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Chapter 8

Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations

34The Rangers were bound by strict rules of engagement. They were to shoot only at someone who pointed a weapon at them, but already this was unrealistic. It was clear they were being shot at, and down the street they could see Somalis with guns. But those guns were intermingled with the unarmed, including women and children. The Somalis were strange that way. Most noncombatants who heard gunshots and explosions would flee. Whenever there was a disturbance in Mogadishu, people would throng to the spot. . . . Rangers peering down their sights silently begged the gawkers to get the hell out of the way.

Black Hawk Down

The fundamental shared aims between stability operations and support operations and any operation conducted in an urban environment are the increased significance and influence of the civil population and nonmilitary organizations. Often, no military victory is to be achieved. The center of gravity for these operations normally cannot be attacked through military means alone; the Army (and the military in general) is often but one tool supporting a larger, civil-focused effort. Without a tightly coordinated civil-military effort, success will be difficult or impossible to achieve. Commanders who can understand and cope with the complexities of stability operations and support operations gain insights that directly apply to executing any urban operation. Urban stability operations and support operations may complement urban offensive and defensive operations, or may dominate the overall operation. Army forces may need to conduct offensive and defensive operations to defend themselves or destroy urban threats seeking to prevent the decisive stability or support mission. During hostilities, urban stability operations may keep armed conflict from spreading, encourage coalition and alliance partners, and secure the civilian population's support in unstable urban areas (and the surrounding rural areas under their influence). Following hostilities, urban stability operations may provide a secure environment for civil authorities to rebuild. Urban support operations can range from transporting, feeding, and sheltering the population made homeless as a result of combat operations or natural disasters to providing medical care during urban counterinsurgency operations.

Purpose of Urban Stability Operations
         and Support Operations
Characteristics of Urban Stability
         Operations and Support Operations
Urban Stability Operations, Suport
         Operations, and Battlefield Organization
      Decisive Operations
      Shaping Operations
      Sustaining Operations
Types and Forms of Stability Operations
         and Support Operations
      Stability Operations
      Support Operations
Considerations of Urban Stability Operations
         and Support Operations




8-1. Army forces conduct stability operations and support operations to deter war, resolve conflict, promote peace, strengthen democratic processes, retain United States (US) influence or access abroad, assist US civil authorities, and support moral and legal imperatives. Stability operations promote and sustain regional and global stability. In contrast, support operations meet the urgent needs of designated groups, for a limited time, until civil authorities can accomplish these tasks without military assistance. Nearly every urban operation will involve some type or form of stability operation or support operation combined and sequenced with offensive and defensive operations.



Figure 8-1. Characteristics of Stability Operations and Support Operations8-2. Worldwide urbanization, migration trends from rural to urban areas, and more centralized populations in urban areas increase the chance that Army forces will conduct stability operations and support operations in or near urban areas. Simply put, many people live in urban areas, and their welfare will be the primary reason for conducting these operations. Urban areas that serve as economic and government centers (the ideal location for US and allied embassies) are often the focal point for many threat activities. Therefore, Army forces may need to conduct stability operations in these cities to counter those threats. Additionally, urban areas may contain the resources and infrastructure to support both types of operations, regardless of whether the overall focus is in urban or rural areas. Repairing or restoring the infrastructure may be a critical task in accomplishing a support mission. Supported governmental and nongovernmental agencies are not as logistically self-sufficient as the Army. As such, these agencies may need to center their operations in and around urban areas to use the area's infrastructure to support themselves and their objectives. These agencies may require military protection to accomplish their missions. Figure 8-1 lists some defining characteristics of these wide-ranging operations.

8-3. Stability operations and support operations are diverse, varied in duration, unilateral or multinational, and domestic or foreign. Like all urban operations (UO), they are usually joint. Unlike urban offensive and defensive operations, they are more often interagency operations and require more restrictive rules of engagement (ROE). The multiplicity of actors involved usually increases the scope and scale of required coordination and communication. In urban stability operations or support operations, adverse conditions arising from natural or man-made disasters or other endemic conditions-such as human suffering, disease, violations of human rights, or privation-will significantly modify the urban environment. Unresolved political issues and tenuous agreements, difficulties discriminating combatants from noncombatants or between parties of a dispute, and the absence of basic law and order all serve to complicate an already complex and uncertain environment. Civil-military and legal considerations take on added significance in all urban operations (see Civil-Military Operations and Legal Support in Chapter 9), but even more so in urban stability operations and support operations. Finally, recognizing and achieving the desired end state is often more difficult than in offensive and defensive operations.

8-4. Overall, commanders of major operations involving urban stability operations and support operations do not expect clear guidance. They learn, adapt, and live with ambiguity. They cannot expect to operate in a political vacuum (even commanders at the tactical level) and do not expect an easily identifiable enemy located across a clearly demarcated line. In fact in many peace operations, commanders and their soldiers resist the need to have an enemy-difficult at best when one side or another (or both) may be sniping at them. They also expect changing and additional missions and tasks, without being allowed to use every means at their disposal to carry out those missions. Many tasks required may be ones for which their units have never, or rarely, trained. Finally, commanders expect to show restraint with a keen sensitivity to political considerations and to alien cultures, either or both of which they might find confusing or even repugnant.



8-5. Each type of urban stability operation or support operation is distinct. These operations differ even more when applied to a specific urban area. Due to the complexity of the environment, commanders carefully arrange their forces and operations according to purpose, time, and space to accomplish the mission. In most UO the terrain, the dense population (military and civilian), and the participating organizations will further complicate this arrangement.



8-6. In urban stability operations, decisive operations may take many years and include multiple actions before achieving the desired end state. This particularly applies to the strategic and operational levels. Oppositely, decisive operations involved in an urban support operation for mitigating or reducing disease, hunger, privation, and the effects of disasters normally achieve faster results. However, an operation that attacks the underlying cause and seeks to prevent or relieve such conditions is more a stability operation than a support operation and will usually take longer. In urban areas, establishing law and order to protect critical infrastructure and the inhabitants from lawlessness and violence is often critical and often the decisive operation.



8-7. Shaping operations establish and maintain the conditions for executing decisive operations. In urban stability operations and support operations, shaping operations always include information operations (IO) that influence perceptions and maintain legitimacy. Often, various participants, and their potentially divergent missions and methods, are involved. Army commanders coordinate their planning and efforts (early and continuously) to ensure that their decisive, shaping, or sustaining operations are not working against other agencies' efforts and operations-agencies that may have the lead role in the operation. Thus, a critical shaping operation may be to establish the coordination to help develop a common purpose and direction among agencies. In some instances and with some organizations and agencies, particularly nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), genuine unity of effort may not be achievable; however, recognizing the differences in aims and goals will allow Army commanders to conduct operations with less friction. Commanders include NGOs and appropriate governmental agencies in mission readiness exercises or any other training for stability operations or support operations.



8-8. Sustaining operations enable decisive and shaping operations and include combat service support, rear area and base security, movement control, terrain management, and infrastructure development. Sustainment bases, especially those located in urban areas, become an attractive target for hostile civilians; therefore, commanders actively and aggressively protect these bases as well as lines of communications (see Chapter 9).



8-9. Figure 8-2 defines stability operations and support operations and lists their subordinate types and forms. If necessary, commanders can refer to FM 3-07 to develop a more detailed understanding of the specifics of these diverse operations.

Figure 8-2. Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations
Figure 8-2. Urban Stability Operations and Support Operations



8-10. Urban areas will be decisive to accomplishing many types of stability operations because urban areas are the centers of population, culture, economy, and government. Much of the support provided by Army forces will aim to assist local, regional, or national governments. Their location (urban areas) will, by necessity, be a dominating factor in accomplishing the mission. As importantly, many stability operations-enforcing peace in Bosnia for example-will require interacting, influencing, controlling, or protecting all or parts of the civilian population. Assessing, understanding, and gaining the support of civilians in key economic, cultural, or political urban areas may influence surrounding regions (smaller urban areas and the rural countryside) and may be decisive to achieving stability objectives. Finally, the support and assistance that Army forces will provide is only temporary although often of long duration. Commanders execute operations with that thought always in mind. Eventually, the government and administration secure and support their population by themselves.



8-11. Support operations consist of domestic support and foreign humanitarian assistance operations. They can occur in a foreign urban environment as a result of military operations affecting the infrastructure or from a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. Support operations can also occur domestically when a natural or man-made emergency overwhelms local resources. Such a situation could result from a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) incident, hurricane, flood, or civil disturbance in a domestic urban area.

8-12. CBRNE incidents are disastrous. In urban areas, the potential for catastrophic loss of life and property is enormous. The Army categorizes CBRNE incidents separately from other natural and man-made disasters because it has specific expertise with these weapons. CBRNE incidents usually result from a military or terrorist threat (adding a law enforcement dimension to the disaster).

8-13. Subways and other subsurface areas offer ideal areas for limited chemical or biological attacks. Nuclear attack (and high-yield explosives) can produce tragic results due to the effects of collapsing structures, flying debris, and fires. Dispersion patterns are affected by the urban terrain and are more difficult to predict and monitor. Large-scale incidents may produce hundreds of thousands of casualties, but even a limited attack may require evacuating and screening large numbers of civilians. Requirements for medical support, basic life support, and, if necessary, decontamination may quickly overwhelm the Army force's capabilities even with augmentation.

8-14. Panic and disorder may accompany the event. Fleeing civilians may clog elements of the transportation and distribution infrastructure. Physical destruction may also affect other components of the infrastructure of critical and immediate concern, such as energy and administration and human services (water, sanitation, medical, fire fighting, and law enforcement). Because all elements of the infrastructure may be affected, the overall recovery time may be lengthened and the effects broadened to include much of the surrounding area. The effects of a single urban CBRNE event potentially could be felt nationally or globally.


35Baron de Jomini

8-15. The urban operational framework (assess, shape, dominate, and transition) provides a structure for developing considerations unique to urban stability operations and support operations. Many considerations presented in urban offensive and defensive operations apply to urban stability operations and support operations, particularly those that address how to assess the urban and overall operational environment. Because the situations in which stability operations and support operations normally occur share strong similarities with any urban environment, many of these considerations are closely linked to the urban fundamentals presented in Chapter 5. Taken together, commanders will often find them useful in conducting UO throughout the full range of operations and across the spectrum of conflict. Appendix C has a historical example of how to apply the urban operational framework to support operations and stability operations.



8-16. In urban stability operations and support operations, commanders carefully assess the political dimension of the operational environment, as well as their role and the media's part in managing information. These operations are inherently tied to the exercise of diplomatic power. All operations in urban areas are often the focus of the media and thus gain considerable public and political attention. Therefore, military objectives in urban stability operations and support operations are more directly linked with political objectives. The relationship between the levels of war-strategic, operational, and tactical-is often closer than in urban offensive and defensive operations. Military objectives are carefully nested within political objectives. Commanders ensure that the ways and means to accomplish their objectives, to include security and force protection measures, will hold up to media scrutiny and are appropriate for the situation and environment. All levels of command understand the link between political and military objectives, to include a basic understanding at the individual level. One uncoordinated, undisciplined, or inappropriate action, even at the lowest level, could negate months or years of previous, disciplined effort. Commanders balance security and force protection measures with mission accomplishment. Ineffective measures can put soldiers at too great a risk and jeopardize the mission. Conversely, overly stringent measures may make it difficult for forces to interact with the population closely-essential in many of these operations. Finally, commanders will need a thorough assessment of the governmental and nongovernmental organizations and agencies that will be operating in or near urban areas that fall within their area of operations.

Political and Military Objectives


USAID Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Response8-17. Commanders translate political objectives into military objectives that are clear and achievable (clear tasks and purposes) and can lead to the desired end state. Political objectives may be vague making it difficult for commanders to conduct their mission analysis. This applies to tactical- and even operational-level commanders, unskilled at higher level, strategic political-military assessments. Each type of stability operation or support operation is distinct, often unfamiliar to the executing unit, and unique to the specific situation. These factors often make it difficult to confidently determine the specific tasks that will lead to mission success. Therefore, commanders also establish measures of effectiveness that aid in understanding and measuring progress and help gauge mission accomplishment.

8-18. These criteria should be measurable (in some circumstances, a qualitative assessment may be most appropriate) and link cause with effect. They help determine the changes required and are essential to the assessment cycle required for urban stability operations and support operations. In a humanitarian relief operation to aid the starving, commanders could determine that the decisive effort is delivering safe food to the urban area. To judge success or effectiveness, they could determine that the measure is the number of food trucks dispatched daily to each distribution site; the more trucks, the more effective the efforts. However, this measure must correlate with the overarching measure of effectiveness: decline in the mortality rate. If no significant decrease in deaths due to starvation occurs, they may need to reassess and modify the tasks or measure of effectiveness. A better measure may be to track the amount of food consumed by those in need instead of simply counting the number of trucks dispatched.

8-19. However, planners also be wary of the unintended consequences of well-intentioned urban support operations. For example, providing free, safe food may alleviate starvation, but could also undercut the local agricultural system by reducing demand in the market. If the food is distributed through urban centers, urbanization could increase, further reducing the food supply and adding to the existing strains on the infrastructure. Areas around which measures of effectiveness can be formed for many stability operations and support operations (including the example above) and which will help return most societies to some degree of normalcy and self-sufficiency include:

  • Decreasing morbidity and mortality rates.

  • Securing safe food.

  • Resettling the population.

  • Reestablishing economic activity.

  • Restoring law and order.

Although not military in nature, commanders can often develop measures of effectiveness to address these areas in terms of providing security or logistics.

8-20. Political objectives are fluid and modified in response to new domestic and international events or circumstances. Thus, assessment is continuous, and commanders adjust their own objectives and subsequent missions accordingly. In urban stability operations and support operations, commanders often develop military objectives that support or align with the objectives of another agency that has overall responsibility for the urban operation. In this supporting role, commanders may receive numerous requests for soldier and materiel assistance from the supported agency and other supporting agencies operating in the urban area (to include elements of the urban population). With such unclear lines of authority and areas of responsibility, they ensure that the tasks, missions, or requested Army resources fall clearly in the intended scope and purpose of the Army's participation in the operation. They do not develop or execute missions based on inadequate or false assumptions, misinterpreted intent, or well-meaning but erroneously interpreted laws or regulations by any organization, to include even the lead agency. When missions appear outside their scope, commanders quickly relay their assessment to their higher headquarters for immediate resolution.

Security and Force Protection Measures


Security/Force Protection8-21. Commanders plan for and continually assess the security of their forces operating in an urban area as well as constantly review protection measures. Establishing a robust intelligence-particularly human intelligence (HUMINT)-network that can determine the intentions and capabilities of the threat and the urban populace is the basis for establishing force protection for Army forces operating in the urban environment. However, many such operations, particularly stability operations, require extra time to forge a lasting change. Over time, and particularly in peacetime when objectives center on helping others and avoiding violence, even the complex urban environment may seem benign. Without continued, aggressive command emphasis, soldiers may become lulled into complacency. It is usually then that Army forces are most vulnerable to terrorist tactics, such as bombings, kidnappings, ambushes, raids, and other forms of urban violence.

8-22. Although force protection will not ensure successful urban stability operations or support operations, improper assessment and inadequate force protection measures can cause the operation to fail. In either operation, keeping a neutral attitude toward all elements of the urban population, while maintaining the appropriate defensive posture, enhances security. One threat principle discussed in Chapter 3 was that threats would seek to cause politically unacceptable casualties. An improper threat assessment and a lapse in security at the tactical level could result in casualties. That result could affect strategy by influencing domestic popular support and subsequently national leadership decisions and policy.

8-23. Emphasizing security and force protection measures does not mean isolating soldiers from contact with the urban population. On the contrary, commanders balance survivability with mobility according to the factors of METT-TC-mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, civil considerations. Survivability measures-such as hardening or fortifying buildings and installations, particularly where large numbers of soldiers are billeted- may be required. On the other hand, mobility operations are essential in preserving freedom of action and denying a threat the opportunity to observe, plan, and attack urban forces. Mission degradation and increased risk to the force can result if force protection measures prevent Army forces from conducting prudent missions and establishing an active and capable presence.

36Assessment of Security and Force Protection
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Since 1969, Belfast has significantly affected the British military campaign for stabilizing the area. British operations in Belfast illustrate the difficulty of balancing the security and protecting forces with maintaining the stabilizing presence necessary to uphold law and order, minimize violence, and control the urban population.

British successes in protecting Belfast's infrastructure and government facilities from terrorist attacks compelled various terrorist cells, especially the Irish Republican Army and the Provisional Irish Republican Army, to attack more military targets. At the time, British soldiers and bases presented relatively unprotected targets to these factions, and attacks against them solidified their legitimacy as an "army." In response, British commanders implemented extreme security and force protection measures-from ballistic protection vests and helmets to fortress-like operational bases and large unit patrols. These protection measures

successfully decreased the violence against British soldiers in Belfast. However, they also decreased the soldiers' interaction with the population and their ability to stabilize the city. The large patrols, while protecting the soldiers, inhibited effective saturation of neighborhoods. These patrols, coupled with fortress-like bases and bulky protective clothing, created an "us-versus-them" mentality among civilians and soldiers.

As force protection increased and stabilizing effects decreased, the terrorists were provided more targets of opportunity among the civilians and infrastructure. British commanders reassessed the situation, identified this "see-saw" effect, and adapted to strike a better balance between force protection and effective presence patrols. For example, British forces switched to four-man patrols to enable greater mobility and wore berets instead of helmets to appear less aggressive.

Participating Organizations and Agencies


8-24. Across the spectrum of urban operations, but more so in these operations, numerous NGOs may be involved in relieving adverse humanitarian conditions. Dense populations and infrastructure make an urban area a likely headquarters location for them. In 1994 during OPERATION UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, for example, over 400 civilian agencies and relief organizations were operating in Haiti. Therefore, commanders assess all significant NGOs and governmental agencies operating (or likely to operate) in or near the urban area to include their-

  • Functions, purposes, or agendas.

  • Known headquarters and operating locations.

  • Leadership or senior points of contact (including telephone numbers).

  • Communications capabilities.

  • Potential as a source for critical information.

  • Financial abilities and constraints.

  • Logistic resources: transportation, energy and fuel, food and water, clothing and shelter, and emergency medical and health care services.

  • Law enforcement, fire fighting, and search and rescue capabilities.

  • Refugee services.

  • Engineering and construction capabilities.

  • Other unique capabilities or expertise.

  • Previous military, multinational, and interagency coordination experience and training.

  • Rapport with the urban population.

  • Relationship with the media.

  • Biases or prejudices (especially towards participating US or coalition forces, other civilian organizations, or elements of the urban society).

Commanders then seek to determine the resources and capabilities that these organizations may bring and the possible problem areas to include resources or assistance they will likely need or request from Army forces.



8-25. Commanders conduct many activities to shape the conditions for successful decisive operations. In urban stability operations and support operations, two rise to the forefront of importance: aggressive IO and security operations.

Vigorous Information Operations


8-26. IO, particularly psychological operations (PSYOP) and the related activities of civil affairs (CA) and public affairs, are essential to shape the urban environment for the successful conduct of stability operations and support operations. Vigorous IO can influence the perceptions, decisions, and will of the threat, the urban population, and other groups in support of the commander's mission. IO objectives are translated to IO tasks that are then executed to create the commander's desired effects in shaping the battlefield. These operations can isolate an urban threat from his sources of support; neutralize hostile urban populations or gain the support of neutral populations; and mitigate the effects of threat IO, misinformation, rumors, confusion, and apprehension.

Security Operations


8-27. Protecting Civilians. Security for NGOs and civilians may also be an important shaping operation, particularly for support operations. Commanders may need to provide security to civil agencies and NGOs located near or operating in the urban area so that these agencies can focus their relief efforts directly to the emergency. Commanders may also need to protect the urban population and infrastructure to maintain law and order if the urban area's security or police forces are nonexistent or incapacitated.

8-28. Preserving Resources. Just as forces are at risk during urban stability operations or support operations, so are their resources. In urban areas of great need, supplies and equipment are extremely valuable. Criminal elements, insurgent forces, and people in need may try to steal weapons, ammunition, food, construction material, medical supplies, and fuel. Protecting these resources may become a critical shaping operation. Otherwise, Army forces and supporting agencies may lack the resources to accomplish their primary objectives or overall mission.

Prioritize Resources and Efforts


8-29. Urban commanders will always face limited resources with which to shape the battlefield, conduct their decisive operations, and accomplish their objectives. They prioritize, allocate, and apply those resources to achieve the desired end state. Especially in urban support operations, they tailor their objectives and shape their operations to achieve the greatest good for the largest number. Commanders first apply the urban fundamental of preserving critical infrastructure to reduce the disruption to the residents' health and welfare. Second, they apply the urban fundamental of restoring essential services, which includes prioritizing their efforts to provide vital services for the greatest number of inhabitants possible.


37BG Frederick Funston

8-30. The focus of the Army is warfighting. Therefore, when Army commanders conduct many urban stability operations and support operations, they adjust their concept of what it means to dominate. Commanders will most often find themselves in a supporting role and less often responsible for conducting the decisive operations. They accept this supporting function and capitalize on the professional values instilled in each soldier, particularly the sense of duty to do what needs to be done despite difficulty, danger, and personal hardship. Commanders also put accomplishing the overall mission ahead of individual desires to take the lead—desire often fulfilled by being the supported rather than supporting commander. Success may be described as settlement rather than victory. Yet, the Army's professionalism and values-combined with inherent adaptability, aggressive coordination, perseverance, reasonable restraint, and resolute legitimacy-will allow Army forces to dominate during complex urban stability operations and support operations.



Figure 8-3. Adaptability8-31. Adaptability is critical to urban stability operations and support operations because these operations relentlessly present complex challenges to commanders for which no prescribed solutions exist. Commanders often lack the experience and training that provide the basis for creating the unique solutions required for these operations. Since the primary purpose for the Army is to fight and win the nation's wars, the challenge then is to adapt urban warfighting skills to the unique stability or support situation.

8-32. Doctrine (joint and Army) provides an inherent cohesion among the leaders of the Army and other services. Still, Army commanders conducting urban stability operations or support operations will often work with and support other agencies that have dissimilar purposes, methods, and professional languages. Army commanders then capitalize on three of the five doctrinal tenets of Army operations: initiative, agility, and versatility (see Figure 8-3 and FM 3-0). Commanders bend as each situation and the urban environment demands without losing their orientation. They thoroughly embrace the mission command philosophy of command and control addressed in Chapter 5 to encourage and allow subordinates to exercise creative and critical thinking required for planning and executing these UO.

Aggressive Coordination


8-33. In urban stability operations and support operations, the increased number of participants (both military and nonmilitary) and divergent missions and methods create a significant coordination challenge. Significant potential for duplicated effort and working at cross-purposes exists. The success of UO often depends on establishing a successful working relationship with all groups operating in the urban area. The absence of unity of command among civil and military organizations does not prevent commanders from influencing other participants not under his direct command through persuasion, good leadership, and innovative ideas.

38Support of and Coordination with Civilian Authorities:
The 1992 Los Angeles Riots

During the spring of 1992, soldiers from the 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard were among the forces deployed to Los Angeles County to assist the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriffs, and civilian law enforcement. They worked to quell the riots that were sparked by the "not guilty" verdicts concerning four police officers who, following a lengthy high-speed chase through Los Angeles, were accused of brutally beating Rodney King.

Successful accomplishment of this support operation was attributed to the exercise of strong Army leadership and judgment at lower tactical levels, particularly among the unit's noncommissioned officers. An essential component of combat power, it was especially critical in executing noncontiguous and decentralized operations in the compartmented terrain of Los Angeles. As important, however, was the clear understanding that Army forces were to support civilian law enforcement-and not the other way around. The 40th Infantry Division aligned its area of operations with local law enforcement boundaries and relied heavily on police recommendations for the level at which soldiers be armed (the need for magazines to be locked in weapons or rounds chambered).

One incident emphasized the need for coordination of command and control measures with civilian agencies even at the lowest tactical levels. To civilian law enforcement and Army forces, the command "Cover me" was interpreted the same: be prepared to shoot if necessary. However, when a police officer responding to a complaint of domestic abuse issued that command to an accompanying squad of Marines, they responded by immediately providing a supporting base of fire that narrowly missed some children at home. However, the Marines responded as they had been trained. This command meant something entirely different to them than for Army soldiers and civilian law enforcement. Again, coordination at all levels is critical to the success of the operation (see also the vignette in Appendix B).


8-34. In the constraints imposed by METT-TC and operations security (OPSEC), commanders seek to coordinate all tactical stability operations with other agencies and forces that share the urban environment. Commanders strive to overcome difficulties, such as mutual suspicion, different values and motivations, and varying methods of organization and execution. Frequently, they initiate cooperative efforts with participating civilian agencies and determine where their objectives and plans complement or conflict with those agencies. Commanders then match Army force capabilities to the needs of the supported agencies. In situations leading to many urban support operations, confusion may initially make it difficult to ascertain specific priority requirements. Reconnaissance and liaison elements-heavily weighted with CA and health support personnel-may need to be deployed first to determine what type of support Army forces provide. Overall, aggressive coordination will make unity of effort possible in urban stability operations or support operations where unity of command is difficult or impossible to achieve.



8-35. The society is a major factor responsible for increasing the overall duration of urban operations. This particularly applies to urban stability operations and support operations where success often depends on changing people's fundamental beliefs and subsequent actions. Modifying behavior requires influence, sometimes with coercion or control, and perseverance. They often must be convinced or persuaded to accept change. This may take as long or longer than the evolution of the conflict. Decades of problems and their consequences cannot be immediately corrected. Frequently, the affected segments of the urban society must see that change is lasting and basic problems are being effectively addressed.

8-36. In most stability operations, success will not occur unless the host nation, not Army forces, ultimately prevails. The host urban administration addresses the underlying problems or revises its policies toward the disaffected portions of the urban population. Otherwise, apparent successes will be short lived. The UO fundamental of understanding the human dimension is of paramount importance in applying this consideration. After all Army forces, particularly commanders and staff of major operations, understand the society's history and culture, they can begin to accurately identify the problem, understand root causes, and plan and execute successful Army UO.

Reasonable Restraint


Reasonable Restraint8-37. Unlike offensive and defensive operations where commanders seek to apply overwhelming combat power at decisive points, restraint is more essential to success in urban stability operations and support operations. It involves employing combat power selectively, discriminately, and precisely (yet still at decisive points) in accordance with assigned missions and prescribed legal and policy limitations. Similar to the UO fundamentals of minimizing collateral damage and preserving critical infrastructure, restraint entails restrictions on using force. Commanders of major operations issue or supplement ROE to guide the tactical application of combat power. Excessively or arbitrarily using force is never justified or tolerated by Army forces. Even unintentionally injuring or killing inhabitants and inadvertently destroying their property and infrastructure lessens legitimacy and the urban population's sympathy and support. It may even cause some inhabitants to become hostile. In urban stability operations and support operations, even force against a violent opponent is minimized. Undue force often leads to commanders applying ever-increasing force to achieve the same results.

8-38. Although restraint is essential, Army forces, primarily during urban stability operations, are always capable of limited combat operations for self-defense. This is in accordance with the UO fundamental of conducting close combat. This combat capability is present and visible, yet displayed in a nonthreatening manner. A commander's intent normally includes demonstrating strength and resolve without provoking an unintended response. Army forces are capable of moving quickly through the urban area and available on short notice. When necessary, Army forces are prepared to apply combat power rapidly, forcefully, and decisively to prevent, end, or deter urban confrontations. Keeping this deterrent viable requires readiness, constant training, and rehearsals. It also requires active reconnaissance, superb OPSEC, a combined arms team, and timely and accurate intelligence, which in the urban environment requires a well-developed HUMINT capability.

Resolute Legitimacy


8-39. Closely linked to restraint is legitimacy or the proper exercise of authority for reasonable purposes. Achieving or maintaining legitimacy during urban stability operations or support operations is essential in obtaining the support of its population. Commanders can ensure legitimacy by building consent among the population, projecting a credible force, and appropriately using that force. Perceptions play a key role in legitimacy, and skillful IO can shape perceptions. Commanders send messages that are consistent with the actions of their forces. Generally, the urban population will accept violence for proper purposes if that force is used impartially. Perceptions that force is excessive or that certain groups are being favored over others can erode legitimacy. A single soldier's misbehavior can significantly degrade a commander's ability to project an image of impartiality and legitimacy.



8-40. Commanders of major operations are the focal point for synchronizing tactical stability operations and support operations with strategic diplomatic and political issues. They are also the critical links between national intelligence resources and the tactical commander. Because strategic, diplomatic, and political changes can quickly transition the type of urban operation, they keep subordinate tactical commanders abreast of changes in intelligence, policy, and higher decisions. The potential to rapidly transition to urban combat operations emphasizes the need to maintain the capability to conduct close, urban combat. Failure to recognize changes and transition points may lead to UO that do not support the attainment of the overall objective and needlessly use resources, particularly soldiers' lives. Therefore, Army forces on the ground in an urban stability operation are more aware of the strategic environment than the threat and the civilian population, each of whom will have their own means of monitoring the national and international situation.

Legitimate and Capable Civilian Control


8-41. Commanders maintain or enhance the credibility and legitimacy of the government and police of the urban area and of the host nation's military forces operating there. In accordance with the urban fundamental of transitioning control, urban commanders conclude UO quickly and successfully, often to use assets elsewhere in their area of operations. This entails returning the control of the urban area back to civilian responsibility as soon as feasible. The host nation's military and the urban area's leadership and police are integrated into all aspects of the urban stability operations or support operations to maintain their legitimacy. They are allowed (or influenced) to take the lead in developing and implementing solutions to their own problems.

8-42. If the host nation's leadership, military, and police are not up to the task, commanders can take steps to increase its capabilities through training, advice, and assistance by CA units or by other nongovernmental or governmental organizations and agencies. Sometimes, new leadership and a restructured police force may be required, particularly when corrupt and no longer trusted by the population. This candid assessment of the urban leadership's ability to govern, protect, and support itself is made early in the planning process. Only then can commanders ensure that resources and a well thought-out and coordinated plan (particularly with civilian organizations) are available for a speedy transition. IO will be paramount in these instances to ensure that the urban population sees the training and rebuilding process itself as legitimate. Throughout urban stability operations and support operations, commanders shape the conditions to successfully hand over all activities to urban civilian authorities.

Longer-Term Commitment


8-43. Many stability operations often require perseverance and a longer-term US commitment requiring a rotation of Army units into the area of operations to continue the mission. Considerations for these transitions are similar to a relief in place (see FM 3-90) combined with considerations for deployment and redeployment. FM 41-10 contains a comprehensive appendix on transition planning and coordination activities applicable to UO. The commander of the major operation ensures that the incoming unit understands the political and strategic objectives behind the tasks that they accomplish. Otherwise, the new unit may begin to plan operations that are similar to those conducted by the previous unit without achieving the desired end state or accomplishing the mission.


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