A 2003 article in the Military Review has proven darkly prescient with last weekend’s terrorist siege of an indoor shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Written by two retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonels, the piece outlines the emergence of modern-day siege warfare tactics, or the invasion of large architectural structures.
In the magazine’s September/October 2003 issue, Lester W. Grau and Geoffrey Demarest collaboratively warned that, “while perhaps not a likely target in a traditional military sense, an indoor shopping mall could be attractive as a terrorist target.”
Their article goes on to imagine what might happen when armed groups lay siege to megastructures—prisons, malls, airports, embassies, cinemas, skyscrapers, even entire gated subdivisions—asking, in the process, how we might protect ourselves when acts of war or terrorism erupt in the midst of our everyday, civilian environments.
The disturbing realization is that, for the U.S. Army, the vulnerable targets of tomorrow are shopping malls and schoolyards, airports and sports stadiums, perhaps even suburban streets. The mall siege in Nairobi is perhaps only the most recent, horrifying example of how this will look.
I was waiting and hoping for this — Geoff Manaugh on the Kenyan mall attack. Highly recommended.