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Thread: A French Army's view on stabilization

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    Council Member taillat's Avatar
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    Default A French Army's view on stabilization

    Please consider this publication from the Centre de Doctrine d'Emploi des Forces.
    Last edited by SWJED; 01-24-2008 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Fix hyperlink.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taillat View Post
    Please consider Winning the Battle Building Peace: Land Forces in Present and Future Conflicts from the Centre de Doctrine d'Emploi des Forces.
    And its in English! Thanks for the link - its an interesting read. The 1898 quote from General Gallieni yet again reemphasizes that although today's context is significantly different, much of what we are trying to do is deeply rooted in the history of military doctrinal thought and conceptualization.

    A country has not been conquered and pacified when the people have been decimated by military operations and bowed down in terror; once the initial fright has subsided, seeds of revolt will take root that will be further nourished by the built-up rancour due to the brutality of the initial action.

    The best way to attain peace is to combine force with politics. We must remember that destruction must be used as a last recourse, and even then only in order to build something better in the end…..Each time an officer is required to act against a village in a war, he needs to remember that his first duty, after securing submission of the local population, is to rebuild the village, reorganize the local market and establish a school. The process of establishing peace and future organization in a country will come from the combined use of force and politics. Political action is by far the most important. It derives its strength from the country's organization and its inhabitants.

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    Council Member taillat's Avatar
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    Default Gallieni...and Lyautey

    I draw your attention on the fact that Gallieni was Lyautey's mentor in Madagascar (read "lettres du Tonkin et de Madagascar" by the latter, unfortunatly i never encountered any translations in english). Lyautey's doctrine (or lack of Doctrine, because he was aware of the limitations that lies in any doctrine in Stabilization) relies on two principles:
    -pacification is like progressive organisation: oil spot (inspired by Gallieni in Tonkin)
    -force must be showed to avoid using it (translated today in the french concept of "Mastering of violence"... )

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Experienced viewpoint

    As much as I rate the views on SWJ, having this French contribution is very welcome. Politics aside the French have shed blood and treasure in small wars for a very long time. Don't worry North Americans no takeover of SWJ planned.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Agreed and welcome, Taillat

    As long as you avoid saying "Vive le'Québec libre" and arousing certain members here...

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default French Contributions to SWJ

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    As much as I rate the views on SWJ, having this French contribution is very welcome. Politics aside the French have shed blood and treasure in small wars for a very long time. Don't worry North Americans no takeover of SWJ planned.

    davidbfpo
    Agree, in my day job I ran several COIN related seminars, panels and discussions. French participants contributed some real quality discussion and experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    As long as you avoid saying "Vive le'Québec libre" and arousing certain members here...
    It's off to London and Paris via the Plains of Abraham I go - toting a GPMG, a Carl G, and some fine Niagara wine to mix with the vintages on the other side of the pond (hehe - Ken, you OLD rabble-rouser you...)

    Joking aside, it's good to have you with us taillat, and welcome to the SWC! And thank-you for providing the link to FT-01; I take an occasional look at Doctrine, Heracles, and Objectif Doctrine from time to time, but if you hadn't posted the link to FT-01, I wouldn't have seen it staring me straight in the face!

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Kinda interesting but....

    Having printed and read this, I find myself slightly disappointed. The quotes are excellent and insightful, as is the intent of building the peace, but the whole "asymmetric" stuff under mines it all. The idea of warfare or conflict being "asymmetric" is misleading and intellectually lazy, yet many have become fixed on it.

    I met with the Asymmetric Warfare Group when I was in the US last October and pointed out the nonsensical nature of their title. They all agreed and said "not our doing." At least the use of the words "Counter-Insurgency," as in counter insurgents, though grossly simplistic, are semantically accurate.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member taillat's Avatar
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    Default Asymmetric conflict

    I recently read "la guerre probable" by Major-general Vincent DESPORTES, head of CDEF, in which book he breaks down the notion of "asymmetric warfare". As FT1 uses this term, it's critical to consider the following
    -first: asymmetry is a normative concept as the FT1 recognizes it:
    "On the other hand, that which appears at once new, outside the
    traditional field of military combat and temporarily without an
    adequate response is often described as asymmetrical." This is our perception of the conflict. But i agree with William F. Owen: this FT1 tells us more on the normative assumptions of traditionnal military establishment than on the real thinking by such innovators as gen. DESPORTES.
    -second: the real asymetry for gen. DESPORTES is a political-strategic one, not one of capacity. COIN is a "total war" for insurgents, rebels or various factions engaged in civil wars (their survival must be at stake) while this is not for western army because of three factors: lack of support by public opinion (these "conflicts" take place in remote countries, with apparently no vital interests), constraints on political aims, constraints on ROE. This asymmetry is at our disadvantage.

    I would like to finish this post by two more considerations concerning French Army and actual and future challenges:
    -the Chief of Staff of the Army, gen. CUCHE advocates what he himself calls "dual capacity", so the capacity to wage complex stabilization ops on the long term, and the capacity to wage war on a more conventionnal way (because, he argues, many countries in the world rely on these conventionnal capacities, mainly in SouthEast Asia)
    -the most interesting of this doctrine is the view on ops continuum: intervention-STABILIZATION (decisive phase)-normalization. A more discussion of the tactical procedures on this (in english ) and this (unfortunately in French!)
    Cordialement
    Stéphane TAILLAT

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    Default The centerfold is great!

    But I read the pub for its interesting articles.

    What I really like, however, is the figure on page 13 in which military success is shown as the intermediate objective. The strategic objective is the political solution, as it was, is and ever shall be.

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