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Armies must be more agile, ready to face any situation (Burkhard)

(B2) Win the war before the war. This is how the new French chief of staff summarizes his strategic vision.

(credit: DICOD/EMA)
  • In this thirteen-page document, in French and English, General Thierry Burkhard sets out what the French army of the future should be. The antithesis of certain thoughts in Europe which seem to want to return to a war of position (heavy tanks, barracks, etc.).
  • A useful document at the dawn of the French presidency of the Council of the EU which begins on January 1 and the strategic reflection initiated both at the European level and at the Atlantic Alliance level.
  • Read with interest as long interview that the CEMA had granted to B2, a few days ago, detailing certain points in particular the methods of the adversaries and competitors, and the methods of cooperation between Allies and Europeans.

An essential military tool

In a Europe which often seems to hesitate to use military tools, the man who cut his teeth in the Foreign Legion, from Djibouti to the CPCO, affirms it loud and clear: “ military force is one of the essential elements of France's policy of power and international influence ". A France which must assume its status as a balancing power ».

The competition is getting tougher

Facing " tougher competition between great powers, rearmament and disinhibition of certain regional powers », the armies must « demonstrate the greatest agility " They must " embrace the changes against which we cannot act, and seize all opportunities to defend the strategic interests of France and Europe ».

intellectual agility

This intellectual agility must first be “ intellectual ". She must " irrigate the entire chain of command like all sectors: operations, support, operational preparation, capability development. " From the staffs to the field, we must promote a state of mind that makes it possible to win the battle of ideas, to anticipate more, to be even more reactive and to impose the pace of initiatives »

An organization to deal with the strategic structure

Armies must be organized to deal with strategic surprise, resilient beyond the only permanent postures of nuclear deterrence, safety and protection ". They should be like this permanently able to commit to respond to any situation that threatens France and its interests ". From the infra-conflict level — which is the most common — down to if necessary in a high intensity confrontation ».

A range of infra-conflict intervention

The head of the armed forces must be able to " propose to the President of the Republic a very wide range of military options insists the five-star general. We must be able to combine controlled effects in all environments and fields of confrontation, with particular attention to action in exo-atmospheric and cyber environments and in the information field ". The objective remains the same: to deter the adversary, “ influence [one's] determination by imposing favorable balances of power ". In two words : " win the war before the war ».

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Download the strategic vision EN / ENG

Lire: Competitors become more aggressive. You have to be more strategic. Seven Thoughts of General Burkhard (CEMA) – article open these days

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