The website The Intercept has obtained what they say is a leaked Pentagon video that glumly describes a hellish future of massive, chaotic megacities, and pretty much admits the U.S. Army is not remotely ready to deal with this particular manner of shit.
Here, if you have five minutes, you can get all depressed and uneasy, too.
The narrator sounds like he’s about to let out a long, ragged sigh before stepping out of a window, and all the imagery is just stock footage of slums, riots, favelas, and urban warfare.
The video, called “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,was used at the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations University, according to The Intercept, which got the video via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Also according to The Intercept, here is how the video was used:
The video was used as part of an “Advanced Special Operations Combating Terrorism” course offered at JSOU earlier this year, for a lesson on “The Emerging Terrorism Threat.” JSOU is operated by U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for America’s most elite troops. JSOU describes itself as geared toward preparing special operations forces “to shape the future strategic environment by providing specialized joint professional military education, developing SOF specific undergraduate and graduate level academic programs and by fostering special operations research.”
Megacities are, by definition, urban areas with a population of 10 million or more, and they have been a recent source of worry and research for the U.S. military. A 2014 Army report, titled “Megacities and the United States Army,” warned that “the Army is currently unprepared. Although the Army has a long history of urban fighting, it has never dealt with an environment so complex and beyond the scope of its resources.” A separate Army study published this year bemoans the fact that the “U.S. Army is incapable of operating within the megacity.”
So, based on this, it looks like the Pentagon is extrapolating current trends and ending up with a world that resembles the Kowloon Walled City, but, you know, scarier and with more internet.
The overall vision is alarmingly grim: they describe even more extreme wealth disparity, making these mega cities massive slums with makeshift sewage and electrical systems combined with smaller areas of extreme wealth and technology. The Pentagon foresees the dangers that come with climate change and wealth disparity and unchecked and un-managed urban growth and just grimly accepts it, saying:
“This is the world of our future. It is one we are not prepared to effectively operate within and it is unavoidable.”
Jesus, Pentagon, lighten up. Maybe instead of just crying about how hard it’ll be to kill people in the future, you eggheads can maybe spend some time thinking about how to make it suck less?
Just throwing that out there.