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1 dreams of omniscience

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  • 1. Dreams of Omniscience: Urbanization and the US Revolution in Military AffairsStephen Graham Newcastle University

2. I Dreams Frustrated? Urbanization and the US Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) It is now possible to use Americas military might with a greatly reduced chance of suffering friendly casualties or equipment loss. The reduction of American casualties afforded by the marriage between stealthy aircraft and precision guided munitions has had a profound effect on Americas willingness to intervene militarily. The military must also adapt to its new role as a tool of choice, rather than a tool of last resort (OMara, 2003) 3. Vertical and Imperial Omniscience in an Ageographical World? 4. Effects-Based Operations 5. Asymmetric/ Unrestricted/ Fourth Generation Warfare 6. Full spectrum operations: MOOTW 7. From Battleelds to Battlespace Fourth generation, networkcentric, non-traditional, assymetric, full spectrum warfare Battlespace is deep, high, wide, and simultaneous: there is no longer a front or a rear (Blackmore, 2005) Multi-scalar: nano to planetary Nonlinear, swarming forces operating within and through cities, infrastructures, spaces across transnational scales All terrain a battlespace within permanent state of exception and hyper-militarisation: new normal Collapse of military-civil distinctions 8. Global South Cities as Prime Battlespaces For Western military forces, asymmetric warfare in urban areas will be the greatest challenge of this century. The city will be the strategic high ground whoever controls it will dictate the course of future events in the world (Dickson, 2002) US: 26 conicts: 1984 and 2004: 21 have involved urban areas; 10 have been exclusively urban 9. Feral Cities in the Non-Integrating Gap 10. But Fast-Growing Cities Seen as Interrupters of Global and Vertical Networked Omniscience In simple terms walls tend to get in the way of todays battleeld communications and sensor technologies (Hewish and Pengelley, 2001) The technologies traditionally ascribed to the current Revolution in Military Affairs phenomenon will have negligible impact on Military Operations in Urban Terrain (Harris, 2003) 11. RAND: A Consequent Urbanization of Insurgency Opposition forces will camouage themselves in the background noise of the urban environment. Weapons hidden beneath a cloak, in a childs carriage, or rolled in a carpet, can get past security personnel undetected (DIRC 1997) 12. Forced Proximity and Groundedness Ralph Peters: The long term trend in openarea combat is toward overhead dominance by US forces. Battleeld awareness [for US forces] may prove so complete, and precision weapons so widely available and effective, that enemy ground-based combat systems will not be able to survive in the deserts, plains, and elds that have seen so many of historys main battles. The United States enemies will be forced into cities and other complex terrain, such as industrial developments and inter-city sprawl (1997). The long term trend in open-area combat, writes the leading U.S. urban warfare commentator, Ralph Peters (1996, 6), is toward overhead dominance by US forces. As a result, he predicts that Battlefield awareness [for US forces] may prove so complete, and precision weapons so widely available and effective, that enemy ground-based combat systems will not be able to survive in the deserts, plains, and fields that have seen so many of historys main battles.As a result, Peters argues that the United States enemies will be forced into cities and other complex terrain, such as industrial developments and inter-city sprawl (1997, 4). Grau and Kipp, (1999 4), concur, suggesting that:urban combat is i ncreasingly likely, since high-precision weaponsthreaten operational and tactical manoeuvre in openterrain.Commanders who lack sufficient high-precision weapons will f ind cities appealing terrain [], provided they know the city better than their opponent does and can mobilize the citys resources and population to their purposes. 13. Scale Mismatch: Megacities vs Professional Army 14. Popular Orientalism: Intrinsically Devious Cities 15. Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex: Participative and Immersive Simulation 16. II Dreams Reclaimed? The Urban Turn in the RMAthe perception The time has come to changethat the high-tech US war machine ghts at a disadvantage in urban areas (Houlgate, 2004) Urban areas should become our preferred medium for ghting. We should optimize our force structure for it, rather than relegating it to Appendix Q in our ghting doctrine, treating it as the exception rather than the norm. It is time to tell Sun Tzu to sit down. Instead of fearing it, we must own the city Lt. Col. Leonhard, US Army (2003) Focus of military technoscience moves from ageographical and global networked power to microgeographical treatment of urban spaces 17. 1. Reconguring urban space Cities not a mere backdrop: Contemporary urban warfare plays itself out within a constructed, real or imaginary architecture, and through the destruction, construction, reorganization, and subversion of space. (Weizman, 2006) 18. 2. Mobilising The Simulacral Collective 19. A Reverse Urban Beauty Contest 20. Manuel Chaves, who runs the special effects suite built into the urban warfare site at Fort Wainwright, Alaska: We have a wide variety of special effects smells we can do. For instance coffee, apple pie, dead bodies, burning rubber, diesel fumes. I can do nine different buildings, nine different smells. Generally, if its a burning building, we put something really nasty in there like burning bodies. 21. RAND (2006) on Playas, New Mexico: The architecture of the abandoned town [should be] modied to include walled compounds of the type that US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan must at times isolate and clear. 22. Yodaville Urban Target Complex, Arizona 23. Digital/Hybrid Simulations of Target Cities 24. 3D Virtual Reality Surveillant-Simulations e.g. Virtual Iraq 25. Peopling: The Crowd Federate 26. Hybrid Simulations: Augmented Reality 27. Simulated Future Insurgencies: Urban Resolve - Jakarta/ Baghdad 2015 28. 3. Unveiling Orientalised Space: Surveillance Systems for Unconventional War Targets Defense Science Board (2004) US forces need another Manhattan Project for tracking and locating targets in assymetric urban warfare to locate, identify and track people, things and activitiesin an environment of one in a million 29. Jordan Crandall: Armed Vision: Tracking is an anticipatory form of seeing 30. Combat Zones That See: Persistent Urban Surveillance Observing change rather than scenery Identify purported notions of urban normality against the abnormal behaviours and patterns that can then be assessed as targets. CTS explores concepts, develops algorithms, and delivers systems for utilising large numbers (1000s) of algorithmic video cameras to provide the close-in sensing demanded for military operations in urban terrain. Will produce video understanding algorithms embedded in surveillance systems for automatically monitoring video feeds to generate, for the rst time, the reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting information needed to provide close-in, continuous, always-on support for military operations in urban terrain 31. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Radar Airships 32. The Visibuilding Programme 33. 4. Dreams of Robotised War 34. Armed Ground Robots 2025. 35. Gordon Johnson, Leader, Unmanned Effects, US Armys Project Alpha: if it can get within one meter, its killed the person whos ring. So, essentially, what were saying is that anyone who would shoot at our forces would die. Before he can drop that weapon and run, hes probably already dead. Well now, these cowards in Baghdad would have to play with blood and guts every time they shoot at one of our folks. The costs of poker went up signicantly. The enemy, are they going to give up blood and guts to kill machines? Im guessing not 36. Smart Dust: Fantasies of Robotised Urban War Several large fans are stationed outside the city limits of an urban target that our [sic] guys need to take. Upon appropriate signal, what appears like a dust cloud emanates from each fan. The cloud is blown into town where it quickly dissipates. After a few minutes of processing by laptop-size processors, a squadron of small, disposable aircraft ascends over the city. The little drones dive into selected areas determined by the initial analysis of data transmitted by the fan-propelled swarm. Where they disperse their nano-payloads. Defense Watch 2004 37. After this, the processors get even more busy. Within minutes the mobile tactical center have a detailed visual and audio picture of every street and building in the entire city. Every hostile [person] has been identied and located. Unmanned air and ground vehicles can now be vectored directly to selected targets to take them out, one by one. Those enemy combatants clever enough to evade actually being taken out by the unmanned units can then be captured of killed by human elements 38. Behind the ghters, military police and intelligence personnel process the inhabitants, electronically reading their attitudes toward the intervention and cataloguing them into a database immediately recoverable by every re team in the city (even individual weapons might be able to read personal signatures, ring immediately upon cueing. Smart munitions track enemy systems and proled individuals. Drones track inhabitants who have been read as potentially hostile and tagged Defense Watch, 2004 39. Conclusions The Urban Turn in RMA is a distillation of stark bio/geopolitics of exception, technophiliac ideologies of permanent war, sci- omnipotence fantasies + supply-push Complex intersections of imaginative geographies, popular geopolitics, surveillance, simulation and entertainment Cities battlespace; residents targets; war=forced and persi

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