Urban conflict presents 12 challenges, as introduced in the previous article. The first two of these are matters of perception and there is a puzzling contradiction between them. On the one hand there are clear and accelerating trends towards urban conflict and on the other a longstanding phenomenon of dissonant understandings of such operations.
The proposition that ‘the future fight is urban' is supported by extensive analysis of robust trends, broad agreement in the literature and appears in most armies' doctrine. Yet this theoretical recognition of an emerging and acute problem does not translate to significant capability choices, acknowledgement of the brutal nature of the fight, nor adequate recognition of the different objectives of enemies.
This article examines these two attitudinal challenges to set the scene for later articles discussing the complicated challenges of physical structures and the overlying complexities generated by the population and politics.