Systems Approach to Urban Operations
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Systems Approach to Urban Operations

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David Sutherland
141 g
246x189x4 mm

This monograph describes a possible technique to allow military planners to identify key objectives that may be affected in gaining control of a city without destroying it. This technique involves viewing a city as a complex "system of systems" and offers the planner insights as to where to apply military means to achieve the desired ends. While much has been written on Effect Based Operations (EBO), this monograph attempts to "operationalize" the concept. It presents a planning technique to assist in identifying targets, understanding target interrelationships, and analyzing second and third order effects. This study uses the urban environment to present this planning technique. The primary research question is: Is it possible to seize and control a city without destroying it? The secondary question is: Is there a systems approach process to achieve military success in an urban environment? The purpose of this paper is to provide the operational commander with an approach to manage the complexity of the urban environment. It should provide the reader with a systems approach that is grounded in doctrine, a methodology to reduce complexity, and a practical planning approach to assist in urban operations. The systems approach discussed in this paper allows commanders to seize control of a city without destroying it. The approach can be seen as a graduated response matrix where critical requirements are affected in sequence in order to achieve a desired result. While it is impossible to determine to which threshold the adversary would relinquish his control of the city (aim), the systems approach does provide a method to gradually reach that threshold. In addition, the systems approach allows commanders to war-game and record the effects of an action throughout the entire greater system. This provides the commander with an analysis tool that captures potential second and third order effects that may or may not be desired. This is a technique that should be incorporate