From the Archives, 2016
In urban environments, the playing field is levelled between the conventional armies and insurgents
BE IT ALEPPO or Damascus, Mosul or Ramadi, or even Eastern Ukraine, combatants in today’s conflicts are frequently fighting in and over urban areas.
The decision to wage war in cities is driven in part by modern military technology. Frequently, lightly equipped insurgent forces simply cannot survive on open terrain against even a moderately well-equipped conventional force. Their forte is the close combat that is best found in cityscapes.
Urban areas provide an abundance of cover, like walls, basements, sewers and piles of rubble, that frequently negate the advanced sensors and smart technology of 21stCentury militaries. Such obstacles transform urban engagements into short-ranged wars of attrition, which offset the advantages conventional armies normally enjoy in more open environments. Civilian populations only add additional challenges for armies given prevailing modern international norms on non-combatant casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure. This makes cities even more desirable battlegrounds for non-state actors as fighting in such settings raises the costs for the states that are trying to dislodge them.
The Birth of Urban Warfare
Historians can trace this collision of urban terrain and modern military technology back to the mid-19th century.
In the 1800s, as industrializing cities expanded, traditional defensive walls were rendered impractical. Advances in the range and destructiveness of artillery made such fortifications obsolete. Urban warfare began the shift from the protracted siege of the Middle Ages to the street-to street fighting of the modern era. Of course sieges still occurred (e.g., Paris 1870, Leningrad 1941 to 1944) but more often, battles were being fought within the cities themselves (e.g., Stalingrad 1942, Manila 1945, Seoul 1950, Hue 1968).
Cities: The Level Playing Field
Unfortunately for conventional armies, breakthroughs in weaponry made for modern mass armies that were better suited for war on open ground. Smooth-bore muskets, rarely effective beyond 100 meters, gave way to bolt-action rifles and machine guns that could cut down masses of men out to 1,000 meters with unprecedented rates of fire. Tanks and ground attack aircraft (both fixed and rotary wing) were also made for wide open environments.
But in urban environments, the playing field is levelled between conventional armies and insurgents. This is not to say guerrilla forces can prevail against advanced militaries, but they can inflict significant (if not intolerable) losses on their conventional opponents, even while taking grievous casualties in the process. In rare cases, insurgents might even give as well as they get (e.g., Chechen rebels in Grozny in 1995). Yet sometimes even just killing a few enemy soldiers can be enough to deliver a movement a strategic victory (e.g., Mogadishu 1993).
So the next time you see a news report of insurgents fighting in urban terrain, consider both why they chose to fight there and look for how the conventional opponents are seeking to overcome the challenges of that difficult terrain.
Dr. Alec Wahlman is an analyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia. His recently released book, Storming the City, assesses U.S. military performance in four major urban battles from WWII to Vietnam.
Read the Remainder at Military History Now
From the Archives, 2016.
When Martial Law begins steam-rolling in these larger cities across the CONUS, this is just one of the tools Uncle Sam will unleash to either arrest or plant “protesters” (ie Domestic Terrorist).
Considering how technology like this grows and sharpens itself exponentially, it would behoove the martial citizen to consider how something like this can be abused and in turn, circumvented when the time comes.
The program is called Deep Intermodal Video Analytics—or DIVA—and it seeks to locate shooters and terrorists before they strike.
The intelligence community is working on amping up people-recognition power to spot, in live videos, shooters and potential terrorists before they have a chance to attack.
Part of the problem with current video surveillance techniques is the difficulty of recognizing objects and people, simultaneously, in real-time.
But Deep Intermodal Video Analytics, or DIVA, a research project out of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will attempt to automatically detect suspicious activities, with the help of live video pouring in through multiple camera feeds.
ODNI’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency is gathering academics and private sector experts for a July 12 “Proposers’ Day,” in anticipation of releasing a work solicitation.
“The DIVA program will produce a common framework and software prototype for activity detection, person/object detection and recognition across a multicamera network,”IARPA officials said in a synopsis of the project published June 3. “The impact will be the development of tools for forensic analysis, as well as real-time alerting for user-defined threat scenarios.”
In other words, the tech would scour incoming video surveillance and body-camera imagery from areas of interest for people and objects who could present a threat, or individuals and items that might have been involved in a past crime.
This is the type of video-recognition system that might have been used for identifying would-be suicide bombers before the Paris and Brussels attacks, some video analytics experts say.
Privacy laws in the United States and Europe differ, so it is unclear whether such activity-recognition software would have been legal to use on video around the time of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Nextgov has contacted ODNI for comment.
Read the Remainder at Defense One
With things heating up all over, the Martial Citizen needs to unplug from the 24 hour propaganda feed and EVALUATE his state of readiness beginning with Counter-Surveillance.
To get your mind in the right direction, I pulled these two articles from the Archives on the subject of Counter-Drone techniques and Technology.
Train Up. Study Up.
The Fight is not “Coming”, the fight is HERE!
In a single word: YOU are responsible for both your Safety as well as your Privacy!
Plan now how you are going to guard against these things.
There is a ton of information out there but here is a decent article to start with on hiding and disabling drones.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!
This is an interesting and very funny article for the simple fact it raises some very important questions for the Civilian Operator who wants to keep his Private life well, PRIVATE: How do we not only LEGALLY combat DRONES that violate our Privacy around our homes and businesses but also PHYSICALLY Combat Drones that violate our Privacy?
Bottom line: Think like an Insurgent and use Deception and Deceit (and some other very creative methods)
Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!