Cover: Street Smart

Street Smart

Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield for Urban Operations

Published 2002

by Jamison Jo Medby, Russell W. Glenn


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Urban operations are highly complex because of the multitudes of people and structures as well as the density of the city's infrastructure. These same features complicate the intelligence and decisionmaking processes associated with military operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB), the Army's longstanding methodology for incorporating and analyzing relevant information for all types of operations, is currently not effective for tackling the operational and intelligence challenges of urban operations. This study defines some of the challenges faced by commanders and their staffs when conducting urban IPB. It describes methods that can be incorporated into current IPB to address these problems. Many of the methods and tools introduced seek to analyze the contextual and threat effects posed by civilians on the battlefield. The research suggests ways to categorize the terrain and infrastructure of the urban environment and incorporate this information into planning and decisionmaking processes. The authors make recommendations on how the Army can improve the IPB process to better address the difficulties of conducting operations on urban terrain.

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