"City Wars: U.S. soldiers conduct urban training at Camp Blanding, Florida. Army planners believe future battles will be fought in 'megacities' of 20 million or more people." (Caption courtesy armytimes.com, photo courtesy Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell/ / Army)

“When the Army looks to the future, it sees cities,” armytimes.com reports. “Dense, sprawling, congested cities where criminal and extremist groups flourish almost undetected by authorities, but who can influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state. And the service is convinced that these ‘megacities’ of 20 million or more people will be the battleground of the future.” Paging Alex Jones! I assume the Army’s preparing for mega-city warfare in cities outside the U.S., and that U.S. soldiers would refuse to “pacify” American conurbations, but capability is capability. Check out the Army’s big city game plan . . .

Its annual Unified Quest war game, the Army gamed out a scenario in which it would put boots on the ground.

The Army team fought through what it envisions a battle in a massive city would look like around 2030. The impetus for U.S. action was a humanitarian disaster caused in part by the breaking of a dam, which broke down critical parts of the local state apparatus, while armed groups jumped into the fray to further destabilize the situation.

The Red Team representing these groups did several things to test the players representing the Army, including evading U.S. technological superiority by using anti-access techniques, conducting malware-like and electronic warfare attacks, and “expanding these battlegrounds into other contested spaces like organized crime and politics,” said ARCIC chief Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

McMaster said one of the primary aims of the game was to generate ways to “extend the reach of the [infantry] squad so the squad can see and fight over a wider area” than it can now. That tracks with other Odierno initiatives in recent years to make infantry squads more lethal and more autonomous.

Are we having fun yet? While the Army is preparing to fight terrorists or terrorist armies or terrorist nations embedded in big cities, who gets to define terrorists when – not if – when we experience another large scale attack on the “homeland”?

“The emergence of unregulated cities, or zones of disadvantage where traditional rule of law models do not apply, within otherwise functional cities, provides a potential haven for organized crime, terrorists and insurgents, from which they can organize and launch operations,” the analysis concluded.

Escape from New York? Or shelter in place?

117 Responses to U.S. Army Prepares to Pacify Really Big Cities

  1. No, we’re not having fun yet.

    Good luck duking out in the city, too, ladies n’ germs, where fire can and will come from literally anywhere and everywhere at all times. Apparently we never learned that lesson from.. well.. anywhere that we’ve been.

    • A megacity (Google “slurb” for the older school term) consists of the Inner city and surrounding suburbs. Think of the continuous urban sprawl between Boston and Norfolk. That will be a megacity by 2030.

      BTW, 2030 is just less than four Presidential administrations away. Sleep well, kidz.

      • Makes you think about the Judge Dredd stories from 2000AD magazine where Mega-City 1 is the entire eastern seaboard of the former United States. Someone had a good look at the future.

  2. While the fact they’re training for larger scale urban operations (Yay MOUT training! *gag*) ahead of any demonstrable need is alarming, I find the idea that the DoD actually has deemed it necessary a bit more frightening. A complete breakdown in infrastructure in a large urban environment would require a near cataclysmic event. Or a redefinition of the term “terrorist.”

  3. And what about the armed groups that “jump into the frey” to help keep law and order? Or are they just another armed group? Or those of us who would “lock and load” to protect against the Army?

    • They label such people as extremist and terrorist.
      I like to think that the backbone of the army would never fight american citizens in american cities, but who knows. Sometimes people are afraid to say no.

    • Supercop who couldn’t figure out use the three seashells?

      (Sandra Bullock says the three seashells are futuristic bidet controls.)

      • The Stallone version of Dredd doesn’t count. (And you’re talking Demolition Man anyway, though both were equally sucky so it’s easy to see how the mistake could be made) Stallone’s Dredd doesn’t count because Judge Dredd took his helmet off. Judge Dredd never takes his helmet off. I’m referring to both the original comics and the excellent Karl Urban film adaptation.

  4. Am I missing something? It sure looks to me that in that picture, GI Joe in the middle has his weapon pointed at the guy on the left.
    Jeesh, give a kid a weapon and a uniform and let him go play army!

  5. Obviously, they will have to divide the large population down into more manageable sectors. The old city will become slums, while the corporations build up top. Political dissent will be ruthlessly crushed. The life of the planet will be sucked away! Welcome to Midgar, bitches!

    – AVALANCHE

  6. The whole US Army may be able to handle 2 to 4 big major cities , but even that would make the Army be spread too thin to handle a hundred or more small cities or towns and the country side would be no mans land…….no way can they handle everything……. They could not handle the after effects of a EMP Attack… and you could add all the Marines and National Guard and all police of all levels local, state, federal could NOT HANDLE it and with in 1 year 80% of all Americans would be dead of HUNGER , and gang rule….

    • Don’t forget lack of medication. How many Americans rely daily on Statins, Insulin and Thyroid drugs just to stay alive? Never mind antibiotics for when we get sick or infected. Thanks to modern pharma there are a lot of folks alive who would never have survived in past eras – interrupt the supply of drugs for even six months, and they are all gone.

      • Of the three drug categories you mentioned, only daily regular insulin is essential to survival. If you go without thyroid hormone or statins, your short term survival is unaffected. You can go foronths to years without them. Things like immune modulators for allergies, autoimmune disease, asthma or some cancers are more critical (and vastly more expensive and with more limited shelf lives), cardiovasculat meds for blood pressute, heart failure and high blood pressure are more necessary, as are meds for controlling seizures.
        Antibiotics are important, but only when there is an infection to treat.

        • Since so many of the statins and diabetes drugs are due to the persons inactivity, that will change simply because you must now be active in your search for food and supplies or else, so maybe not as great a reduction as you may think!

    • This, so much this. People really do not realize how small the military is these days, even prior to the current military drawdown. Especially compared to its size during the cold war. The entire US military has only 9 infantry divisions and one cavalry divisions. That’s tiny. That’s not enough to successfully occupy one large state in the US. In world war two size that’s only roughly 3 corps, maybe 2 depending on the theater, barley enough to make an “army” as in the codified element sized term, (like 1st army, 2nd army ect..) And its getting even smaller- If the government was truly “preparing for a take over” of the Untied States to impose marshall law it would not be shrinking this already infantismly small force. Even staked on top of the NG, Reserves, and all the police and federal military, there is simply not enough man power to “lock down” the country. Major cities? yeah, they MIGHT be able to, that’s a big might.

  7. Before everyone goes all Alex Jones, let’s stop and think for a bit.

    The recent Iraq war involved fighting in a number of large cities – the Army especially wasn’t ready for it, at least it part because of the disbanding of the 7th Light Infantry Division, who were the Army’s urban specialists, during the Clinton Admin. Now that valuable lessons have been learned, at a huge cost in blood and treasure, they should just all be lost?

    McMaster is one of the smartest Army officers of the last 50 years – I was happy to note that he was still in uniform. I figured Obama would have canned all the smart officers.

    Most folks here oppose the militarization of the cops. I know I do. But if a city like L.A really did go Mad Max, even temporarily, and the Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings and others are all going at each other hammer and tongs, then who are you going to send in? Barney Fife? That would become a job for the military, and better skilled professionals than jumpy Guardsmen.

    Who says that this is supposed to be a domestic scenario – it sounds a lot like what my friends experienced in Sarajevo in the early 1990s, including a blurring of the lines between heavily armed militias and organized crime, though without the cool hacking technology.

    No officer with half a cerebral cortex WANTS to engage in urban combat – it chews up men and gear like nothing else, but that does not excuse the military from the need to train to confront likely scenarios. Anyway, I’d trust the US military to do the right thing far more than I would Homeland Security or the DOJ.

    • Thank you! I for one can attest to the fact that my own CoC and fellow soldiers would be beside themselves with rage if ordered to conduct any operations against law-abiding and freedom loving American citizens.

    • Personally I think we need to face the awful truth. The Truth About Guns is just no longer an appropriate name for this site.

    • One word about city fighting: STALINGRAD

      Until then the Germans bypassed cities and left them for follow up forces. Getting into city fighting destroyed the 6th Army.

      • I can think of some times when the US Armed Forces did engage in street fighting in cities. Aachen, Koln, Ruhr ( multi-cities), Trier, and other German cities. The Ruhr in WWII would fit the description of a mega city. Street fighting was tough for our guys in WWII. I suppose smaller cities in Vietnam and Korea might count, especially during Tet. I do know that the AK-47 was sort of designed with the thought of fighting in post WWII European cities I have read in detail the street fighting in Aachen and Koln, it was pretty gritty. I know there are videos of Pershing versus Panther and the associated fire fights in Koln on You Tube. You can watch first hand.

    • then who are you going to send in?

      Send in no one. Ultimately, individuals are responsible for their own safety. That’s part of the basis for protections on the right to keep and bear arms. That’s also why staunchly defending shall not be infringed is mission critical. Government creates problems by disarming the People and then offers solutions like increasing the numbers of militarized law enforcement officers and domestic invasion plans for regular military. Our military is responsible for repelling bona fide invaders, not redefined terrorists or criminals.

      • That’s BS. It’s important for one to be able to provide for one’s own security and welfare during an “interruption” in government services, but that does not excuse the government from its obligation to exercise basic policing and law and order duties.

        • Government privilege ends when it unnecessarily (and sometimes arbitrarily) interferes with the individual rights of the People. Our own government crossed that line a long time ago. Our government’s only purpose was to secure the rights of the individual. That is the reason it was created and defined by our Constitution. Our government has outgrown the document and has become something other than our legitimate government. Call BS until the cows come home if you want. Living in statist Connecticut, I don’t expect you to see that or even understand it.

    • That and the military wargames for EVERYTHING. Absolutely every thing you could imagine they wargame for. Local revolution? Yup, Mexican invasion? Yup, Sudden nuclear war with Russia? Yup, war with China? You betcha! Alien invasion? YES! even an alien invasion they wargame for. They’ve been doing this since the end of world war two, and have a reason for each. This little issue in particular has been on the military’s list for 20 years now.

    • Meh – they’ll be put up on the shelf to accumulate dust until someone at a war college somewhere discovers them. Rinse and repeat.

      • But…, before rinsing (even the ‘hot wash’ after the exercise) let’s telegraph our results against specific “red” team effectiveness and how easy it was for red to engage and disrupt blue. Don’t leave the bad-guy to think for himself. Why can’t we just say, the “red” team tried what might, and the “blue” team had to be fire-hosed 90 seconds in to keep the actual body count down at the infirmary. “Pentagon to release new directives on reducing viciousness of enemy KIA desecration (but, in light of recent treatment by the enemy recently encountered on today’s battlefields, they’re more of a “guideline”).”

  8. most of the my time in Viet Nam was in what was called a FREE FIRE ZONE ….Yes would get very wild ,,,We made our rules or no rules,,I do not understand today’s military policy seems like a PLAN to LOSE or never win. also sounds like George Orwell’s 1984 … may be that is their guide…….

    • I sincerely hope the irony of a Vietnam veteran calling today’s military strategy a “plan to lose” is not lost on you.

    • One thing I always pointed out to fellow planners – The best plans always contain the same last step: “When all of the above fail, make something up and do it.”

      • Yes but 1984 is starting to look like American policy ………You do know …that the CFR runs Amerika not congress or Obama….and has for a long time …that’s why American policy has no rules at all and is never run for the better of the American people …We are the money bags and blood and guts for the NEW WORLD ORDER……

  9. Escape from N.Y. definately, though I need to move there before I can escape from there. Should get the leather coat, the Coreburner and of course the eyepatch. I have already the goatee.

    If I’m going to do it, then I am going to do it right.

  10. One can only hope these training scenarios are for other nations … although I am really perplexed to understand why the U.S. military should be in something like Mexico City or some other megacity.

    If there were widespread chaos and collapse in a U.S. megacity due to some cataclysmic event, that is a job for the local militia under the control of local officers. Anything else is most likely an invasion under color of law.

    That is why we should own firearms and be proficient in their use. On a small scale, good responsible armed people may prevent wholesale collapse after a disaster. On a medium scale, good responsible armed people may be called to restore order in their community. On a large scale, good responsible armed people may have to repel an invasion, whether the invaders are from a foreign nation or something like domestic Homeland Security “police” who have come to disrupt our lives “for our own good”.

  11. By the time my area could grow to even approach that size, I will be retired to a backwater that only approaches 4 digit population figures in the summer, or during deer season.

  12. extremist groups flourish almost undetected by authorities, but who can influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state.

    People have the right to exist and speak “undetected” and unmolested by government. They also have the right to influence the lives of the population and even undermine the “authority” of the state. Tyrants might not agree but each citizen of this nation is duty bound to fight tyranny. Our government has grown too large and our people have grown too complacent in their acceptance of big government.

    • You discovered the key phrases in the entire article – bravo! BTW, the UK was a participant in the party. Sort of like the Education With Industry program.

    • Wow, that is huge … and I totally missed it.

      This is simply another presentation of the “state is Almighty God” paradigm.

  13. These guys are really into pandering to the greens and the Left: “the problems found in megacities (explosive growth rates, vast and growing income disparity and a security environment that is increasingly attractive to the politically dispossessed) are landpower….” Wow, I think these guys have been watching too many movies: Blade Runner, Fifth Element, Robocop.

    Alternately, maybe their whole concept here is to rescue the ACS crap camo from the dung heap of history. The concrete battle field of the future requires we be ready to fight in that area.

    • Wow, I think these guys have been watching too many movies: Blade Runner, Fifth Element, Robocop.

      I think you’d be really surprised at how much movie plots play into these oplans and exercises.

  14. NY is the only metro area in the US with a population of 20million. But it likely could use some civilizin’. Perhaps DOD just picked 20million to “avoid” that objection to planning.

    The entire existing (combat) troop strength of the Army/USMC is pathetic and not capable of conducting large scale operations. With the current Obuma drawdown much has been make of the lowest # of troops since 1940 but have ignored that most 1939 strength was combat arms. Not true today. Now have WAY more ash/trash REMFs than riflemen/tankers/cannoncockers. In 1939 there were no girls soldiers or queers in/degrading the strength/effectiveness of the force. And “lead” by an incompetent, indecisive, eunuch and his band of misfit isolationist fools.

    If you think the Chinese, Russians (of the misc morons in the Mideast) are not well aware of this you are kidding yourself. Worry about what is happening overseas that needs the attention a the show/use of force. It’s not domestic use that is the concern.

    Gorilla operations in a MOUT environment have always proven to NOT out for work for the insurgent with a credible opponent. MOUT offensive operations against a dug in convention defense is a very very expensive undertaking (as Stalingrad etc).

    • I had female turret gunners in my Army unit in Baghdad, they killed the hell out of people. Some of the Females were worthless too, but there were plenty of Males that were just as worthless. We also had two gay Soldiers in my unit that conducted themselves with honor. I was always happy that we had the gay medic with us out on patrol or during an operation. She was a tough lady that saved a lot of people. You’re thinking in black and white, which does not reflect the real world. Someone’s gender or sexuality does not determine whether or not they put rounds down range.
      NWIllinois

  15. Not only that, their new ROE calls for SNIPING UNARMED PROTESTERS, not rioters, political protesters: https://info.publicintelligence.net/USArmy-CivilDisturbances-2014.pdf

    including how to escalate, and what part of the body to target: even Nazis didn’t actually have the gall to write this shit down, officiate it into an actual US Army manual.

    We’re not de facto, we are a de jure martial law policestate, since 1933, when FDR put national emergencies act in place, later updated under Carter admin, since renewed every year, by EVERY SINGLE POTUS including Obama: http://youtu.be/fEdHmPeCHVo

    “State of Emergency” is just legalese euphemism for the gullible, historically amnesic, ‘govt’s always puppies & bunnies’-gullible soccer mom sheeple, for “martial law.”

  16. I don’t know about that “capability is capability” argument. The same could be used against lawful gun owners. Seems like the main argument behind magazine capacity limits.

  17. With this do nothing, say everything president and his cronies anything is possible. We have seen large cities all over the world go down in flames. The right combination of political, ideological and economic factors could cause it to happen here.
    It just might in the next ten years.
    When you have a government that lists Christians , gun owners, and right wing thinkers as domestic terror groups instead of street gangs, foreign and domestic Islamic fighters…….the problem is real.

  18. The military and police would need far less gear and authority if the militia was well regulated and took care of its own responsibilities..

    If people didn’t shirk their responsibilities as de-facto members of the militia and if they remained “well regulated” with modern equipment, then extremist groups wouldn’t be able to take hold in cities here or elsewhere. That’s the way this country is designed, whether the extremist group is another government, an ideological group, organized crime, a corrupt government, or a combination of these things. If shop and home owners were armed enough to protect each of their little bits of property from riots, then we wouldn’t need riot police capable of subduing a city. If the people in Boston were well enough equipped they’d have been able to check their own back yards and houses for the Tsarnaevs.

    The failure of citizens to live up to these responsibilities en-masse and their lazy out-sourcing of their personal responsibilities to police has caused this problem. Since the number of police is small in comparison to the population they are picking up the slack for, they have found a need to militarize (the citizens won’t, so someone has to!). And next we’ll need something for the military to do, so we’ll give them more domestic power to pick up for more of the citizen’s slack. There’s more slack to pick up for than the military and police could every pick up, so this will justify an un-ending amount of gear and power. If we could have just one more tank, one less civil protection, we’ll finally be able to have 1 cop pick up the slack for 1000 citizens. Ultimately no matter how much gear they have and how much freedom you don’t, they won’t have enough in numbers to do the job.

    We could avoid all of this if everyone would simply stop freeloading with respect to their responsibilities to be ready to band together and fight extremist groups themselves. Like they are supposed to. Nothing would be more powerful and harder to corrupt than the overwhelming numbers of every able bodied adult with a small amount of gear distributed everywhere throughout the country.

    • Obviously somebody has decided to interpret the second amendment in a way contrary to its writing. It in no way implies that the people would be the well-regulated militia. By the nature of the term “well-regulated” it can be automatically understood that it cannnot made up of the people at large. “Well-regulated” is completely at odds with the concept of the people at large, and with the concept of completely uninfringed ownership of arms.
      The well-regulated militia was a threat to the people, not the militia of the people. The unorganized militia of the people at large are armed to counter the threat.

      • Well regulated meant “well equipped” in the parlance of the day, not “controlled or managed by the state”. This language is not historically controversial. What I am talking about is a “well equipped” disorganized militia, same as you. So I think your gripe is erroneous.

        • Keep trying. Nothing could be further from the truth. Think of regulated, like on old-fashioned pendulum clocks. It meant to be made regular, as in similar in training, equipment, and doctrine. But you are not the first, nor will you be the last, to reinterpret the constitution to your own ends.
          It isn’t a gripe, and it isn’t erroneous. just think of it as education that costs you nothing. Well-regulated never meant well-equipped. Never. Similarly equipped, yes, and more. Much more.
          You can find more information on the well-regulated militia in the Constitution under powers of Congress. Read it sometime.

        • Regardless of the many definitions of “well regulated” (which include “well equipped” and “well stocked” during the time period), you should have no issue with my sentiments expressed (unless you object to the philosophy of RKBA). If more people took care of their own business, then we’d need less militarized police to take care of it for them.

        • I have zero problems with the rkba. I have problems with those who misinterpret the constitution
          For you to connect the two concepts is inane.

  19. Well Regulated

    The Random House College Dictionary (1980) gives four definitions for the word “regulate,” which were all in use during the Colonial period and one more definition dating from 1690 (Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1989). They are:

    1) To control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.
    2) To adjust to some standard or requirement as for amount, degree, etc.

    3) To adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation.

    4) To put in good order.

    [obsolete sense]
    b. Of troops: Properly disciplined. Obs. rare-1.

    1690 Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3 We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.

    We can begin to deduce what well-regulated meant from Alexander Hamilton’s words in Federalist Paper No. 29:

    The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss.
    — The Federalist Papers, No. 29.
    From Guncite.

  20. 2030 huh? I hope America exists and is not a Chinese province or the middle of NorthAmericaLand. Brought to you by the antiChrist. There’s a lot of American cities who would fight military incursion. And nope I don’t trust individual soldiers or cops to “do the right thing”.

      • I tend to agree with you. The major symptoms presented around 1861 and by 1865 the writing was on the wall, IMHO. By that time it was established that this was no longer a voluntary union of states. It was only a matter of time before that paradigm was shifted onto the individual. Citizens are but a commodity of those wielding financial and political power. Ironically, the guise of ending slavery was instrumental in eventually enslaving future generations.The reason for the nation ceased to be about Liberty a long time before we were even born.

  21. My money is on some midwesterners or southerners with deer rifles vs 19 year Olds still wet behind the ears. Sorry, but unless they plan to start dropping jdams on us in the Midwest, this crap won’t fly in flyover country

    • Even if they do start dropping JDAMS, that’s when we “grab them by the beltbuckle” like the NVA, and get so close that their own firepower kills just as many of us as it does them.

  22. Boston Strong was a test drive; pacifying a dumbed down and socially conditioned population will be met with cheers and support from those being pacified.

    • Yup, just like flight 370 was the testing of a new illuminati weapon, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was to test a new illuminati tactic, ISIS is the CIA because Al Ciada wasn’t doing enough, sandy hook was to give the UN the authority to launch Agenda 21, and 9/11 was government run to trick everyone into a war in the middle east. The real answers to these questions couldn’t be that the world is a messy, violent, stupid, chaotic place. That’s just preposterous.

  23. Keep Calm and Chilly, POTG.
    ARCIC is the think tank for the Army- looking ahead 20 years.

    This is a table-top exercise- seminars, symposia, computer simulations at the end.
    http://www.army.mil/article/131994/

    Theres no doctrine decided, war plans, manuals, tactics drafted, and no training of boots on the ground.

    According to the Australian scenario described, they are looking at megacities in littorals, taken over by corrupt druglords, criminal gangs, terrorists, where there are strategic reasons for the US to project power *- a maritime chokepoint, strategic resources, like oil and gas lines. Singapore/Straits of Malacca, Cairo/Suez Canal, Instanbul/Bosphorus Strait. Panama City/Canal.

    Even those will be non-starters. Remember Fallujah? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah

    Even Progtards could never apply it to the US. They aren’t coming after the gun guys. Remember Yamamoto’s “rifleman behind every blade of grass” quote. Thats assuming the military would turn on US civilians en masse. Not gonna happen.

    This *might* be used as a rescue situation, to save the progtards locked up in skyscrapers while angry LIVs and neo OWStards protested for food, etc. San Francisco, LA, New York, Miami, are candidates given demographics and politicians in place now.

  24. ““Dense, sprawling, congested cities where criminal and extremist groups flourish almost undetected by authorities, but who can influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state.”

    That’s… kind of disturbing really that they would choose that particular wording.

  25. I couldn’t even read the article. I just stopped at the photo of the 2nd in the stack muzzling the first.
    I’m not military, is that supposed to happen?

  26. Honestly. The combination of a large city, a dam breaking, and ensuing chaos and lawlessness makes me think of one place in particular, Iraq. The Mosul Dam is a ticking time bomb because it wasn’t built properly and there are serious issues with internal erosion. If the dam broke, Mosul would be under 65 feet of water, Baghdad would be under 15 feet and there would probably be a half a million people dead. It would plunge the country into so much chaos the current situation would look easy in comparison.

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