Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Support to Urban Operations   [open pdf - 430KB]

From the monograph abstract: "This monograph addresses the research question: are there unique ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capabilities to support urban military operations? The desire to explore this research question is based on the conditions: (1) shift in demographics and economics to urban areas into 2030; (2) increase of U.S. military operations on the urban landscape since the 1990s; (3) potential use of urban areas by determined foes as an asymmetric approach; and (4) availability of literature questioning if there are adequate ISR capabilities to support urban military operations. The methodology for the research consists of a thorough literature review on the characteristics of an urban environment, especially the effects that it has on threat and friendly forces operations; ISR capabilities currently in the Army as well as part of ongoing research and development programs; and case studies of Grozny, Chechnya and Hue, Vietnam. Analysis of available literature was sufficient for making generalizations of the unique ISR capabilities required to support military operations on the urban terrain compared to the conventional, open battlefield. There is a need for innovative ISR capabilities on the modern urban battlefield. The challenge of operating on urban terrain is multi-dimensional. In contrast to open terrain, the urban landscape has limited open maneuver and observation areas with line of sight concerns because of the density of man-made structures and population, subterranean areas, and possibly natural terrain features. ISR capabilities in urban areas should include both human and technical assets, representing all the intelligence disciplines. As ISR systems are designed, there should be emphasis on as many collectors as possible to be unmanned; miniature, unobservable (stealthy); capable of transmitting what they see, hear, smell and/or sense through walls, windows, tunnels, and electrical conduits; and are part of a network centric architecture. The ongoing Army initiative to transform from a legacy force into an objective force offers an ideal window of opportunity to design and procure the ISR capabilities essential to support urban military operations."

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