“U.S. land forces will eventually find themselves locked in fights within huge, dense urban environments where skyscrapers tower over enormous shanty towns, and these troops need more realistic training to operate within these future megacities,” Brigadier General Julian Alford of the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory explained earlier this month, as reported by Defense News.
Source: The Four-Floor War – BLDGBLOG
Perhaps the single greatest weakness of the 1980s AirLand Battle doctrine was its steadfast refusal to address Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain (MOUT). A clash between the mechanized forces of NATO and the USSR would be swift moving, and, so the doctrine thought, fought outside the cities.
At both the tactical and operational level, the US Army was ill prepared for operations in cities.
That was something of a rude surprise as far back as Operation Just Cause, the US invasion of Panama in 1989, where troops found themselves having to devise their own doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures to clear high rise office and apartment buildings in downtown Panama City.
The success of AirLand Battle doctrine in Desert Storm just two years later meant the Army could sweep the issues of urban warfare under the rug again for a few more years.
It wasn’t until after the disastrous fights in Mogadishu in 1998, and operations in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 that the Army decided it had to intellectually address how to fight in cities.