The City is Neutral: On War in the 21st Century

David James Betz, Hugo Stanford-Tuck

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Contrary to what is often supposed, urban warfare is not more difficult than other types of warfare. The combat environment is neutral, just like every other environment. Urban warfare is, however, likely to be more prevalent in coming years, which is why it is important that Western armies learn to do it confidently. The current approach to this type of fighting is wrong because it is burdened by bad history. The problems of urban combat are not new. Moreover, they are solvable through a combination of hard training, changes in command mindset, and technological innovation. We propose a “strongest gang” model as a realistic solution to the problems of urban conflict that cannot be addressed by the current dominant methods that are too positively controlled, too manpower-intensive, too cautious, and cede too much initiative to objectively weaker and less capable opponents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-82
JournalTexas National Security Review
Issue number4
Early online date10 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • War
  • Warfare
  • tactics
  • Urban Warfare


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