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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default Multinational corps and formations

    ...and now to something completely different, something that will likely not interest most Americans:


    We had and have a fashion in Central Europe, the creation of multinational corps and formations.

    A multinational formation is the Franco-German Brigade in Müllheim/Donauschingen/Immendingen (isn't it funny? Germany comes first in its German designation; Deutsch-Französische Brigade ).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-German_Brigade

    A multinational corps example is the I. German/Dutch Corps.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I._German/Dutch_Corps

    There was much talk about "combined" ops, but these multinational efforts were rather of political nature than about military necessities in my opinion.

    I like the idea of multinational corps because they offer better opportunities to gain and sustain experience at the leadership level of a Corps for smaller armies (like the Dutch one). There's also a small gain in experience by learning from each other. The cohesion problem shouldn't be serious with national formations in a multinational Corps.


    I do dislike the concept of a multinational Brigade for its serious cohesion and friction disadvantages. It would be OK if we would rotate it - for two years a Brigade with the Danes, next two years with the Dutch, next two years with the Czechs, then French, Belgians and again. That would at least maximize the learning and exchange effects.
    The permanent (and politically quite immune) Franco-German Brigade is a dumb idea form a military point of view (or actually, mine).
    It's immune to disbanding because every step back in European unification process is being considered to be a disaster and spell of doom for the EU (quite an exaggeration), but not on my part). The multinational Brigade and Corps are being considered to be prototypes for a unified European military, and seen as permanent. It would be politically very difficult to end the experiment.



    Any thoughts?

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    Council Member Chris jM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I do dislike the concept of a multinational Brigade for its serious cohesion and friction disadvantages. It would be OK if we would rotate it - for two years a Brigade with the Danes, next two years with the Dutch, next two years with the Czechs, then French, Belgians and again. That would at least maximize the learning and exchange effects.
    The permanent (and politically quite immune) Franco-German Brigade is a dumb idea form a military point of view (or actually, mine).

    Any thoughts?
    Permanent coalition groupings have always been of interest to me - especially as there has been recent talk between NZ of creating a permanent sub-unit posting within the Australian Army for a regional 'QRF' of sorts. However, that's rather inconsequential to the European situation when you consider our minuscule size and that the NZ/Aus cultures are exceptionally similar if not interchangeable within Armies.*

    One question to the European situation, language - what is the lingua franca between continental states in military and aviation circles? French, German or English? EDIT: I should have put in originally that I noted the official language of the German/ Dutch Corp was English, and thus wondered if this extended across the other military circles.

    * As an unrelated aside, the greatest difference between our armies is pay. I spent time in a CP on ops where an Aussie lance corporal radio operator was the highest paid person in the room. His paycheck exceeded even that of our CSM or Coy Comd - a fact he liked to remind us of frequently, bless him.
    Last edited by Chris jM; 05-20-2010 at 10:00 AM.
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    English is the NATO language.

    The Eastern Europeans have some troubles with English because the older soldiers (40+) didn't learn it at school.

    The French are often rather reluctant to learn English.

    The Franco_German Brigade may benefit of the fact that Alsace and Lorraine - the two French border provinces - have a mixed history and many inhabitants who know German (about a Third of the adults know a German dialect). I'm not informed how well the French exploit this opportunity.

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    I spent three years in the ARRC and I agree that the multinational corps is an excellent tool for building cohesion among allies. It is also an excellent way to expose small armies (such as Canada, UK, and Denmark) to work at the three-star level...more important for their majors and lieutenant colonels than their generals, in my opinion. After all, every European country that today can barely muster a palace guard has, in the past, fielded multi-corps forces. Corps is probably the best and lowest level at which you want to construct multinational staffs. At lower levels there is too much friction created by day-to-day operations with actual soldiers and equipment. At higher levels, national politics begins to become a real problem and...to be brutally honest...in NATO there is little constructive work that can be accomplished at echelons-above-corps.

    The only caveat is that, with no units permanently attached or assigned, the headquarters tend to be onanistic and unfamiliar with the friction of everyday operations

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    I spent three years in the ARRC and I agree that the multinational corps is an excellent tool for building cohesion among allies. It is also an excellent way to expose small armies (such as Canada, UK, and Denmark) to work at the three-star level...
    Slightly intrigued to know how the UK qualifies as a smaller not well exposed to working at the three-star level. ... but all other points well made, especially not trying it below Corps or Theatre level.
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    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    I concur with Eden.

    The UK army rarely works at corps level (having only the one Corps HQ) and equally rarely within an understood corps context. When our div HQs exercise the scenario inevitably focuses on them (to run them out) and when they train for deployments (Afghanistan or Iraq) I suspect they see Corps HQs as their higher HQs without understanding the corps level of operations. My perspective from Iraq is that Div staff did not understand what Corps could do for them in terms of flexing resources, nor how Corps managed the campaign.

    I would also say that Corps is the level where multinationality works well, at Div it is okay and (from personal experience) at brigade level it sucks.

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    Default A multinational formation

    Fuchs, according to FM 3-31:
    effective planned and executed multinational operations should in addition to achieving common objective, facilitate unity of command without diminishing freedom of action and preserve unit integrity and uninterrupted support.
    With this being said, I believe the DIV should be the lowest tactical level a multinational unit should operate. The DIV has the resources, can coordinate and has the expertise to deal with the myriad of issues a multinational force operationally operates.

    r/
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    **The views expressed in this are those of MAJ Rizzuto, Command and General Staff College, and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, DoD or the US Government. **


    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    ...and now to something completely different, something that will likely not interest most Americans:


    We had and have a fashion in Central Europe, the creation of multinational corps and formations.

    A multinational formation is the Franco-German Brigade in Müllheim/Donauschingen/Immendingen (isn't it funny? Germany comes first in its German designation; Deutsch-Französische Brigade ).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-German_Brigade

    A multinational corps example is the I. German/Dutch Corps.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I._German/Dutch_Corps

    There was much talk about "combined" ops, but these multinational efforts were rather of political nature than about military necessities in my opinion.

    I like the idea of multinational corps because they offer better opportunities to gain and sustain experience at the leadership level of a Corps for smaller armies (like the Dutch one). There's also a small gain in experience by learning from each other. The cohesion problem shouldn't be serious with national formations in a multinational Corps.


    I do dislike the concept of a multinational Brigade for its serious cohesion and friction disadvantages. It would be OK if we would rotate it - for two years a Brigade with the Danes, next two years with the Dutch, next two years with the Czechs, then French, Belgians and again. That would at least maximize the learning and exchange effects.
    The permanent (and politically quite immune) Franco-German Brigade is a dumb idea form a military point of view (or actually, mine).
    It's immune to disbanding because every step back in European unification process is being considered to be a disaster and spell of doom for the EU (quite an exaggeration), but not on my part). The multinational Brigade and Corps are being considered to be prototypes for a unified European military, and seen as permanent. It would be politically very difficult to end the experiment.



    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-01-2012 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Fix quote

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