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SAN DIEGO — A mock city roughly the size of downtown San Diego has risen in a remote Southern California desert to train military forces to fight in urban environments. The $170 million urban training center was unveiled Tuesday at the Twentynine Palms military base, 170 miles northeast of San Diego.
The military has been opening a slew of mock Afghan villages at bases across the country to prepare troops for battle before they are deployed. The new training center is one of the largest and most elaborate. Seven separate mock city districts spread across 274 acres of desert. The fake markets, hotels and other businesses are complete with actors who create scenarios that pose a full range of challenges from humanitarian relief efforts to peacekeeping to police work and direct combat, according to the Marine Corps.
Similar immersion training facilities are slated to open this year at Marine Corps bases in North Carolina, Hawaii and Okinawa.