Honing the Keys to the City: Refining the United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Force for Urban Ground Combat Operations

by Russell W. Glenn, Jamison Jo Medby, Scott Gerwehr, Frederick J. Gellert, Andrew O'Donnell


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U.S. forces have little live-fire experience with urban warfare, and much of that experience is dated (Hue, South Vietnam, in 1968 and Panama City, Panama, in 1989) or more suited as a negative example (Mogadishu, Somalia). This report seeks to identify current shortfalls in the area of urban ground combat reconnaissance and provide input to assist in the creation of urban combat reconnaissance tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) for the U.S. Marine Corps. The authors discuss four distinct challenges: the constant adaptation demanded by the environment, the complexity of tactical ground reconnaissance in built-up areas, the extraordinary demands of urban operations on military personnel, and the unique demands of these operations on equipment and technology. The analysts' main purpose is to narrow the gap between the sum of these challenges and the doctrinal, training, and equipment solutions immediately or soon-to-be at hand.

Table of Contents

  • Summary

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Shortfalls in USMC Urban Ground Combat Reconnaissance

  • Chapter Three

    Urban Ground Combat Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Considerations

  • Chapter Four


  • Appendix

  • Supplemental

    Supplementary Materials

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Marine Corps. The research was conducted in RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center.

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