Peacekeeping: City Planning As A Weapon

Archives

April 1, 2006: In Iraq, combat commanders quickly realized they were fighting a different kind of war after Saddam was overthrown three years ago. In the Summer of 2003, the new commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, in Baghdad, saw that he had an urban battle on his hands. So he made some serious changes in the way the division was organized. He took his artillery commander, who was essentially unemployed, since the artillery did very little shooting, and made him "City Planner." The guy's job was to produce a map of the city's infrastructure, to include water supply, electrical grid, sewer system, garbage collection, routes, etc., including status reports on what was and what wasn't working and where.

This data was then compared to insurgent activity. It turned out that the insurgents were most active in areas that were the least well served; no electricity, no running water, garbage uncollected, sewers backing up into the streets, and so on. In response to this, the division initiated a "civic action" program, which included a massive PR campaign. While the division commander went around kissing babies and making speeches, he tasked the "city planner" with fixing these problems and developing the infrastructure, in coordination with troop sweeps. Major sewer construction projects were undertaken, along with other very visible repairs. As the infrastructure improved, support by the local folks for the terrorists and Saddam diehards declined.

There's some good material on how this all worked out at

http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2005/pa040705.htm

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ articles/A58770-2004May26.html

 


Article Archive

Peacekeeping: Current 2019 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close