The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Lecointre, spoke to the Anglo-Saxon press to present the military singularity and its application to the French forces. This was an opportunity to speak to a wider audience and explain to our allies how France works. And who knows, perhaps some cooperation could be strengthened ?
In his introductory remarks, General Lecointre reminds us of this. « France is acting to guarantee its survival in the face of existential threats, » he told an American media outlet. These threats are multiple, perceived by all the armies. From the strategic review, where the resurgence of international tensions was highlighted, to the CEMAT's strategic vision, recalling the need to prepare for symmetrical conflicts, the nature of the threats that could jeopardise France's security has been widely analysed. The CDE and the French Air Force have also emerged along these lines. Aware of the stakes represented by space, the Minister of the Armed Forces quickly decided to take up the subject and study French options, both to protect our assets and also to respond in the event of an attack. The launch of the CSO-2 military observation satellite is part of this dynamic. « It contributes to the modernisation of our defence space capabilities, » declared Florence Parly on 29 December. « The CSO military observation system provides a level of resolution and an acquisition capability unequalled in Europe, enabling the armed forces to increase their surveillance and intelligence capabilities and giving France greater autonomy in terms of situation assessment and decision-making, » the French Ministry of Defence added. This renewal of French resources has been ratified by the LPM and will also include the launch of Syracuse 4 in 2021, followed by the launch of CSO-3s at the end of the year.
In addition to space, MinArm has also looked into cyber threats. Comcyber, created in 2017, aims to protect information systems, participates in the « design, planning and conduct of military cyber defence operations », in the development of the ministry's HR strategy in this area and in the assessment of the armies' capability requirements. On the cyber side, while the defensive aspect remains at the heart of the strategy, MinArm does not rule out the possibility of conducting offensive actions.
A supervised commitment
In order to be able to carry out all the missions for which they are responsible, the forces must therefore respect certain principles that CEMA describes as « fundamental ». General Lecointre thus reminds us, through the notion of discipline, that the forces remain subject to political power and decisions taken at the highest level of the State. Through a so-called reactive and available force, the ambition is thus to be able to react to any event in a very short time. The forces have demonstrated these qualities on numerous occasions. One example is the recent Operation Resilience, which was launched on 25 March and whose first activities began a few days later, on 28 March. It is also possible to compare these characteristics with the projection capabilities of French forces, which regularly train for long-distance deployments. Operation Minotaure, conducted last December, is part of this framework, with the implementation of an FAS system, supported by the A330 for the refuelling part. « Nuclear deterrence is therefore the most successful expression of military singularity, in particular because it is based on an operational organisation and culture that guarantees absolute responsiveness, » the CEMA added. A position that was already shared by General Maigret, commander of the SAF, when he declared in our pages last October : « In 2023, the Air and Space Forces will be capable of projecting twenty Rafales and ten MRTTs, in 48 hours, on the other side of the globe, autonomously and with a capacity to last in order to conduct an air campaign. This is a unique capability that few nations have »
For General Lecointre, the capacity for independent action also strengthens the position of an army : « On the battlefield, an army must have all the skills at its disposal to be able to carry out its mission, even in a totally disorganised environment ». France is working towards this autonomy. While some gaps remain, compensated on the operational level by the participation of French allies, the LPM is seeking to fill the gaps as quickly as possible. Crucial capabilities will include UAVs (but also UAV countermeasures), intelligence and heavy transport helicopters. « If we link this autonomy to responsiveness, then the question arises of conferring the former in peacetime to guarantee the latter when the army has to commit itself", adds the CEMA. He concluded: « We must consolidate the military singularity by modernising our defence tool into one capable of fighting in all areas, with sufficient mass, organisation and depth of capabilities to enable it to assume all its functions in times of war and crisis. This is the aim of the actions we are currently carrying out with the Minister of the Armed Forces ».