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Seven Times Around A City: The Evolution Of Israeli Operational Art In Urban Operations

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The nature of a citys organized space and the resulting dynamism create difficulties for a commander striving to maintain control of forces and respond intelligently to threats. Coming to grips with this is difficult, but can be done as the Israeli Defense Force IDF demonstrated. The IDF have consistently faced these challenges more than any other western-style military. They have struggled with the dilemma of preparing for state-centric maneuver war while remaining ready for asymmetric non-state forces in an urban environment. By tracing the evolution of the IDFs operational art in urban warfare, military planners have a vital reference point for how western militaries have responded to these challenges. From the 1982 siege of Beirut, to the recent forays into the Gaza Strip, the IDF engaged in a series of urban campaigns against asymmetric adversaries who adapted rapidly and exploited the urban environment to their advantage. The study evaluates the changing IDF understanding of a citys physical space, how it contests the information domain, and its operations process over time. Ultimately, it finds that the IDF developed the boldness to re-image the space of a cityscape, to contest their adversarys hold on global audiences, and to learn as they fight.

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