Capital Preservation: Preparing for Urban Operations in the by Russell Glenn

By Russell Glenn

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Extra resources for Capital Preservation: Preparing for Urban Operations in the Twenty-First Century--Proceddings of the RAND Arroyo-TRADOC-MCWL-OSD Urban Operations Conference, March 22-23, 2000 (Documented Briefing)

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Armed forces that ignore this relationship may succeed in accomplishing military tasks only to fail in serving political objectives. Yet even military success is not assured; history demonstrates that the demands of urban combat pose a vital threat to a force’s capital: its manpower, equipment, and sustenance. Fighting in urban areas can precipitate extraordinary losses of men and equipment and ensuing policy failure. In many ways, then, success in the conduct of military operations means preserving capital: that of the citizens living in a city, of the infrastructure on which they depend, and of the force itself.

The following briefings stimulate other observations with immediate implications for strategic and operational planning. In his discussion of urban riots in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colonel Jim Greer observed that tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) were far superior to wheeled systems in meeting the unpredictable conditions confronted during those actions. The IFV’s neutral steer capability (the ability to rotate the tracks on each side of the vehicle in different directions so as to turn it around within a single vehicle length) allowed rapid movement out of a restricted area and intimidated hostile crowds.

As already noted, Internal Affairs Ministry forces were tasked with creating the outer ring of control coinciding with the Chechen Republic border and with protecting the rear of the army forces. Army forces were to advance from that outer ring inwards, transferring authority to Internal Affairs Ministry forces as they captured territory and eventually entered Grozny where the procedure would be repeated. To accomplish this, the armed forces were divided into the three groups described on the following pages, each to advance on Grozny from a different direction: Vladikavkaz, Mozdok, and Kizliar.

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