Regarded as a revolutionary weapon at the beginning of the 20th century, the tank is now suffering from a lack of legitimacy: in the last 20 years, most European states have drastically reduced their tank fleets, sometimes even entirely removing them from their arsenals.
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.
The term “strategy” goes back to Greek antiquity and its meaning has evolved over time. Although today the term is bandied about and employed in all contexts, in the past, attempts to define it have been made by the greatest military thinkers.
Les chausse-trapes de la remontée en puissance : Défis et écueils du redressement militaire Focus stratégique, No. 52, May 2014
A process of military resurgence shows a government’s will to strengthen its defense apparatus, either to face new strategic challenges or, more frequently, to reverse decline of its capabilities.
La réforme du secteur de sécurité, entre bureaucraties et stratégie Focus stratégique, No. 51, April 2014
The concept of Security Sector Reform (SSR) was developed during the 1990s as a response to several problems chiefly faced by countries in post-conflict transitions: weak new governments; conflicting civil-military relations; ill-defined division of tasks between the armed forces, the police,...
Quelles perspectives pour l'industrie européenne des armements terrestres ? Focus stratégique, No. 50, March 2014
Over the last decade, the European land armament industry developed into a thriving market driven by growing demand from the BRICS, a new wave of emerging countries and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The First World War helped redefine the notion of strategy, giving it a political dimension that it previously lacked.
The French Army and the Military Revolution of the First World War Politique étrangère, Vol. 79, No. 1, Spring 2014
In 1914 the firepower of modern weaponry produced a massacre. To limit losses, the warring parties dug themselves into trenches. The French army was forced to innovate.
The First World War gave rise to the emergence of the discipline of international relations, but it was the Second World War and the Cold War that fostered its development.
The Amphibious Endeavour: Tactical Risk, Strategic Influence Focus stratégique, No. 46 bis, February 2014
Despite a centuries-long history, amphibious operations were rarely in the spotlight before the Second World War. Meteorological constraints and joint planning challenges both emphasize their risky and complex character. Lessons learned highlight indispensable operational requirements such as...
Since their early use for primitive ISR and combined operations, UAS have developed into increasingly multipurpose instruments performing a wide array of missions (from limited strike operations, search and monitoring to time-sensitive targeting) and offering new maneuver options to the armed...