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Chapter 4

Contemplating Urban Operations

16We 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

A major operation ...In any potential situation and in any area, Army commanders will likely need to assess the relevance 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 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
      Force Strength
      Type of Forces
      Munitions and Equipment
      Collateral Damage
      Time and Momentum
      Consider Alternatives and Risk,
          Reduction Measures
Characteristics of Major Urban Operations
      Full Spectrum
Integration into Land Operations
      Concept of the Operation
      Rules of Engagement
      Resource Allocation
      Urban ISR
      Information Operations
      Integration of Conventinal and
          Special Operations Forces
      Coordination with Other Agencies




Figure 4-1. Risk Management and the Risks Associated with Urban Operations4-1. Early in planning, commanders of a major operation address the necessity of conducting operations in urban areas located throughout their areas of operations (AOs). Chapter 1 discussed strategic and operational considerations that compel forces to operate in urban areas. These reasons include the location of the threat force; critical infrastructure or capabilities that are operationally or strategically valuable; the geographic location of an urban area; and the area's political, economic, or cultural significance. Several considerations exist, that may make UO unnecessary, unwarranted, 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 highlight some measures to evaluate the risks associated with UO.



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.



4-3. Along with force strength, commanders consider the type of forces available. This consideration includes an assessment of their level of training 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 operations 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.



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 tactical 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 population, 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 decision-making process. If commanders assess the casualty risk as high, they ensure that their higher headquarters understands their assessment and that the objectives sought within the urban area are commensurate with the anticipated risk.



4-7. Offensive and defensive operations in an urban environment put a premium on certain types of munitions and equipment. Forces may want to use vast amounts of precision munitions in the urban environment. At the tactical 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).



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 infrastructure 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 collateral 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 sufficient magnitude may justify avoiding UO, which, though it may be tactically successful, may run counter to national and strategic objectives.



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 additional time to conduct a thorough reconnaissance, and the additional stress and physical exertion imposed on Army forces operating in urban areas consume 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, or delay the overall operation. Threat forces may conduct UO with the primary purpose of causing these effects. Commanders should avoid or minimize UO that might delay or disrupt a larger operation to an unacceptable degree.



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 potential for urban fratricide. Therefore, commanders increase emphasis on fratricide 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 measures; 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.



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 destabilizing. This consideration may limit or altogether preclude UO using Army forces.



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 objective 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 barriers 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 satisfactorily control UO and minimize fratricide without unreasonably restricting subordinate commanders' ability to accomplish assigned missions.

  • Proper targeting procedures (including effective fire support coordinating measures and a streamlined legal review of targets), positive identification of targets, and controlled clearance of fires. The goal is achievement of precise (yet rapid) effects with both lethal and nonlethal means.

  • Well-synchronized information operations (IO) that begin before introducing Army forces into the urban environment and well through transition. Commanders emphasize vigilant operations security (OPSEC) particularly when operating closely with nongovernmental organizations (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.




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). 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.

Figure 4-2. Organization of Historic Joint Urban Operations


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.



4-18. Army forces will conduct the full range of operations across the spectrum of conflict within urban areas. The situation will mandate that one type of operation—offense, defense, stability, or support— dominates the urban operation. However, commanders will often find themselves executing all types of operations-often simultaneously. The mission determines the dominant type of operation, with the other types of Army operations conducted to shape the AO for mission success.



4-19. Against a large conventional enemy in a major urban area with a large civil population present, offensive operations require the greatest commitment 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 initiative or raids to eliminate elements disrupting the stability operation.



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 protect essential facilities in the urban area, protect flanks against counterattack, 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.



4-21. Stability operations in an urban environment require offensive, defensive, and support operations, combined with other tasks unique to each stability 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 require 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 support operations, such as distributing food or aid and protecting or assisting agencies conducting economic or humanitarian activities.



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.



4-23. 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 subordinates. 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).



4-24. The commander's concept of the operation should address all operationally 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.



4-25. National- or joint-level command authorities may develop urban-specific ROE. If not, Army commanders, as part of their assessment, determine if urban-specific ROE are required for their situation and provide supplemental 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 understanding 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), significant 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 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 preparation, 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 sensitive 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 construction. 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 consolidation of noncombatants into controlled, safe areas may result in less restrictive ROE. An allied population that remains in the urban area conducting 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.



4-33. 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. Intelligence 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 operation coordinate with the JFC regarding available joint resources and their allocation. They then ensure that their efforts coordinate with and complement those of tactical Army forces in the urban area. Appendix D discusses the potential contribution of joint capabilities to Army UO.



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 exception. Military operations or natural disasters can change physical characteristics 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 operations 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).



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 capabilities. 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 capability 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 penetrate 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.

4-40. 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 tactical 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 environment is much less than in many other environments.

4-41. Human Capabilities. The limits on imagery and electronic ISR capabilities place a premium on human-based visual reconnaissance. Commanders have three types of human reconnaissance assets to augment electronic reconnaissance resources: special reconnaissance, conventional combat reconnaissance, and human intelligence (HUMINT) gathered by military intelligence from individuals. The urban environment poses several challenges 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 positions 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 communicate 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 positioning systems.

  • Changes to the landscape due to the effects of UO or natural disasters.

  • Featureless shantytowns.

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 information regarding the situation inside an urban area. HUMINT may take advantage 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 infrastructure functions. Obtaining good HUMINT requires skilled interrogators and linguists. Commanders know and account for some of the possible shortcomings 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


Figure 4-3. Urban ISR Considerations4-47. 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 operational and tactical needs of the commander (see Figure 4-3).

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.

4-49. Limited national, strategic, and operational imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signals 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 reconnaissance 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.

4-51. As conventional combat forces prepare to commit to the urban area, conventional reconnaissance precedes their actions. Conventional reconnaissance 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 capabilities will each contribute pieces of relevant information to permit identifying operational objectives and leveraging tactical combat power to achieve those objectives quickly. Higher-level commanders know that tactical reconnaissance 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 vulnerable to SIGINT and IMINT.

4-54. Diverse capabilities also facilitate the tactical ISR effort. Tactical reconnaissance 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 reconnaissance 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 incrementally 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 reconnaissance 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. Essential 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 complementary and that the information flow between these levels is rapid. Horizontal 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 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 operations. 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 executing 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 commanders. 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.



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 environment, particularly the human component, uniquely relates to executing IO.

Figure 4-4. IO Elements and Related Activities4-62. IO are executed using core and supporting elements and related activities (see Figure 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 following sections outline some IO considerations unique to urban operations.

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 violating 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, particularly 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 procedures (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.

4-66. The positive influence created by PSYOP is often essential to developing an effective HUMINT capability particularly in an urban area where many civilians actively or passively support the threat. Persuading and influencing 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. Commanders continually evaluate the results of PSYOP for mission relevance.



4-68. Because propaganda is aimed at both combatants and noncombatants, UO are especially concerned with its use. Propaganda can rapidly and dramatically 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 differential necessary to achieve success. Commanders tailor urban deception plans to the specific urban area, paying close attention to the societal characteristics 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 opportunities 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 discriminate 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.

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 communications 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 electronic means. However, it is more likely that communications-electronics operating instructions authentication tables will authenticate the information. 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.



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. Counterdeception 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 indicators 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.



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 reconnaissance, and escape under the concealment of the urban terrain and population.

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 favorable 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


17Napoleon 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 elements 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 established 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 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.


Figure 4-5. Public Affairs Principles4-83. 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 environment. However, the principles of "practice security at the source," and "truth is paramount" particularly apply to the urban environment. The compartmented 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.



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 conventional 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 environments. Overall, the nature of the environment demands a synergistic combination 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 command and control. Therefore, the commander of the major operation responsible 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 coordination elements include boundaries, no-fire areas, coordination points, and requirements 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 with the SOF units operating in their AOs. It primarily deconflicts conventional 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 integration 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.



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 intensive. 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 operations and support operations where combat operations are not the dominant characteristic of the operation. CMOCs can be established at all levels of command. Hence, more than one CMOC may exist in an AO, particularly large 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 redundancy, 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 critical to mission success. Together they work to rapidly establish unity of effort and maintain coordination, often before a CMOC is established. The additional 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 organizations.


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