; positioning and navigation; environmental monitoring; and communications. Space-based imagery and sensors are important ISR capabilities that contribute to situational understanding throughout the depth, breadth, and height of the urban area. ISR systems can provide route and target information for mission planning, locate presurveyed missile launch sites, detect camouflage, assess threat operations and movements, and warn of hostile acts and reconnaissance. Positioning and navigation systems also assist situational understanding through links to digital information systems (INFOSYS) while assisting tactical navigation in ambiguous terrain found in some urban areas. These enhancements can include precise location and position information for urban fires, ingress and egress routes, and rendezvous coordination. Environmental monitoring systems can provide weather and ionospheric information needed to assess weapon selection, air routes, ground and water trafficability, and communications. Communications systems provide secure, survivable links between elements of Army and joint forces to disseminate plans, orders, and warnings. These systems may form a critical link in the INFOSYS that transmit data to assessment centers and intelligence to key decisionmakers. However, some of the same environmental influences and degradation as ground-based systems may affect space-based systems.
D-35. US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) exercises combatant command of all active and reserve special operations forces stationed in the United States. USSOCOM also provides trained and combat-ready special operations forces (SOF) to the geographic combatant commanders and, when directed by the President or the secretary of defense, command designated special operations.
D-36. SOF provide commanders with capabilities critical to success in the urban environment. The density of this environment in both space and time requires the careful integration of SOF and conventional forces. Army forces conducting UO have a clear and unambiguous command and control (C2) relationship with the SOF in the urban area to ensure coordination, massing of effects, and unity of effort.
D-37. Each service has unique special operations (SO) capabilities. For example, SOF can identify and seize or destroy key terrain or infrastructure in denied areas; secure or capture key personnel; counter urban insurgencies; and conduct unconventional warfare in enemy-held urban areas. SOF can also emplace sensors, provide clandestine intelligence collection, and provide target acquisition information in the highly restrictive terrain of the urban environment. In multinational UO, they can provide coalition support teams with trained, culturally aware, language proficient, military liaison personnel with organic communications connectivity. Army leaders understand the SO capabilities available to ensure that they request the right support for Army UO and to ensure unity of effort within the urban JOA.
D-38. The Army provides five types of SOF units to USSOCOM. Two of these, PSYOP and civil affairs, are discussed in Chapter 4.
D-39. Ranger Forces. The US Army 75th Ranger Regiment can rapidly deploy light infantry forces from company through regimental size. Rangers specialize in direct action (DA) SO missions and focus on airfield seizure and raids. Typically, Ranger units turn over their objectives to conventional units upon mission completion. The Ranger DA capability especially applies to UO because of the many critical infrastructures that often prompt Army forces to engage in UO. Ranger capabilities are ideal for seizing critical facilities to preempt their defense or destruction. The size and combat power of Ranger units permit execution of offensive and defensive operations against enemy conventional units for periods of limited duration; austere combat service support capabilities limit the Ranger regiment's ability to sustain combat action without extensive augmentation.
D-40. Special Forces. US Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) trains and prepares Army Special Forces (SF) to deploy and execute operational requirements for geographic combatant commanders. SF units are small and capable of extended operations in remote and hostile locations. SF units execute seven basic missions: foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, counterproliferation, special reconnaissance (SR), DA, combatting terrorism, and information operations. Important collateral activities consist of coalition support, combat search and rescue, counterdrug activities, humanitarian demining activities, humanitarian assistance, security assistance, and special activities.
D-41. SR, DA, and coalition support are particularly important in UO. SF units may physically penetrate an urban area to conduct SR to determine threat strengths, dispositions, and intentions. In some situations, SF units, due to their language and cultural training, can gather accurate information regarding the disposition and attitudes of the population. SF special reconnaissance can also determine or verify the functional status of urban infrastructure as well as conduct target acquisition, area assessment, and poststrike reconnaissance.
D-42. SF teams can execute terminal guidance or control operations for Army and joint precision fires. Although these teams possess limited organic combat power for their short-duration, DA missions, they can bring significant effects to bear against high-payoff targets. Yet, SF units have no capability to conduct a sustained defense of such targets.
D-43. SF units can advise, train, and assist urban indigenous movements already in existence to conduct unconventional warfare and possibly accompany these groups into combat. The upsurge in urban insurgency and terrorism has caused worldwide concern since it is not confined to developing countries. Present day dissident groups are well aware of this situation. These groups realize that to be successful, they must center the insurgent activities on the major cities or political center of their countries.
D-44. Special Operations Aviation Forces. Army special operations aviation provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment operates primarily to support SO missions. They execute insertion, extraction, and resupply missions to support SO. Similar to conventional aviation, this capability may be more vulnerable to concealed air defenses when operating over hostile or unsecured urban terrain than in many other environments.
Air Force SOF
D-47. The Air Force has two primary SOF elements: special operations air units and special tactics units.
D-48. Special Air Wings. Air Force special operations aviation elements operate both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft (C-130 variants, MH-60, and MH-53). The air elements perform various missions including rotary-wing refueling, single aircraft penetration, close air support of SOF ground elements, PSYOP support, aerial insertion of ground SOF, electronic warfare, and aerial C2 support.
D-49. The AC-130 U and H model aircraft (see Figure D-4) are designed specifically to provide close air support to ground SOF. They are armed with one 40mm autocannon and one 105mm howitzer. The AC-130 U is also armed with one 25mm autocannon. This aircraft has night capability and is extremely accurate. Its fires are responsive and can be decisive in close urban combat. Its cannon and howitzer are accurate enough to concentrate fire onto a single spot to create a rooftop breach that allows fire to be directed deep into the building. The AC-130 is very vulnerable to air defense systems, which friendly forces must suppress or destroy to effectively use this system. (During OPERATION DESERT STORM in 1991, an AC-130 was shot down over Kuwait.)
D-50. Special Tactics Forces. Air Force special tactics forces consist of special tactics teams (STTs) and special operations weather teams (SOWTs). Combat controllers and pararescue personnel comprise STTs. STTs are specially tailored to meet mission criteria and may vary from a small three-man team to a larger twenty-five-man element. STTs support the UO Army commanders by-
SOWTs are normally attached to Army SOF to provide weather observation and limited tactical forecasting.
D-51. Army UO in foreign urban areas will often be joint and likely have a multinational component. When properly executed, integrating multinational forces into UO greatly enhances the operation's military (as well as political) effectiveness. Properly integrating multinational forces into UO requires a thorough understanding of both the urban environment and the nature of individual national forces. This understanding includes the political, cultural, and historical characteristics of the other national forces. Such understanding also includes the national force's doctrine and military capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. In UO, these considerations are critical because these factors will alter the urban population's attitude toward multinational forces and the behavior of such forces as they interact with the urban population. Combining this understanding with effective C2 and an equal assessment of the urban environment results in effective multinational UO (see FM 100-8).
D-52. When evaluating and assigning UO tasks, Army commanders also consider the degree of interaction with the civilian population. A national force from a Muslim-majority country may work better with a civilian population that is also Muslim than a force having a different religion. In such a situation, the national force with the same religion as the urban population may be assigned tasks that require close relations with civilians. Army forces, in this situation, may be assigned tasks that are more remote from the population. National forces that have a national history of animosity to the civil population (or that sympathize with antagonists within the civilian population) are not used in tasks requiring diplomacy and close cooperation with the civilians or government.
D-53. Army forces are responsible to understand the military capabilities of national forces with which they work. Some national forces, as part of their normal capabilities, are adept at police functions that enable them to operate with little training in a law enforcement role. Other national forces specialize in small-unit, light infantry patrolling. These forces may be ideal in a stability operation. In contrast, a national force comprised of conscripts and trained primarily in conventional warfare techniques may best work as a reinforcing force or may require extensive training before mission execution in an urban environment or a stability situation. Army commanders also consider the type of weapon systems with which participating multinational forces are equipped; they may be more or less effective in an urban environment. For example, some countries may still possess the Vulcan antiaircraft gun system (or similar weapon) that can be very useful in urban offensive and defensive operations.
D-54. Logistically, agreement among the multinational forces should include support consolidation whenever possible. Creating a multinational logistics office works best when accomplished early. This office can coordinate local contracts as well as already agreed upon host-nation support. This coordination among participating nations will reduce the competition for local assets that could otherwise have detrimental effects on one or more participating nations.
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