Future Operating Environment

Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity

By The Cove May 16, 2019

Click here to access the article / video

The Intercept is a US-based investigative journalism site.  Here they display a US DoD video entitled 'Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity'. Increasing urbanisation is, almost without doubt, going to be key to our regional future which poses some important questions:

  • How does this change the way we need to structure and fight?  
  • How do we 'find' in the most complex of urban terrains?  
  • Will a single city ever be of sufficient value for us to bear the cost of taking it?

For further reading, take a look at this 2012 paper by the well-known David Kilcullen - 'The Australian Army in the Urban, Networked Littoral'.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.


What I find most disturbing is that as advances in technology are made, and the cost of new technology decreases making it easier to access, there will be a proliferation of state and and non-state actors with high end capability. Add this to the complexity of operating in an urban mega citiy making the identification of the modern adversary will be near on impossible. As we become more connected and reliant on information systems, we are at greater risk from an adversary who possesses the ways and means to disrupt us either surreptitiously or as a deliberate act of aggression. For a moment I want to consider that it is just not military assets and hardware that rely on access to the cyber spectrum. Our hospitals, transportation and financial institutions also rely on all manner of information technology to deliver government and social services. Could we consider a cyber attack against one of these a call for war, as in air and ground war? Cyber attacks will rise as there is a certain level of anonymity surrounding them. Whereas other forms of aggression/attack have low deniability, think of a bomb dropping from a plane or a nuclear attack.

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