The 2015 terror attacks in France and the ensuing activation by the Ministry of Defense of its homeland protection plan opened a new phase in the long history of the French Army’s involvement in internal security.
Defense Research Unit
Western armies today face a triple challenge. First, they have been involved in “wars amongst populations” for twenty-five years, having to cope with failed states, fractured societies, and irregular adversaries. Counterinsurgency (COIN) may be out of fashion, but stabilization operations remain as complex as ever. Whether for maintaining peace or countering an insurrection, military intervention cannot deliver victory on its own, yet other “global approach” actors are often either absent or ineffective, not to mention the lack of political support and the constraints posed by permanent pressure from the media.
Meanwhile, Western forces must retain the ability to conduct high-intensity operations when fighting symmetric or hybrid adversaries that benefit from training and advanced weapons. The constituent parts of military transformation tend to spread to regional powers. Accordingly, our defense systems have to stay in the technological race and incorporate into their equipments and doctrines the multiple innovations fostered by progress in intelligence gathering and miniaturisation (sensors, networks, robotics, precision ammunition, etc.).
Remaining full spectrum is also a challenge as our militaries face unprecedented constraints in terms of numbers and budgets. in addition, operational tempo has increased and enemies have toughened. The armed forces are thus being asked to achieve more with less. The political and budgetary context, especially in Europe, is likely to limit the size of militaries and the conditions of their use. It is therefore necessary in the short term to offer solutions for optimization and set the stage for a necessary military build up in the future. The LRD’s analysis focuses on French forces first and foremost, as well as the militaries of their main allies.
Retours sur Sangaris. Entre stabilisation et protection des civils Focus stratégique, No. 67, April 2016
In December 2013, France launched its operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic. What conclusions can be drawn for the stabilization of the country and the protection of civilians?
La sécurité énergétique des armées françaises. Le soutien pétrolier à l’heure de la transition Focus stratégique, No. 66, March 2016
Ever since its inception on the eve of World War One, the concept of securing fuel supply has consistently proven its vitality to military operations.
The Kurdish military’s recent history immediately brings to mind images of its mythical female fighters, and of its real victories against Daesh. But its successes have been primarily in Syria. In Iraq, the Kurdish military has been hindered by poor preparation, lack of effective weaponry, and...
Since its inception in the mid-2000s, hybrid warfare has become a fashionable concept among Western strategic community. However, it lacks a clear definition and, if loosely used, could lead to possibly dangerous misunderstandings.
Maîtriser la puissance de feu. Un défi pour les forces terrestres Focus stratégique, No. 61, September 2015
Over the last few decades, in order to limit the risk of collateral damage, tailoring the effects of firepower has become a main concern for Western armed forces.
L'opération Serval à l'épreuve du doute : vrais succès, fausses leçons Focus stratégique, No. 59, July 2015
The deployment of French forces to Mali in January 2013 with the objective to counter the offensive of jihadist groups from Northern Mali, demonstrated the French armed forces’ ability to deploy on a very short notice and to conduct a long-distance expeditionary operation by themselves in...
In the recent years Russia has made a significant effort in favor of modernizing its armed forces which allowed it to execute the swift annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
L’union ou la force ? Les défis des opérations multinationales contemporaines Focus stratégique, No. 55, March 2015
Contemporary multinational military operations occur in a strategic context characterized by the domination of limited conflicts for Western states.
Des armes à tout faire ? Modularité et polyvalence des équipements militaires Focus stratégique, No. 54, October 2014
Versatility and modularity have been praised as design imperatives for military hardware, in order to reduce costs as well as to facilitate training and maintenance.