In This Review

Mars Unmasked: The Changing Face of Urban Operations
Mars Unmasked: The Changing Face of Urban Operations
By Sean J. A. Edwards
RAND, 2000, 108 pp.
The City's Many Faces
The City's Many Faces
Edited by Russell W. Glen
RAND, 2000, 653 pp.
Air Operations in Urban Environments: Exploring New Concepts
Air Operations in Urban Environments: Exploring New Concepts
Edited by Alan Vick
RAND, 2000, 285 pp.

If one looks at the uniforms of American soldiers and marines, one will see a battle dress designed to blend with the eastern woodlands-mottled green, brown, and tan splotches. As these three volumes from rand suggest, however, the environment of warfare in the new century is increasingly urban. This trend is not entirely new, of course. American soldiers fought their way through cities as early as the Mexican and Civil Wars. World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all brought their share of urban fighting, as the burnt-out wrecks of Manila and Hue mutely testified. But military training and doctrine have largely tended to emphasize operations in easier, unpopulated environments. The American experience in Somalia and the far grimmer Russian history in Chechnya suggest that this assumption must change, and military institutions are gradually starting to adjust. These books-the first a summary volume, the second a rambling collection of conference proceedings, the third a technical study-reflect two dominant facts. First, the urbanization of much of the world means that fighting in cities is an assured part of the future of warfare; second, the technical challenges are enormous, particularly to a force that wishes to hold collateral damage and its own casualties to the barest minimum.