In the future, Marine will face urban environment situations where different categories and activities will be conducted concurrently. Missions such as humanitarian assistance operations; peace operations; and full scale, high-intensity combat may occur simultaneously within three city blocks. The Commandant of the Marine Corps has labeled this concept the “three city block war.” Integrating and coordinating these varying missions each of which has its own operational characteristics will challenge Marines to use their skill and determination in imaginative ways. The presence of large numbers of noncombatants and the potential difficulty in distinguishing noncombatants from hostile forces will further complicate the task of operating in the urban environment.
The Marine Corps has recognized these challenges and is staging URBAN WARRIOR exercises to test new tactics and equipment designed to make the USMC the leading U.S. force in MOUT. For example, as part of URBAN WARRIOR, the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) has sponsored:
■ Three URBAN WARRIOR Limited Objective Experiments that examined small unit combined arms operations in the urban environment;
■ Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (MOUT ACTD) experiments that examined the use of man-portable shields and breaching technologies; and
■ The first Responder LTA, a medical assessment examining new tactical possibilities for hospital corpsmen in urban warfare.