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Due to space constraints, only the executive summary for this article was published in the July 2005 volume of the SWJ Magazine.  The full article is provided here.

Preparing for Future Joint Urban Operations:

The Role of Simulations and the Urban Resolve Experiment


Editor’s Note (from SWJ Magazine).

Dr. Wielhouwer’s excellent article is posted in its full length on our website. It includes a concise discussion of the “urbanization trend” of future war, and reports thoroughly on the Joint Urban Operations concept and the direction of JFCOM’s Urban Resolve.  As Dr. Wielhouwer states, “we have seen the future war, and it is urban.”  Please read his complete article on our site for valuable insights into the future Joint Warfighter.

Executive Summary

Operations in urban areas have long perplexed military planners, and military analyses predict extensive urban operations for the foreseeable future. Even analyses of the recent urban operations in Iraq recommend significant revision of future training efforts for the conduct of urban operations, emphasizing the need for improved modeling and simulation of urban terrain. While the historic approach has generally been to avoid cities or wage massive campaigns of attrition, it is clear that urban areas can not be avoided and that modern sensibilities chafe at widespread collateral damage.

 This paper discusses recent developments in the area of joint urban operations concept development and experimentation, arguing that initiatives under way at U.S. Joint Forces Command have great potential for improving preparation for urban conflict. The paper first discusses the context for new thinking and doctrine on joint urban operations, including analysis of recent data on patterns of global urbanization and U.S. troop deployment and responses. The strategies being used for assessing urban operations concepts are presented, including preliminary detailed results from the ongoing Urban Resolve experiment and its application of cutting-edge modeling and simulation technologies.

Briefly, Urban Resolve’s breakthrough first phase, completed in October, 2004, convinced senior leaders that its experimental approach and tools could be applied across a wider range of venues to assist the Defense Department with current ‘real world’ problems. Urban Resolve has thus been expanded to assess nascent urban capabilities and to immediately address current challenges, such as the unconventional use of mortars in Iraqi cities. Urban Resolve and its associated modeling and simulation capabilities are thus important support elements in the current approach to training and preparing U.S. forces for joint urban operations.

Download the full article. (PDF)

Dr. Peter Wielhouwer is in the Command and Operations Group for JFCOM / J9 with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems

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