Cover: Urban Combat Service Support Operations

Urban Combat Service Support Operations

The Shoulders of Atlas

Published 2004

by Russell W. Glenn, Steven Hartman, Scott Gerwehr


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Operations in urban areas pose specific challenges for U.S. Army combat service support (CSS)--which is responsible for arming, manning, sustaining, and otherwise supporting these operations. This report gives an overview of these tasks and ways in which the CSS community can prepare itself to meet them. The authors conducted literature reviews and interviews, and they drew on extensive prior research. Findings fall into two broad categories: (1) functional-area specific, applying exclusively to arming, manning, sustaining, moving, fixing, force protection, and selected other areas; and (2) those with broader application. Under the latter, the limited availability of many CSS assets will encourage their central management. Commanders will therefore have to consider weighting front-line assets with such low-density assets or keeping them centralized for dispatch as needed. CSS resources will require the same command, control, and communications assets as do other units. Additionally, CSS drivers and others throughout the area of operations are a potentially vital and traditionally underused source of intelligence. Attrition and consumption rates tend to be much higher than is elsewhere experienced. Demands on CSS units will be exceptional even during operations in which combat plays no role.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and performed with the RAND Arroyo Center.

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