Dense Urban Studies Strategic Broadening Seminar


2 weeks (consecutive)


New York City and surrounding areas


Program Brochure

The Future is Now

The Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) offers our Dense Urban Studies Strategic Broadening Seminar (DUS SBS), a two-week educational and experiential learning opportunity for participants to explore and understand the critical infrastructure, urban geography, and flow of cities to better plan for the future fight by using the megacity of New York as a living laboratory. As the world’s population continues to become increasingly concentrated in megacities, this broadening seminar is designed to increase awareness and planning considerations for urban operations. To effectively demonstrate the size and scale of these urban operations, the IDB brings together academia, the interagency, private sector and the military to share and study the “megacity system” for broader understanding and situational awareness. This seminar is specialized at the
O-3/4 level including Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (Bachelor’s Degree Preferred). Civilians of an equivalent career level are encouraged to participate.


“In their lifetime, most people wouldn’t get to experience one or two of the opportunities that we were provided. However, this course is so incredible, that we got to have those experiences daily.”  

DUS Alumnus

Getting Into the Field

Site visits with local academia, government entities, authorities, agencies, and companies may include:

  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Fire Department of New York (FDNY)
  • New York City Police Department (NYPD)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

Key Objectives

  • Understand the characteristics that can lead to a greater strategic application of the megacity
  • Comprehend and formulate successful approaches to achieving military and political objectives in complex urban environments and smart cities
  • Recognize the delicate systems within megacities and understand how to effectively operate in and around them
  • Appreciate the communication challenges between government agencies, the public, and the private sector while building a network of trusted advisors for the future
  • Appreciate vulnerabilities and stresses put on housing, health care, transportation, infrastructure, and communications during large scale combat operations
  • Explore and understand the international economic implications of large scale urban operations

Public sector: Civilians, 0-3 to 0-4, Chief Warrant Officers, Senior Non- Commissioned Officers (Bachelor’s Degree preferred).

Participants who are outside the listed criteria may be eligible to attend the program.

DUS SBS provides unparalleled contact to real-world practitioners across academia, public, and private sector subject matter experts. It is a one of a kind and a state-of-the-art experience, where participants are expertly exposed to multi-domain operations all while engaging in rigorous academic sessions on topics that broaden their understanding of urban operations at the strategic and operational levels, with tactical level case studies provided and discussed. This is done through strategic compression, or the forming of unexpected causal relationships and breaking of expected causal relationships between the three levels of conflict. The critical thinking and networking skills that participants develop in the seminar prepare them for future military challenges in massive urban settings.


  • Characteristics of Megacities: Governance and Urban Geography
  • Megacity Methodologies: Political, Operational, and Tactical
  • Large Scale Operations: Domestic and International Perspectives and the Use of Force
  • Size and Scale: Sustainment of Complex and Multi-domain Urban Operations
  • Complex Systems Thinking
  • Interagency Decision Making
  • Breakout Group Session: Crisis and Combat Scenarios featuring International Characteristics
  • Duke Sanford School of Public Policy
  • NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • UNC Blue Sky Innovations
  • UNC Curriculum in Peace, War and Defense
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Emory University Goizueta Business School
  • The Eisenhower School for National Security Resource Strategy

Program sessions, faculty, dates, and pricing, although current at the time of publication, are subject to change.


Includes tuition, materials, meals, and lodging

Program sessions, faculty, dates, and pricing, although current at the time of publication, are subject to change.

For more information, or to register, contact the IDB at solutions@idb.org or (919)-969-8008

Program sessions, faculty, dates, and pricing, although current at the time of publication, are subject to change.