Protests In Oakland, California About Scheduled Urban Warrior Exercises : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Protests In Oakland, California About Scheduled Urban Warrior Exercises

Just one more to add to the dog pile, then Ill get a caffe latte, after just one more post to another thread. -- Diane, ;=(

Marine invasion protested
By Robert Selna
Wednesday, February 24, 1999
)1999 San Francisco Examiner

Jerry Brown called hypocrite as dozens march in Oakland against exercises

Peace activists are decrying an East Bay mock military invasion enthusiastically endorsed by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.

Members of the Coalition Against Urban Warfare, a group of more than 15 local anti-war organizations, said they were shocked that Brown, who in recent years has disparaged U.S. military spending and the "weaponry of death," would endorse a practice landing by the Marines they say promoted war and violence. "I'm really surprised that Brown supported this; I used to listen to his radio show, and he regularly spoke out against the military," said Sherry Larsen-Belville, of the Livermore Conversion Project, a local peace group. "This is sending the wrong message to our community. It is promoting violence."

Tuesday night, Larsen-Belville marched with about 70 protesters near Oakland's City Hall. Many carried anti-war picket signs and chanted, "Urban poverty they don't care, they give us urban warfare."

The Marine operation, dubbed "urban warrior," is scheduled to take place from March 15-18 and will put 700 Marines in the East Bay at any given time. Military officials said the exercises would test the Marines' ability to handle a 21st-century coastal urban conflict, natural disaster or large-scale humanitarian effort.

The plan was rejected by Presidio Trust officials last month, but welcomed by Brown and Alameda Mayor Ralph Appezato. "Oakland has a long history with the military, and we wanted to maintain good relations with them," Brown spokeswoman Stacey Wells said of the operation, which is expected to bring the area $4 million. "Oakland will also get some training and help with disaster relief."

Wells said that Brown saw no conflict between his past anti-war sentiments and his current support for the military exercises. Nor does the mayor's endorsement erode his stance on violence, she said.

"The mayor's position on crime and violence in the city is very strong. . . . He is a staunch opponent," Wells said. "This is an exercise on a base. . . . It has to do with training and readiness, not the military industrial complex."

Brown was unavailable for comment.

From 1994 to 1997, Brown hosted a radio show called "We The People." Brown's guests included a number of progressive thinkers and peace activists, and he would often chime in against increases in military spending and technology.

The Marine exercise was originally slated to take place at the Presidio, but in December Presidio caretakers decided not to permit it, citing the size of the operation and the environmental toll it might exact.

The Navy will participate in the exercises, which will allow troops to practice a "three-block war," including an armed conflict, peace-keeping operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

"By the year 2025, 70 percent of the world's population will live in coastal urban environments, and 70 percent of the nation's capitals and 70 percent of nuclear reactors are also located in those kinds of areas," said operation leader Lt. Col. Gary Schenkel.

The main "invasion" will begin on March 15, when some 400 Marines will launch in amphibious landing craft and helicopters from two carriers and other ships anchored near Angel Island. The troops will perform a landing in Alameda and then be escorted by Oakland police to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, officials said.

The 200-acre Naval facility, in the residential East Oakland hills, was shut down in 1996, but still houses several functional buildings, including a nine-story hospital, built to accommodate injured soldiers during the Vietnam War.

According to Schenkel, most of the combat exercises will take place in and around the hospital, and will include Marines firing blanks from M-16 rifles. Peace-keeping and disaster relief operations will ensue at base housing, and will involve about 200 actors playing war-weary civilians. The troops will sleep in existing base barracks.

Operation leaders will also work with local police and fire departments to prepare for a disaster or humanitarian effort requiring assistance from the armed forces, officials said.

Schenkel said to avoid disturbing neighbors, operation planners had restricted events to the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in interior base locations far from any residential housing. He said that planners were still deciding whether to use light-armor vehicles, but that fixed-wing aircraft would not be allowed because of Oakland flight patterns. Following the landing exercises, a March 19-21 exposition will begin at Alameda Point (the old Naval Air Station) and Jack London Square. The public is invited to inspect equipment and visit five Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier Hornet and a new carrier, the Bonhomme Richard.

See also, FOR THOSE WHO MISSED IT, courtesy of Leska ...

United States Marine Corps Warfighting Lab

Home page

Media Center

See the ... Press Release: Navy-Marine Corps Event Planned for Oakland and Alameda February 3, 1999

Urban Warrior

By 2020, approximately seventy percent of the world's population will live in cities -- and -- seventy percent of these cities will be located along the world's coastlines.

Urban Warrior examines new concepts, tactics, techniques, procedures, and technologies to meet the challenges of conflict in those urban environments.

To find out more about the Urban Warrior Advanced Warfighting Experiment, select an appropriate link from the menu on the left.

The Urban Warrior Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) will occur from 12th to the 18th of March, 1999, followed by an Exposition from the 19th to the 21st of March, 1999.

The AWE (12-18 March, 1999) will take place at many geographic locations in Monterey and Oakland/Alameda:

Monterey 12-13 March
OME to Oakland 14-15 March
Moffett Field & NWS Concord 14-18 March
San Francisco Embarcadero 15-16 March
Oak Knoll 15-18 March
Forward From the Sea Exposition 19-21 March

Monterey Experiment 12-13 March 1999

Operational Maneuver Element (OME) Experiment 14-15 March

And also this ancillary little gem, Kevin found.

Theres a great story lurking here for you Declan! Between the Marines and all the civilian actors...

Here's an article on the Marines and War Games from the mainstream media...

"Marines Looking for Actors to Assist in War Games"

... W A S H I N G T O N, Feb. 24  The U.S. Marines are looking for a few good men and womenbut not the types you might think.

The Marines are advertising for somebody who can play the role of Spunky Woman War-Zone Reporter (CNN Christiane Amanpour-type) from the Political Spin News Network (PSNN). The Marines also want an older woman and older man over the age of 40 who can play the role of Furzian Cleric and the Hagi Cleric.

The Marines also want 200 people for six days who are not clean cut and neat nor conservatively dressed. ...

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 26, 1999


"By the year 2025, 70 percent of the world's population will live in coastal urban environments, and 70 percent of the nation's capitals and 70 percent of nuclear reactors are also located in those kinds of areas," said operation leader Lt. Col. Gary Schenkel."

This statistic is being thrown around often. It seems to be the almighty explanation & justification. Makes sense.....70/70/70/hmm very tidy.

I for one would be interested to know where the raw data came from. I'm pretty paranoid, but it sounds like a meta-tactic to me....

"At every point in this process, from the creation of a data base to the way the information in it is classified, to the software used to analyze it, the information is open to manipulation so subtle and frequently invisible it makes standard political info-tactics as secrecy or leaks look crude by comparison."

Alvin Toffler, PowerShift

A book which I highly reccomend to everyone, it offers explanations for the wildly contradictory info from gov. etc.,& the dizzying media.

Information is POWER people, and it is used/witheld/manipulated using very sophisticated methods.

Have you ever felt 'beat up' by all of this? That is because we are civillian casualties in an info WAR. Forget muscles & guns people. (for now anyway) We need the brains God gave us. That is why there is POWER HERE. There are many people here who can gather a bit from Ca. a bit from NY etc. put them together....GI. From Civillian to Foot Soldier.

The worst part about it, is very often the person spouting out the info believes it is accurate:

"Political knowledge reaches the decision-maker only after passing through a maze of distorting mirrors. Tomorrow the mirrors themselves will reflect still more mirrors."

Toffler, PowerShift

(sigh) Our leaders are only as good as the info. given to them. I doubt they are doing all the research themselves...they don't have time. This could very well be the reason some sectors are preparing like crazy & others are sleeping.

Many of these people spouting all of this 'your average person won't even know it (y2k) happened junk' probably believe every word of it. They are being used in a war. This may not be a revelation to you, but it was for me.

Now all I need to figure out is; what is the prize? The survival of America? Economic stability/instability? Preventing/Promoting panic? Profit for a few, devestation for many?

Probably it is more complex, multiple wars; multiple self-interests, multiple prizes. The info is being subtly manipulated on so many different fronts. Like fighting in Vietnam, not one frontline multiple ones constantly changing.

No wonder we are so frustrated. No wonder it is so difficult to get satisfactory answers to many of our questions.

Think of the enormity of the Industries/Gov. Agencies involved. How much money/power is at stake? Worldwide?

I think I'm upping my preps for a '10' just to be safe.(won't hurt either way)

I'm glad I'm a peasant, my accountability for this mess is limited to those I can reach.

BTW Diane, thanks as usual for your excellent posts.

Oh Yah, if anyone thinks I'm full of @#$% feel free to let me know.

Sorry to veer WAY's been a schizo day, but I think I'm back on track. :-)

P.S. I don't think this Military stuff is necessarily evil, just don't hold your breath while seeking the truth.

-- Deborah, who likes puzzles too (, February 26, 1999.

If anyone still doubts that Jerry Brown is a socialist Marxist NWO change-agent...

-- american (by@the.bay), February 26, 1999.

Jerry Brown sold out his integrity for political office as they all know,..."pay me now, or pay me later". A number of people with ethics have done this from times I remember when we had a better vision. Saddening and not unexpected.

I wonder if Jerry' water and rice?

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 26, 1999.

Our Soldiers, Their Cities RALPH PETERS ) 1996 Ralph Peters


From Parameters, Spring 1996, pp. 43-50.


The future of warfare lies in the streets, sewers, high-rise buildings, industrial parks, and the sprawl of houses, shacks, and shelters that form the broken cities of our world. We will fight elsewhere, but not so often, rarely as reluctantly, and never so brutally. Our recent military history is punctuated with city names-- Tuzla, Mogadishu, Los Angeles, Beirut, Panama City, Hue, Saigon, Santo Domingo--but these encounters have been but a prologue, with the real drama still to come.

We declare that only fools fight in cities and shut our eyes against the future. But in the next century, in an uncontrollably urbanizing world, we will not be able to avoid urban deployments short of war and even full-scale city combat. Cities always have been centers of gravity, but they are now more magnetic than ever before. Once the gatherers of wealth, then the processors of wealth, cities and their satellite communities have become the ultimate creators of wealth. They concentrate people and power, communications and control, knowledge and capability, rendering all else peripheral. They are also the post-modern equivalent of jungles and mountains--citadels of the dispossessed and irreconcilable. A military unprepared for urban operations across a broad spectrum is unprepared for tomorrow.

The US military, otherwise magnificently capable, is an extremely inefficient tool for combat in urban environments. We are not doctrinally, organizationally, or psychologically prepared, nor are we properly trained or equipped, for a serious urban battle, and we must task organize radically even to conduct peacekeeping operations in cities. Romantic and spiritually reactionary, we long for gallant struggles in green fields, while the likeliest "battlefields" are cityscapes where human waste goes undisposed, the air is appalling, and mankind is rotting.

Poor state or rich, disintegrating society or robust culture, a global commonality is that more of the population, in absolute numbers and in percentage, lives in cities. Control of cities always has been vital to military success, practically and symbolically, but in our post-modern environment, in which the wealth of poor regions as well as the defining capabilities of rich states are concentrated in capitals and clusters of production-center cities, the relevance of non-urban terrain is diminishing in strategic, operational, and even tactical importance--except where the countryside harbors critical natural resources. But even when warfare is about resource control, as in America's Gulf War, simply controlling the oil fields satisfies neither side.

The relevant urban centers draw armies for a stew of reasons, from providing legitimacy and infrastructural capabilities, to a magnetic attraction that is more instinctive than rational (perhaps even genetically absorbed at this point in the history of mankind), and on to the fundamental need to control indigenous populations--which cannot be done without mastering their urban centers. We may be entering a new age of siege warfare, but one in which the military techniques would be largely unrecognizable to Mehmet the Conqueror or Vauban, or even our to own greatest soldiers and conquerors of cities, Ulysses S. Grant and Winfield Scott.

Consider just a few of the potential trouble spots where US military intervention or assistance could prove necessary in the next century: Mexico, Egypt, the sub-continent with an expansionist India, the Arabian Peninsula, Brazil, or the urbanizing Pacific Rim. Even though each of these states or regions contains tremendous rural, desert, or jungle expanses, the key to each is control of an archipelago of cities. The largest of these cities have populations in excess of 20 million today--more specific figures are generally unavailable as beleaguered governments lose control of their own backyards. Confronted with an armed and hostile population in such an environment, the US Army as presently structured would find it difficult to muster the dismount strength necessary to control a single center as simultaneously dense and sprawling as Mexico City.

Step down from the level of strategic rhetoric about the future, where anyone with self-confidence can make a convincing case for his or her agenda. Survey instead the blunt, practical ways in which urban combat in today's major cities would differ from a sanitary anomaly such as Desert Storm or the never-to-be-fought Third European Civil War in the German countryside (where we pretended urban combat could be avoided) for which so much of the equipment presently in our inventory was designed.

At the broadest level, there is a profound spatial difference. "Conventional" warfare has been horizontal, with an increasing vertical dimension. In fully urbanized terrain, however, warfare becomes profoundly vertical, reaching up into towers of steel and cement, and downward into sewers, subway lines, road tunnels, communications tunnels, and the like. Even with the "emptying" of the modern battlefield, organizational behavior in the field strives for lateral contiguity and organizational integrity. But the broken spatial qualities of urban terrain fragments units and compartmentalizes encounters, engagements, and even battles. The leader's span of control can easily collapse, and it is very, very hard to gain and maintain an accurate picture of the multidimensional "battlefield."

Noncombatants, without the least hostile intent, can overwhelm the force, and there are multiple players beyond the purely military, from criminal gangs to the media, vigilante and paramilitary factions within militaries, and factions within those factions. The enemy knows the terrain better than the visiting army, and it can be debilitatingly difficult to tell friend from foe from the disinterested. Local combat situations can change with bewildering speed. Atrocity is close-up and commonplace, whether intentional or incidental. The stresses on the soldier are incalculable. The urban combat environment is, above all, disintegrative.

The modern and post-modern trend in Western militaries has been to increase the proportion of tasks executed by machines while reducing the number of soldiers in our establishments. We seek to build machines that enable us to win while protecting or distancing the human operator from the effects of combat. At present, however, urban combat remains extremely manpower intensive--and it is a casualty producer. Although a redirection of research and development efforts toward addressing the requirements of urban combat could eventually raise our efficiency and reduce casualties, machines probably will not dominate urban combat in our lifetimes and the soldier will remain the supreme weapon. In any case, urban warfare will not require substantial numbers of glamorous big-ticket systems but great multiples of small durables and disposables whose production would offer less fungible profit margins and whose relatively simple construction would open acquisition to genuinely competitive bidding.

Casualties can soar in urban environments. Beyond those inflicted by enemy action, urban operations result in broken bones, concussions, traumatic-impact deaths and, with the appalling sanitation in many urban environments, in a broad range of septic threats. Given the untempered immune systems of many of our soldiers, even patrol operations in sewer systems that did not encounter an enemy could produce debilitating, even fatal, illnesses. One of many potential items of soldier equipment for urban warfare might be antiseptic bio- sheathing that coats the soldier's body and closes over cuts and abrasions, as well as wounds. Any means of boosting the soldier's immune system could prove a critical "weapon of war."

Urban warfare differs even in how "minor" items such as medical kits and litters should be structured. Soldiers need new forms of "armor;" equipment as simple as layered-compound knee and elbow pads could dramatically reduce the sort of injuries that, while not life- threatening, can remove soldiers from combat for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Eye protection is essential, given the splintering effects of firefights in masonry and wood environments, and protective headgear should focus as much on accidental blows from falls or collapsing structures as on enemy fire, on preserving the body's structural integrity as much as on ballistic threats.

Communications requirements differ, too. Soldiers need more comms distributed to lower levels--down to the individual soldier in some cases. Further, because of loss rates in the give and take of urban combat, low-level comms gear should not be part of the encrypted command and control network. Radios or other means of communication do not need extended range, but they must deal with terrible reception anomalies. Even a "digitized" soldier, whose every movement can be monitored, will require different display structures in the observing command center. This is the classic three-dimensional chessboard at the tactical level.

On the subject of command and control, the individual soldier must be even better-trained than at present. He will face human and material distractions everywhere--it will be hard to maintain concentration on the core mission. Soldiers will die simply because they were looking the wrong way, and even disciplined and morally sound soldiers disinclined to rape can lose focus in the presence of female or other civilians whom they feel obliged to protect or who merely add to the human "noise level." The leader-to-led ratio must increase in favor of rigorously prepared low-level leaders. While higher-level command structures may flatten, tactical units must become webs of pyramidal cells capable of extended autonomous behavior in a combat environment where multiple engagements can occur simultaneously and in relative isolation in the same building. Nonsensical arguments about the Wehrmacht making do without so many NCOs and officers on the battlefield must be buried forever; not only is the German military of the last European civil war ancient history, but it lost decisively. Our challenge is to shape the US Army of the 21st century.

Personal weapons must be compact and robust, with a high rate of fire and very lightweight ammunition, but there is also a place for shotgun-like weapons at the squad level. Overall, soldier loads must be reduced dramatically at the edge of combat, since fighting in tall buildings requires agility that a soldier unbalanced by a heavy pack cannot attain; further, vertical fighting is utterly exhausting and requires specialized mobility tools. Soldiers will need more upper body strength and will generally need to be more fit--and this includes support soldiers, as well.

Ideally, each infantry soldier would have a thermal or post-thermal imaging capability--since systems that require ambient light are not much good 30 meters below the surface of the earth. Also, an enhanced ability to detect and define sounds could benefit the soldier-- although he would have to be very well-trained to be able to transcend the distracting quality of such systems. Eventually, we may have individual-soldier tactical equipment that can differentiate between male and female body heat distributions and that will even be able to register hostility and intent from smells and sweat. But such devices will not be available for the next several interventions, and we shall have to make do for a long time to come with soldiers who are smart, tough, and disciplined.

The roles of traditional arms will shift. Field artillery, so valuable elsewhere, will be of reduced utility--unless the US military were to degenerate to the level of atrocity in which the Russians indulged themselves in Grozniy. Until artillery further enhances accuracy, innovates warheads, and overcomes the laws of ballistic trajectories, it will not have a significant role in urban combat divisions. Because of attack angles and the capabilities of precision munitions, air power will prove much more valuable and will function as flying artillery. Mortars, however, may often be of great use, given their steep trajectories. More accurate and versatile next- generation mortars could be a very powerful urban warfare tool.

The bulk of tactical firepower will need to come from large-caliber, protected, direct-fire weapons. This means tanks, or future systems descended from the tank. While today's tanks are death traps in urban combat--as the Russians were recently reminded--the need for protected, pinpoint firepower is critical. Instead of concentrating entirely on obsolescent rural warfare, armor officers should be asking themselves how the tank should evolve to fight in tomorrow's premier military environment, the city. First, the "tank" will need more protection, and that protection will need to be differently distributed--perhaps evolving to tuned electronic armor that flows over the vehicle to the threatened spot. Main guns will need to be large caliber, yet, ideally, would be able to fire reduced-caliber ammunition, as well, through a "caliber-tailoring" system. Crew visibility will need to be greater. The tank will not need to sustain high speeds, but will need a sprint capability. Further, the tank will need to be better integrated into local intelligence awareness.

While the need for plentiful dismounted infantry will endure, those soldiers will intermittently need means for rapid, protected movement. But this does not necessarily mean mechanized infantry-- rather, it may demand armored transport centralized at the division level on which the infantry trains, but which does not rob the infantry of manpower in peacetime or in combat.

Engineers will be absolutely critical to urban combat, but they, too, will need evolved tools and skills. The vertical dimension is only part of the challenge. Engineers will need to develop expanded skills, from enabling movement in developed downtown areas to firefighting. Demolition skills will be essential, but will be a long way from blowing road craters. Tomorrow's combat engineers may have to drop 20-story buildings on minimal notice under fire while minimizing collateral damage.

Aviation is vital to mobility, intelligence, and the delivery of focused firepower in urban environments, but, as Mogadishu warned us, present systems and tactics leave us highly vulnerable. Rotary-wing aviation for urban combat does not need great range or speed, but demands a richer defensive suite, great agility, and increased stealthiness.

Military intelligence must be profoundly reordered to cope with the demands of urban combat. From mapping to target acquisition, from collection to analysis, and from battle damage assessment to the prediction of the enemy's future intent, intelligence requirements in urban environments are far tougher to meet than they are on traditional battlefields. The utility of the systems that paid off so richly in Desert Storm collapses in urban warfare, and the importance of human intelligence (HUMINT) and regional expertise soars. From language skills to a knowledge of urban planning (or the lack thereof), many of the abilities essential to combat in cities are given low, if any, priority in today's intelligence architecture. While leaders are aware of these shortfalls, military intelligence is perhaps more a prisoner of inherited Cold War structures than is any other branch--although field artillery and armor are competitive in their unpreparedness for the future.

Military intelligence is at a crossroads today and must decide whether to continue doing the often-irrelevant things it does so well or to embrace a realistic future which will demand a better balance between systems and soldiers in a branch particularly susceptible to the lure of dazzling machines. Try templating a semi-regular enemy unit in urban combat in the center of Lagos after 24 hours of contact. This does not mean that high-tech gear and analytical methodologies are useless in urban environments. On the contrary, innovative technologies and organizational principles could make a profound difference in how military intelligence supports urban combat operations. But we would need to shift focus and explore radical departures from the systems we currently embrace.

Military police and civil affairs troops will continue to play the important roles they played in urban interventions during the 20th century, but psychological operations (PSYOPS) units, long a step- child, will surge in importance, and may ultimately merge fully with military intelligence to enhance synergy and efficiency. Especially given the potential for electronic population control systems in the next century, PSYOPS may function as a combat arm, even if not credited as such.

Even supply is different. While deliveries do not need to be made over great distances, soft vehicles are extremely vulnerable in an environment where it is hard to define a front line and where the enemy can repeatedly emerge in the rear. All soldiers will be fighters, and force and resource protection will be physically and psychologically draining. Urban environments can upset traditional balances between classes of supply. There may be less of a requirement for bulk fuel, but an intervention force may find itself required to feed an urban population, or to supply epidemic-control efforts. Artillery and ATGM expenditures might be minimal, while main gun and infantry systems ammunition consumption could be heated. Urban combat breaks individual and crew-served weapons and gear, from rifles to radios, and masonry buildings are even harder on uniforms than on human bones. Soldiers will need replacement uniforms far more often than during more traditional operations. Unfortunately, we also will need more replacement soldiers, and all combat support and combat service support troops are more apt to find themselves shooting back during an urban battle than in any other combat environment.

Where do we begin to prepare for this immediate and growing challenge? There are two powerful steps we ought to take. First, the US Army should designate two active and at least one of our National Guard divisions as urban combat divisions and should begin variable restructurings to get the right component mix. Rule one should be that the active divisions are not "experimental" in the sense of nondeployable, but remain subject to short-notice deployment to threatened urban environments. This would put an incredible stress on the unit and, especially, on the chain of command. But today's US Army cannot afford to have any divisions "on ice," and, further, this pressure would drive competence. Two such divisions is the irreducible initial number, since one urban combat division would be rapidly exhausted by the pace of deployments.

Most of the divisional artillery would be shifted to corps-level, while engineers at all levels would be increased and restructured-- including the addition of organic sapper platoons to infantry battalions. Composite armor and mechanized elements would be added to light forces at a ratio of one battalion (brigade) to four, with a longer-term goal of developing more appropriate and readily deployable means of delivering direct firepower and protecting the forward movement of troops. Innovative protection of general transport would be another goal. Military intelligence units would have to restructure radically, and would need to develop habitual relationships with reserve component linguists and area specialists. Aviation would work closely with other arms to develop more survivable tactics, while each division would gain an active-duty PSYOPS company. Signalers would need to experiment with low-cost, off- the-shelf tools for communicating in dense urban environments, and an overarching effort would need to be made to create interdisciplinary maps, both paper and electronic, that could better portray the complexity of urban warfare. The divisions' experience would determine future acquisition requirements.

But none of the sample measures cited above is as important as revolutionizing training for urban combat. The present approach, though worthwhile on its own terms, trains soldiers to fight in villages or small towns, not in cities. Building realistic "cities" in which to train would be prohibitively expensive. The answer is innovation. Why build that which already exists? In many of our own blighted cities, massive housing projects have become uninhabitable and industrial plants unusable. Yet they would be nearly ideal for combat-in-cities training. While we could not engage in live-fire training (even if the locals do), we could experiment and train in virtually every other regard. Development costs would be a fraction of the price of building a "city" from scratch, and city and state governments would likely compete to gain a US Army (and Marine) presence, since it would bring money, jobs, and development--as well as a measure of social discipline. A mutually beneficial relationship could help at least one of our worst-off cities, while offering the military a realistic training environment. The training center could be at least partially administered by the local National Guard to bind it to the community. We genuinely need a National Training Center for Urban Combat, and it cannot be another half-measure. Such a facility would address the most glaring and dangerous gap in our otherwise superb military training program. We need to develop it soon.

In summary, an urbanizing world means combat in cities, whether we like it or not. Any officer who states categorically that the US Army will never let itself be drawn into urban warfare is indulging in wishful thinking. Urban combat is conceptually and practically different from other modes of warfare. Although mankind has engaged in urban combat from the sack of Troy down to the siege of Sarajevo, Western militaries currently resist the practical, emotional, moral, and ethical challenges of city fighting. Additional contemporary players, such as the media, and international and nongovernmental organizations, further complicate contemporary urban combat. We do not want to touch this problem. But we have no choice. The problem is already touching us, with skeletal, infected fingers. The US military must stop preparing for its dream war and get down to the reality of the fractured and ugly world in which we live--a world that lives in cities. We must begin judicious restructuring for urban combat in order to gain both efficiency and maximum effectiveness--as well as to preserve the lives of our soldiers. We must equip, train, and fight innovatively. We must seize the future before the future seizes us.


Major Ralph Peters is assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, where he is responsible for evaluating emerging threats. Prior to becoming a Foreign Area Officer for Eurasia, he served exclusively at the tactical level. He is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and holds a master's degree in international relations. Over the past several years, his professional and personal research travels have taken Major Peters to Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Pakistan, and Turkey, as well as the countries of the Andean Ridge. He has published five books and dozens of articles and essays on military and international concerns. This is his sixth article for Parameters. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

-- oliver (, February 27, 1999.


Ive always believed that information is used either in empowering ways or controlling (i.e. disempowering) ways.

Thats why the internet is so strategically vital in any modern information war. Its why at the forum here we see so many trolls and disinformers. Its rather like wading through molasses to put the info pieces together then transform them into polished gems. But, like resistance fighters of old, many of us resist the lies and spin while searching for the nuggets of truth. Thars gold in dem thar web-sites!

In fact, IMHO, we have already entered WW III -- we just call it the World Wide Web.

Diane, Cyber-Amazon
Information Navigator

(BTW oliver ( ... Ive read about half of your excellent find, but getting tired now, so Ill finish later with thoughts. Thanks).

-- Diane J. Squire (, February 27, 1999.


Thank you for responding to me. I was feeling very crazy for posting that. I recognise that you and others here are fighting this as well, and doing a fine job, may I add. Where do I enlist?

-- Deborah (, February 27, 1999.

This just in from today's (02/27) San Diego Union-Tribune:

Urban-war exercise adds 'realism' Marines jump into their role with the aid of experimental gadgets

Urban-war exercise

Camp Pendleton's been a happenin' place lately. Lots of Chinook copters in the skies the last few days...

-- Mac (, February 28, 1999.

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