The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW



Doctrine provides a military organization with a common philosophy, a language, a purpose, and unity of effort. To this end, FM 3-06 discusses major Army operations in an urban environment. This environment, consisting of complex terrain, a concentrated population, and an infrastructure of systems, is an operational environment in which Army forces will operate. In the future, it may be the predominant operational environment. Each urban operation will be distinct from any other-any other urban operation as well as similar types of operations in other environments. Each operation will differ because of the multitude of combinations presented by the threat, the urban area itself, the major operation of which it may be part (or the focus), and the fluidity of societal and geo-political considerations. Therefore, there will always exist an innate tension between Army doctrine, the actual context of the urban operation, and future realities. Commanders are responsible to strike the proper balance between preparing for future challenges and maintaining the capability to respond to current threats.


This manual provides the analytical tools for evaluating an urban operation to determine if the operation is necessary for overall mission success. It also provides the means to understanding and determining the impacts of the urban environment on military operations and provides information on managing, taking advantage of, and mitigating the effects of those impacts as appropriate. As such, this manual demonstrates how to apply the doctrinal principles in FM 3-0 to this unique environment.


Chapter 1 introduces theoretical and historical perspectives of urban operations that serve as the underlying basis for the rest of the manual. Chapter 2 discusses the characteristics of urban centers and populations as well as their impact on operations. It is unlikely that Army forces will ever operate in a benign urban environment; therefore, Chapter 3 discusses the varied nature of potential urban threats. An understanding of the complexities of the urban environment and the nature of the enemy is essential to sound decisionmaking. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the potential costs of urban operations as well as the effects on each battlefield operating system that the commander and his staff consider early in their planning. These chapters also outline an urban operational framework and specific urban considerations that create the foundations necessary for successfully applying operational doctrine to an urban environment.

The second half of the manual (Chapters 6 - 9) discusses how urban operations are conducted and resourced. Urban operations include major offensive and defensive operations in urban environments as well as stability operations and support operations ranging from peace operations and combatting terrorism to domestic support operations and foreign humanitarian assistance. For the different types of operations-offense, defense, stability, and support-the purpose, characteristics, organization, and considerations are discussed. However, commanders consider that most urban operations will involve some aspect of all four types of operations (although one may dominate) and plan accordingly.


This manual is intended for commanders and their staffs at the brigade through corps level. It addresses the range of operations (both violent and nonviolent) throughout the spectrum of conflict that Army units will execute in urban settings. However, users should also consult JP 3-06 for specific joint information. Additionally, users should be familiar with FM 3-06.11, TC 90-1, and urban operations chapters, appendices, or sections found in other infantry, armor, combined arms, and proponent field manuals for the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) and appropriate proponent information necessary to conduct tactical urban operations at the brigade level and below.


Chapter 2 defines "city" according to a the population size. However, in historical vignettes and accounts, the term "city" is applied in its common usage without specific regard to size to maintain conformity with most other historical reports.

In this manual, the term "threat" is applied broadly to include an enemy force (conventional or unconventional), an armed belligerent in a peace operation, antagonistic or unfriendly elements of the civilian population, or some other hazardous condition in the urban environment that negatively influences mission accomplishment. The term "hostile" is used as a subset of the threat and denotes a particular element of the urban population (individual, group, or organization) or one or more opposing armed factions in a peacekeeping operation. Both an enemy and a hostile have the intent to exploit Army vulnerabilities and negatively affect the urban operation. A hostile, however, is not engaging Army forces in protracted combat operations.

The term military operations on urban terrain (MOUT) is replaced by urban operations (UO). MOUT is an acronym from FM 90-10 Military Operations on Urban Terrain that is superseded by this manual.

Otherwise, the glossary lists most terms used in FM 3-06 that have joint or Army definitions. Where Army and joint definitions are different, (Army) follows the term. Definitions for which FM 3-06 is the proponent manual (the authority) are marked with an asterisk (*). The proponent or amplifying manual for other terms is listed in parentheses after the definition.

The manual attempts to incorporate historical vignettes into each chapter where the account supports the doctrinal line of reasoning. Two historical vignettes, however, were included as appendices (A and C) because of their longer lengths.

Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns or pronouns do not refer exclusively to men.

This publication contains copyrighted material.

The proponent for this publication is HQ TRADOC. Send comments and recommended changes directly to Commander, US Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, ATTN: ATZL-FD-CD, Futures Development and Integration Center, 1 Reynolds Avenue, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-1352.


Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias