As the world becomes more urban, military forces must be prepared for cities to become battlefields. The Urban Warfare Project podcast, from the Modern War Institute at West Point, features conversations with practitioners and scholars and sets out to explore the unique characteristics of urban warfare.
Round 2 of the World’s Only Urban Warfare Planners Course
In this episode, John Spencer welcomes back Brig. Gen. Robert Wooldridge, the deputy commanding general for operations of the 40th Infantry Division, California Army National Guard. In July, the division held the second iteration of the world’s only course specifically for division and brigade staff officers and noncommissioned officers, aimed at developing the skills needed to plan successful large-scale combat operations in the major urban areas. Brig. Gen. Wooldridge joins to describe the course's second round. He explains some of the changes made as the division aims to best prepare students for the unique challenges of urban warfare. He also shares lessons they learned from the latest iteration of the course and details plans for the next one, to be held in May 2023.
Studying the Battle of Kyiv, Part 1
In this episode, John Spencer is joined by retired Colonel Liam Collins. The former director of the Modern War Institute, he also served as a defense advisor to Ukraine from 2016 to 2018. Last month, John and Liam traveled independently to Ukraine to study the Battle of Kyiv. In this first part of a two-episode conversation, John and Liam share some of their preliminary observations on how Ukraine successfully defeated a Russian assault on the capital—ultimately forcing the attackers to retreat and alter their strategic objectives in Ukraine. Together, this episode and the second part that will follow represent the most comprehensive initial analysis of the Battle of Kyiv.
Why Urban Warfare is the Hardest
Urban warfare is the hardest type of warfare any nation can ask their military to conduct. It is more difficult, more complex than any other form, fought on terrain that is not neutral. Militaries can get better at it, but they most first understand why it’s so challenging. In this episode, John Spencer highlights the particular challenges presented by dense urban terrain, sharing insights based on years of research and historical analysis, along with firsthand experience with both urban warfare and the institutional features of the US Army that make preparing for urban warfare even more challenging.
A New Way of Combined Arms Urban Warfare Training
In January 2022, John Spencer traveled to the UK to observe a British Army Warfighting Experiment. The experiment was one of many that allows the British Army to partner with the innovation community and industry to explore technological possibilities to address the specific challenges of urban warfighting. In this episode, John speaks to Rob Taylor, CEO of a UK-based organization that specializes in developing immersive close-combat training facilities and opportunities. Rob describes the January experiment, which tested a unique capability to integrate combined arms into small unit urban warfare training—including incorporating snipers, mortars, JTACs, and other capabilities into a live, indoor training event.
The Israeli Way of Urban Warfare
In this episode, John Spencer is joined Brigadier General Meir Finkel. An armor brigade commander in the Second Lebanon War, he is the current head of research and former director of the Dado Center for Interdisciplinary Military Studies / IDF J3. He explains the evolution of the Israel military approach to fighting in dense urban areas and describes several of the unique organizations, tools, and tactics the Israeli military has developed specifically to meet the many challenges of urban warfare—including the critical lessons the Israeli military has learned on the essential need for a combined arms approach that brings together mechanized infantry, armor, and engineers to enter contested urban environments.
Social Media and the War in Ukraine: The Walter Report
Social media has played a sizeable role during the war in Ukraine. Not only are various platforms being used for information campaigns by both sides, social media tools like Twitter are the way many people around the world are watching the war unfold. Almost immediately after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Walter Lekh, a Ukrainian doctor living in the United States, organized a Twitter Space—an audio livestream where any Twitter user can listen in—featuring news and expert commentary about the war. The Walter Report has been streaming without interruption ever since—twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He joins host John Spencer to discuss how social media like his Twitter Space features in the character of warfare, why he launched the Walter Report, and specifically how social media overlays on and intersects with the urban component of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The world authority on urban
Awesome content..great guy
How do I get in contact with you John?