The video represents how the US Military is preparing for the future of combat operations and why you should get the hell out of the cities. These future Megacities present a major shift in military strategy away from the typical rural environment that our forces are used to outside the country. It’s time to Flee the City!
(TheFirearmsBlog) A heavily urbanized future battlefield presents a number of problems for military planners. The United States Army in particular is in a transitional phase away from a tactical and strategic paradigm developed to fight the Soviet Union and towards one more geared towards counter-insurgency and peacekeeping. As elucidated in the video, however, future urban combat could be a different animal altogether to that seen in recent campaigns. The proliferation of smartphones alone presents a huge challenge, since one smartphone video can seriously negatively affect the legitimacy of a peacekeeping effort. Internet access gives immediate aid to insurgency groups on how to construct bombs and how best to fight allied forces. New media give radical voices a larger platform upon which to stand, potentially destabilizing at-risk regions beyond the tipping point. None of these technologies are, by themselves, bad. However, they do make the job of military forces operating in a war-torn urban region that much harder.
It is also not strictly accurate to say that urbanization will negate the lessons from Afghanistan, but if the predictions are true it certainly will color them a different shade. Instead of sharpshooters and machine guns engaging each other at extended ranges in open terrain, a heavily urbanized environment will produce highly situational combat. In a city, combat can range from up close and personal in a domicile to several hundred yards across a highway or between tall buildings. In urban warfare, smaller units may become separated from their parent units, and may therefore have to fight for long periods of time alone and without support. Adding to this problem, even minority insurgencies may be able to mount mass attacks that pose a substantial threat to smaller units, even if those units are much better trained and equipped. To counter these threads, not only will the individual weapons of the infantry need to be improved, but the precision, effectiveness, and integration of their support weapons – such as artillery and air-delivered ordnance – will need to be augmented as well.
Urbanization therefore poses as serious a problem for small arms and ammunition designers as it does army tacticians and organizers. Weapons must be short and maneuverable, but capable of medium/long range fire at the same time, without sacrificing ergonomics. Ammunition must be powerful enough to break through intermediate barriers, but light enough to allow small units to carry enough ammunition to fight independently for long periods of time if need be. Projectiles must be optimized for short-range destruction, but also capable of flying for long distances when needed.
It may be that the talk of “megacities” (which bring back memories of Judge Dredd comics) and other hyperbole in both the article and video make it difficult to take seriously the idea of a heavily urbanized future for infantry combat. However, there doesn’t seem to be a solid counter-argument to the fact that cities – especially in the third world – are expanding, and that urban combat and urban insurgencies have played key roles in recent conflicts. We don’t know what the future holds, of course, but it seems unlikely that current trends will reverse.