Conflict Environment Task Force (Implications of Third World Urban Involvement   [open pdf - 8MB]

"The Defense Science Board Conflict Environment Task Force was formed at the request of General John W. Vessey, USA, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff in February 1985. It was charged [...] to examine problems of support for control and management of large urban areas, especially in the Third World, but not issues of military seizure and defense. [...] We were posed four questions. What are the control and management implications of existing, albeit possibly damaged, elements of the urban infrastructure--physical, economic and social? What are current DoD capabilities in the areas of intelligence, engineering, civil affairs and psychological operations? How good is the fit between U.S. operational concepts, capabilities and Third World urban realities? What changes are needed in those concepts and capabilities? [...] History tells us that the most likely situations U.S. forces will face abroad are those we now label (perhaps euphemistically) as low intensity conflicts and used to call 'small wars' or 'military expeditions short of war.' These interventions usually take place in the Third World, which is substantially urbanized and increasingly so. Avoiding passage through, use of, or presence in Third World cities may amount to avoiding intervention. [...] Much of what will happen in the urban area lies well outside the control of U.S., forces or the U.S. Government. That makes it all the more important to foster realistic anticipation of what is likely to happen in the urban area and contribute to influence at the margin open to the U.S."

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