Small Wars Journal

Investing in Understanding Cities is Investing in National Security

Investing in Understanding Cities is Investing in National Security by Claudia ElDib and John Spencer - The Hill

Large, dense urban areas are both the engines of our economic prosperity and the locus of future national security challenges. As the world continues to grow more and more urban, challenges to the political stability and security in many cities around the world increases our own national security concerns…

Whatever the true global urbanizations figures are, the rise in importance of cities cannot be argued. From 2014 to 2016, the 300 largest metro areas in the world accounted for 67 percent of global gross domestic product growth. China’s enormous urban growth will soon produce clusters that will be home to 110-150 million people—three times the number of people, 40 million, who live in Tokyo, the world’s largest current cluster. This has caused the Chinese government to consider reorganizing their national governance structures into urban centered super-regions.

Cities have also become vulnerable to political violence. While governments struggle to govern and secure today’s rapidly growing and complex urban environments, insurgent and terrorist organizations have learned the advantages they can gain, negating the advanced technologies and weapons of military forces by fighting among the dense populations and structures of cities. This is most recently demonstrated by the fierce urban battles against ISIS in cities across Iraq and Syria.

It is surprising that with the rise of urban conflict and importance of cities, the U.S. military does not have any schools, research institutes, or major organizations solely focused on the study of and preparation for the full range of military operations in dense urban areas…

Read on.