The Enemy Below: Preparing Ground Forces for Subterranean Warfare
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEFENSE ANALYSIS DEPT
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This capstone project analyses subterranean threats in the contemporary operational environment. It identifies the doctrinal gap in the U.S. military regarding operations within tunnels, urban and natural cavities, and other underground facilities, and outlines the changes necessary to prepare ground forces to operate in these complex environments. This paper reviews historical cases spanning back over half a millennium, proposes a new typological classification system, and investigates the subterranean environment in terms of the United States Army doctrine, organization, training, mat riel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities process. Additionally, it provides analysis geared toward countering subterranean threats through indirect means to include incendiary weapons, cyber-based attacks, and military information support operations. The capstone finds that 1 Current U.S. military doctrine does not properly prepare units for operations in subterranean environments 2 Future conflicts will require general purpose forces to deal with subterranean threats and 3 Understanding the use of indirect approaches is critical in the conduct of subterranean operations. This research leads to the recommendation that the Training and Doctrine Command Intelligence Support Activity recognize subterranean as an operational environment. Additionally, this capstone provides guidance to commanders and staffs to assist in pre-mission training even before the doctrinal gap is filled.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics