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21 June 2007

Emerald Cities of the Future

Much has been made over the rather clever re-naming of the Green Zone in Baghdad in the title of the book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City.”

But the real cities which deserve that title are the vast, teeming slums of the developing world, in which tomorrow’s expeditionary fights will conducted. These will be 4th and 5th generation warfare at its fiercest, in an urban terrain that makes all the complexity of a Fallujah and Najaf seem relatively straightforward by comparison.

These are the hellholes of Africa’s urban cores, or the favelas of Latin America. And we have much to thank the USMC for, not only in demonstrating the manner in which MOUT will be conducted in the 21st century through the hard lessons of wartime experience, but offering a forward looking vision of tomorrow’s fights through the unique production of the khaki tower and its operational counterparts during exercises such as Emerald Express and Urban Warrior.

We are reminded of these earlier works in the new Forbes series on the urban environments of the future.

These are the core dynamics which will drive the intelligence challenges of the future. They will require different mindsets and perspectives, new collection techniques and analytical methodologies. The range of subject matter expertise that will be needed, from languages to civil engineering, urban planning, and sociology will defy aggregation in any single agency – if indeed it is possible to collect sufficient SME within the government (and its contractors) at all…

These futures are part of the reason for the radical changes in curriculum at the (new) NDIC – the National Defense Intelligence College. It is hoped that other elements of the intelligence studies academia will take close heed, whether they are part of the IC CAE program or otherwise.

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