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Thread: Urban / City Warfare (merged thread)

  1. #41
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    Default Joint Urban Ops Observations & Insights from Afghanistan and Iraq

    RAND, May 07: "People Make the City", Executive Summary
    Joint Urban Operations Observations and Insights from Afghanistan and Iraq

    Ongoing operations in the villages, towns, and cities of Afghanistan and Iraq offer the first real test of the United States’ first-ever joint urban operations doctrine, which was published in 2002. This executive summary provides a top-line synthesis of joint urban operations observations and insights taken from thousands of pages of hard-copy and online material and from 102 interviews relating to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Whenever an individual is quoted or otherwise associated with particular remarks, it is with the individual’s explicit permission to be recognized for those contributions. This monograph should provide rich source material for tailoring the new doctrine, as presented in Joint Publication (JP) 3-06, and for the training, acquisition, and force structure initiatives that together must constantly adapt if they are to prepare U.S. forces properly for urban challenges yet to come.

    The time frame for the study corresponds to two collection phases. Phase I was conducted from October 2003 to April 2004, while phase II was conducted during three months, from July 1, 2004, through September 30, 2004. The results of a third phase of the study are published under separate cover.
    Note: This "executive summary" is an 86 page pdf document.

  2. #42
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    Default The Coming Urban Terror

    The Coming Urban Terror - John Robb, City Journal.

    For the first time in history, announced researchers this May, a majority of the world’s population is living in urban environments. Cities—efficient hubs connecting international flows of people, energy, communications, and capital—are thriving in our global economy as never before. However, the same factors that make cities hubs of globalization also make them vulnerable to small-group terror and violence.

    Over the last few years, small groups’ ability to conduct terrorism has shown radical improvements in productivity—their capacity to inflict economic, physical, and moral damage. These groups, motivated by everything from gang membership to religious extremism, have taken advantage of easy access to our global superinfrastructure, revenues from growing illicit commercial flows, and ubiquitously available new technologies to cross the threshold necessary to become terrible threats. September 11, 2001, marked their arrival at that threshold...

  3. #43
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    Default Old wine in new bottles

    John Robb writes well, citing examples of the 'new urban terror' in Latin America, notably Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    If you look at 'Old' Europe wayback in the C19th, especially after the French Revolution, the danger posed by urban mobs and revolutionares was well known. The streets of Paris weere laid out so artillery could sweep them; Austria-Hungary built forts around its cities to dominate them and in the UK we invented a civilian police force.

    Cities can be anonymous, but local culture can be very invasive - many Europeans accept far greater regulation than elsewhere, e.g. Belguim.

    Modern legend is that the state has a monopoly on force, well the state would want to claim that, but I have my doubts. Even before drugs organised crime had an extensive reach, e.g. the Mafia in Italy.

    Groups, whatever their motivation, that prey on the public and challenge the state need to be confronted, not always by force. Retaining public support and confidence is the key. High visibility operations, so favoured in counter-terrorism alerts, must be far outweighed by a "ground cover" of contacts able to report. Building on the "cover" are informants who can penetrate the groups.

    All too easy to slip into the "police state", careful now Napoleon is back!

    Davidbfpo

  4. #44
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    We're certainly seeing a projection of power by non-state actors never really seem before in history. In looking at the number of open terrorism cases by the FBI, Scotland Yard, etc. (as were noted after the UK Doctor Bombers episode), there is no doubt about the certainty of activity by cells at work.

    In another thread here on SWJ, the question was brought up about "what if they (the terrorists) were more compentent?" And that goes right along with much of the analyses we see from various think tanks around the world. If they were more competent, imagine the destruction we might see?

    My question--which I'm sure I'm not alone--why haven't we seen more competent attacks? The recipe has been supplied many times over by the Washington Post, New York Times, RAND, Brookings Institute, etc. What is the limiting factor that keeps these cells from wreaking the kind of havoc that journalists, pundits, and experts keep telling us about?

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Basic human nature is to be very positive and constructive in society? You only truly become corrupt when you become a politician.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellbilly Soldier View Post
    My question--which I'm sure I'm not alone--why haven't we seen more competent attacks? The recipe has been supplied many times over by the Washington Post, New York Times, RAND, Brookings Institute, etc. What is the limiting factor that keeps these cells from wreaking the kind of havoc that journalists, pundits, and experts keep telling us about?

    It's rare to see the synchronization necessary to pull off a spectacular event.

    If you'll notice the cells that have been broken up in the past few years, they're ultra-spread out with a lot of moving parts. Consequently, there's a greater chance for error.

    You'll notice, as well, that when they are brought down they're still a few steps away from an operational plan. They may have an end and motive, but rarely the means.

    The lack of synchronization, a viable and feasible plan, and the quest for the "biggest, largest, or most impressive" attack makes it easier to defeat before culmination, especially since 2001 (whether others want to admit the Patriot Act works or not).
    Example is better than precept.

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    William Langewiesche's City of Fear

    May ask for an email, nearby library, and a zip code in order to access the article. Other than that, the article is freely available.
    "In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." - Eric Hoffer

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    I honestly think Occam's Razor can be applied here.

    The 9/11 attacks took a lot of time and resources, and a good bit of luck, to pull off successfully. It led to the US attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, which seems to have been OBL's strategy.

    It's a heck of a lot easier to fight the US in the Middle East/Central Asia if one looks at the situation from a AQ perspective. You've successfully drawn the US into two wars, both of which are nowhere near ending, and have bloodied the nose of the US at the same time. While AQ has been mangled quite badly, they are still around, and have grown new offshoot organizations simply by not being eradicated. You can draw more manpower, more weaponry, and more resources from the Middle East to fight in the Middle East - it's simply easier to sustain and maintain.

    They really don't need to hit the US again - we're pretty much engaged full throttle with our military, and our spending is going through the roof. The wars have costs $758B since 01 according to the GAO, and that would equal the GDP of the 16th largest country in the world as of 2006. The AQ strategy has always been to weaken the US economy, and while there haven't been any major economic disasters since 9/11, the economy certainly isn't as good as it could be. Plus we still have a massive national debt that is going to have to be serviced at some point in the future...
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

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    Australian Defence College, 20 Oct 07 (Thanks to SSI for posting it up yesterday):

    City Without Joy: Urban Military Operations into the 21st Century

    ....In this timely Occasional Paper, Dr Michael Evans, formerly Head of the Australian Army’s Land Warfare Studies Centre and now the Australian Defence College Fellow, gives us an insightful and comprehensive review of urban military operations. He has traced the subject’s origins and development to give us an up-to-date operational-strategic analysis of the significance of urban operations into the 21st century. In particular, Dr Evans makes a piercing historical link with Fall’s work on rural insurgency in South-East Asia by calling his study City Without Joy—a play on Fall’s title that captures the complexity and challenges of contemporary military operations in cities.

    Dr Evans informs us that, while in the past it was often possible for commanders to bypass pitched combat in cities, that era has now passed. For a variety of demographic and operational reasons, the role of cities in 21st century war has begun to change. I was strongly reminded of this changing reality when in 2004, I assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Operations in the Headquarters, Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I). Faced by the second year of the Iraqi insurgency, we in MNF-I, developed a pro-active ‘cities strategy’ initiative designed to counter the spread of urban-based insurgency. At times, some 15 major Iraqi cities were designated as part of our city strategy. Yet, we soon discovered the uncomfortable truth that enemy forces are not constrained by their adversary’s strategic planning. Insurgents attacked Coalition forces in cities that were not on our list. And, of course, the most violent urban battle of all occurred in Fallujah—a city in the Sunni Triangle—that was not even part of the Coalition’s original city strategy.

    What this Occasional Paper demonstrates convincingly is that at the tactical level of warfighting there is not much that is new in fighting in cities, but that it remains absolutely necessary for us to continue re-learning old lessons. Again, with respect to learning lessons in war, Iraq is instructive. Prior to the second battle of Fallujah, Coalition planners were given very wise advice on how to fight in cities by US Vietnam veterans who had fought in Hue in 1968 during the Tet Offensive. Indeed, one Fallujah ‘after action report’ stated that the ebb and flow of the fighting in the city had been almost exactly as the Hue veterans had earlier described.....
    Complete 69 page paper at the link.

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    Default Geosimulation For Urban Warfare

    Paul Torrens, a geographer at the University of Arkansas, posted some visuals of a geosimulation he's put together modeling urban crowd behavior in response to a car fire/explosion. His site's been swamped with hits since the thing was mentioned on a few blogs and the word spread. Take a look at the video, which is limited but suggests some interesting possibilities for computer sims for urban warfare. He's got some other groovy sims on the site, too, worth looking at.

    You can find the crowd simulator at http://www.geosimulation.org/crowds/
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  11. #51
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    Thumbs up Good Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Innes View Post
    Paul Torrens, a geographer at the University of Arkansas, posted some visuals of a geosimulation he's put together modeling urban crowd behavior in response to a car fire/explosion. His site's been swamped with hits since the thing was mentioned on a few blogs and the word spread. Take a look at the video, which is limited but suggests some interesting possibilities for computer sims for urban warfare. He's got some other groovy sims on the site, too, worth looking at.

    You can find the crowd simulator at http://www.geosimulation.org/crowds/
    I have to look and find it again but I remember finding Crowd model work in the last two years where they not only have all the rendering capabilities worked out but some good work in interactions amoung random groups.

    Random patterns established with reactivity to stimuli of verying intensity in order to allow for more than less than fear or attraction among the entities.
    As the model continues running the entities begin to develop ties to each other based on the number of times they encounter one another and thus begin grouping into smaller subsets as time goes by.

    There was also supposed to be friend vs foe recognition and subsequent reactions accordingly bad guy = move away big bad guy run away etc.

    I ll look for it

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Innes View Post
    Take a look at the video, which is limited but suggests some interesting possibilities for computer sims for urban warfare. He's got some other groovy sims on the site, too, worth looking at.

    You can find the crowd simulator at http://www.geosimulation.org/crowds/
    Land Warfare simulation is a potential war winner. The Aussies currently leas the way wit the USMC coming a long second. The UK has yet to switch on. LWS allows you teach and learn stuff that is simply impossible wandering around the training area. It's an excellent tool.

    ...but AI is a huge problem, so this may have some merit.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Very interesting Mike. I seem to recall that a similar (or perhaps an early version of this) program was used recently to model the passage of elements of Lee's army through Gettysburgh in the hours leading up to the main battle. As Wilf says, even given the present status of AI, this is a tool with real and vast potential.

    When I saw your name Mike, I thought it was vaguely familiar, and now I see that you were from that other English-speaking regiment; welcome to the SWC. Haven't you published in the CAJ and a few other places already?

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Someone I know loosely from the Lightfighter.net board is a computer graphics animation guy who works on Hollywood production, and is a CA Reservist with time in Iraq. I mentioned this thread to him and he replied with the link, which appears to be software he and his kin use to create environments and characters.

    http://www.massivesoftware.com/whatismassive/

    Is there a difference between crowd modelling and animation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Someone I know loosely from the Lightfighter.net board is a computer graphics animation guy who works on Hollywood production, and is a CA Reservist with time in Iraq. I mentioned this thread to him and he replied with the link, which appears to be software he and his kin use to create environments and characters.

    http://www.massivesoftware.com/whatismassive/

    Is there a difference between crowd modelling and animation?
    There is a difference between the two. The animation stuff is the representation of the mathmatics behind the crowd modeling. There a variety of epidemiology simulations that show infection rates (you see them in the bad sci-fi movies poorly showing density and infection rates). A lot of the crowd modeling software follows infection rates only the infection is an idea or emotion. There are a lot of other factors that go into the "what" of the animation.

    Thinking about bad sci-fi movies and patterns of movement. In the bad sci-fi movies they show infection spreading rapidly as a wave form across the nation. That is usually far from the truth. Reality is you get corridors of infection following road systems between large city centers, and jumps from air travel to the hub cities. Not take a look at crowd dynamics.

    A crowd must follow physical ground paths. So waves and other patterns aren't going to work. Hydraulic theories of pressure and concentration help to inform crowd movement theorist though. Other things that help in imagining what needs to be animated are issues such as incident, obstructions, distance to injury ratio's, and even things like mental state. A good simulation allows you to easily adjust those parameters like in the infection simulations you can adjust regions of the map for population distance, technology level, etc (All those hofstedder elements).

    I don't know if that helps at all, but there is some GIS stuff coming from Google that is supposed to mimic these type of questions pretty close.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    There is a difference between the two. The animation stuff is the representation of the mathmatics behind the crowd modeling. There a variety of epidemiology simulations that show infection rates (you see them in the bad sci-fi movies poorly showing density and infection rates). A lot of the crowd modeling software follows infection rates only the infection is an idea or emotion. There are a lot of other factors that go into the "what" of the animation.
    There has been substantial attention to this in the computer/video gaming industry too, especially in SIM-type games which require mass crowd interactions. An amusement park simulation game, for example, might model client routing through the park, ride selection (and the deterrent effects of long lines and ride pricing), consumer expenditure (food, drinks--with the later sometimes linked to the saltiness of the former), propensity to vomit (really! and often linked to food intake and the severity of the ride), proximity of washrooms, cleanliness (a function of janitorial staff numbers and routines), littering, crime rates, crowding, and "contagion" effects from the satisfaction/dissatisfaction of the crowd.

    Although there are a lot of invisible shortcuts and cheats involved (a lot of game AI doesn't really predict/respond, but peeks at information that ought to be realistically hidden from the agent), it is sophisticated stuff nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    Very interesting Mike. I seem to recall that a similar (or perhaps an early version of this) program was used recently to model the passage of elements of Lee's army through Gettysburgh in the hours leading up to the main battle. As Wilf says, even given the present status of AI, this is a tool with real and vast potential.

    When I saw your name Mike, I thought it was vaguely familiar, and now I see that you were from that other English-speaking regiment; welcome to the SWC. Haven't you published in the CAJ and a few other places already?
    Not me. There was at least one other Mike I serving in 1 PPCLI at the same time. Thanks for the greets. Nothing in CAJ, but just published Denial of Sanctuary: Understanding Terrorist Safe Havens (sorry, shameless plug), along with a few articles in SCT and Civil Wars.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Is there a difference between crowd modelling and animation?
    I'm pretty sure that Torrens demonstrates the how behind it - if you watch through the video on his site, there's a segment that demonstrates the sort of motion capture technology used to create characters for the big screen, using live models wired up to sensors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    but there is some GIS stuff coming from Google that is supposed to mimic these type of questions pretty close.
    Interesting point. I'm not a GIS specialist, but I see it increasingly being used for conflict modeling. Where things get tricky, at least for this technoramus, is figuring which tools to use for which environment. I keep harping about terrain complexity, but I don't think there's any avoiding the issue - developing some sort of framework understanding of it is the whole point of what we want to do with the Terrain Complexity Lab.

    To wit, from the new COIN FM (p. B-10):

    Terrain analysis in COIN includes the traditional examination of terrain’s effects on the movement of military units and enemy personnel. However, because the focus of COIN is on people, terrain analysis usually centers on populated areas and the effects of terrain on the people. Soldiers and Marines will likely spend a great deal of time in suburban and urban areas interacting with the populace. This is a three dimensional battlefield. Multistory buildings and underground lines of communication, such as tunnels or sewers, can be extremely important. Insurgents also commonly use complex natural terrain to their advantage as well. Mountains, caves, jungles, forests, swamps, and other complex terrain are potential bases of operation for insurgents.

    But this is the really interesting one (p. 3-15):


    Insurgents often seek to use complex terrain to their advantage. Collection managers do not ignore areas of complex terrain. In addition, insurgents use “seams” between maneuver units to their advantage. (Seams are boundaries between units not adequately covered by any unit.) Collection managers must have a means of monitoring seams in order to ensure the enemy cannot establish undetected bases of operation.

    And finally, from he who guided the crafting of the COIN FM, Gen. David Petraeus:

    We used to just focus on the military terrain... now we have to focus on the cultural terrain.


    Battlefield sim, or battlespace sim, would have to take into account all these esoteric considerations and operating planes. Theoretically, there are all sorts of postmodern perspectives that have poked at this - witness Foucault, Virilio, Baudrillard, Der Derian. Interesting to see the technology, at least bits and pieces of tech innovation, evolving and accumulating to the point where a "closed world" (imagine all this shiny digital kit applied, but in a surveillance society or global COIN context) becomes increasingly possible. These sims aren't the same as tracking technologies, but as predictive tools, they precede the tracking, and would therefore facilitate it.
    Last edited by Mike Innes; 01-25-2008 at 08:40 PM. Reason: Left out a detail
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    Default Correction

    I'm a boob. Paul Torrens is at Arizona State University, not the University of Arkansas, as I'd mentioned in the thread-opener post. My apologies to Torrens, my high school geography teacher, and my parents for embarrassing our ancestors.
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