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Thread: French military (catch all)

  1. #61
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pointer to background reading

    There is background to this issue on the Mali thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9254 and another on the role of non-African powers in Africa: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=10188
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-28-2010 at 08:03 AM.
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  2. #62
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    Please, do not forgot that declarations are both internal (for French people) and external (allied countries/politicals, opponents).

    The facts that some French SOF fails to rescue the hostage simply means that intelligence/S2 wasn't able to collect enough data.

    The hostage suffers heart disease and had no medicine from weeks : no one can tell (until now) if he was still alive when the raid was launched.

    ---------------

    Regarding French laws, WAR can only be declared against a country.

  3. #63
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    Default

    Keep in mind Sarkozy is president. He's a bit "erratic" and also in other regards psychologically "interesting".

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    From what I gathered, it was PM Fillon, not President Sarkozy, who "declared war". Obviously it was mainly nationalistic pathos aimed at domestic audience rather than any concrete "declaration" (in a political, not legal sense) of war against AQIM.

    Here's some rather good coverage of it

  5. #65
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default Hey Mike

    First of all, I did not know the hostage but all my thoughts are with him and his family.
    Secondly, David and I flagged the issue on the Mali threat…

    About the failure: I would not call it as a failure but as a desperate measure that did not success. Facts are that the hostage was 78 years old and had a hearth disease. Viewing the fact that AQIM did not want to supply him with his drugs and that in the first and last message he gave he mentioned dramatic conditions of retentions, there are good chances that he was already dead several days or weeks before the attack. But this will be confirmed later, I believe.

    Concerning Mike’s question, I think that we are here in the case of legitimate use of force due to the imminence of a deadly threat on an innocent victim which goes by both French civilian law and military law.
    According to the French Ministry of Defence law, rules and regulation of war, the use of force seems 200% legitimate as an acute imminent threat over either military or civilian French personal or individual has been identified.
    The difficulty comes on the fact that the events took place in a foreign country. I am not in the secrets of the bilateral security cooperation agreements between France and Mauritania but I believe this took place accordingly that/those agreements.
    In the blog Secret Defence from the daily newspaper Liberation, there is a detail explanation of how the operation took place. French special ops were involved only because there were suspicions of the possible presence of the hostage (but no acute and confirmed presence of him).
    Also, it has to be incorporated into a larger picture and linked with the 2 French hostages in Afghanistan case. (That I do not know well). So I believe the message from our president (Which was not really thrilling in terms of dialectic but rather pretty clear for hostage takers) was addressing a much larger audience than just AQIM.
    To make a long story short, France had several citizens taken hostages in the past year in Africa and their liberation went fine. With or without COS (the French Special Ops) involvement… I do not know.
    Also, 2 years ago (If I do not mistake), 2 French citizens were assassinated by AQIM supporters in Mauritania, which can be considered as an act of war by AQIM. Or at least can be considered as a precedent. Therefore, but I have to make some research on this, technically, France was already at war (even if not considered as such) with AQIM.
    Concerning the police/military cooperation in hostage/terrorism management operations:
    It is actually true that France tend to treat such situation as a police matter. But the use of military personal and capacity is something which is common. The abduction of the Ponent sailors by Somali pirates and their liberation by military personal is one of the many precedents.
    Actually, the standard procedure is to use military capacity (through GIGN from gendarmerie or COS) against terrorist but under a civil legal action. (It is raw, I know). This is quite detailed in Mr Bigo’s book Mike mentioned in the threat on conflict resolution vs "material support for terrorism".

    I hope to be able to come with a more detailed response concerning the legal extension of this.

    PS: comments on the French president are quite accurate. But it is a personal opinion.

  6. #66
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default At European level

    This operation can enter in the following frame:
    (Knowing that all docs are not public and therefore not accessible and not used in that comment)
    Based on ESDP/PESD COSDP 57 27 April 2009
    http://register.consilium.europa.eu/...-re01.en09.pdf

    G. POSSIBLE CRISIS SITUATIONS REQUIRING A MILITARY RAPID RESPONSE
    25. The EU has identified 5 illustrative scenarios from the Requirements Catalogue 05 (RC 05)
    (Ref. N) where it may consider using military means to address a crisis:
    a. Separation of Parties by Force (SOPF);
    b. Stabilisation, Reconstruction and Military advice to third countries (SR);
    c. Conflict Prevention (CP);
    d. Evacuation Operations (EO);
    e. Assistance to Humanitarian Operations (HA).
    5654/1/09 REV 1 GS/tb 11
    EUMS E_
    26. These illustrative scenarios identify the types of crisis situations that the EU may wish to address using military means. Although all could be tackled by a Military Rapid Response, some are more likely than others.
    27. Typically the first three (SOPF, SR & CP) types of crisis situation may require a more robust and sustainable force to reach the desired objectives rather than a Military Rapid Response.
    However, a Military Rapid Response could still be considered during Advance Planning. The latter two (EO & HA) crisis situations are more likely to require a Military Rapid Response. e.g. Evacuation Operations could be in a permissive or non-permissive environment. Assistance to Humanitarian Operations could include prevention of atrocities or consequence management of man-made or natural disasters.
    28. In addition the EU may tackle SOPF and CP types of crisis situations with a Military Rapid Response. This may be as an initial entry force to enable a follow-on force.
    29. The European Security Strategy (ESS) (Ref. O) includes situations not considered in the RC 05 scenarios: Terrorism, Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Organised Crime. Military response is unlikely to be required for these types of crisis situations. However, military assets may be used in support of the civil authorities for ESS situations. Such involvement is not considered further in this concept.
    I believe the operation in Mauritania may took place under the paragraph 27 (But I can be wrong). Also, it can have taken place under the paragraph 29, but the use of military assets in such case (terrorism) is not described in that document.

    The following article can also be interresting to have an idea of the legal frame and challenge of French Opex:
    http://www.cdef.terre.defense.gouv.f...xion/art15.pdf
    (in english)
    This article is based on the operation Artemis which took place in 2003 in DRC. The doctrine for the use of force by French military is referred as being set by the EU doctrine on use of force: Use of Force Concept for EU-led Military Crisis Management Operations “ (ESDP/PESD COSDP 342 du 20 Novembre 2002).

    But I hope to be able to come with more acurate and detailed info on the legal frame for operations out of French territory. But I may face some difficulties as I am stuck in a dirty rainy hole.

  7. #67
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    Default Bonjour, M. Marc ....

    First, thanks for the EU background docs, which answer most of my questions and are now in my French Modern Military directory (wouldn't want to confuse them with the ancien Troupes de la Marine and its Marsouins). Looks like (EU-wide basis) the Treaty of Lisbon in play ?

    Still remaining issue - under French constitutional law, who gets to pull the trigger on activating the particular response - Pres. ? Pres & Assembly ?

    ----------------------
    Poor dear - ".... I am stuck in a dirty rainy hole ...."

    I didn't realize you were visiting in Milwaukee:

    SUV, traffic light fall into massive sinkhole on Milwaukee's east side

    PICTURES: Milwaukee sinkhole swallows up SUV

    I mean, you could have paid us a visit since we are only 7 hours North of Milwaukee.

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: These two paragraphs from Doctrine #4 (2004) seem accurate and remind of the questions that have come up re: Oberst Klein:

    Recurring Legal Issues

    The legal issues faced during the Artimis operation are similar to the ones raised by any peace support operation involving the recourse to the armed force. A few examples demonstrate this. Adopted before or at the beginning of the operation, the rules of engagement do not prejudge the legal framework of the recourse to force. In fact, this latter one will be imposed by
    circumstances. The law concerning armed conflicts is the only one conceived to regulate the conduct of hostilities, but its applicability is not always obvious. Thus, in most cases, the recourse to force remains subject to the sole provisions stated forth in the national criminal law of the militaries engaged in the operation. This situation might raise some interoperability problems between national contingents that are to be taken into account by the operation and force commanders.

    As other international forces under similar circumstances, the multinational emergency interim force had to arrest armed individuals threatening its members or hindering the fulfillment of the mission. Due to the lack of local judicial authorities to which these persons could be handed over, the force might be compelled to detain them a few hours. Then, the question of
    the applicable legal regulations is raised. The P.O.W. regulations stated forth in the third Geneva Convention being only applicable in an international armed conflict situation, one should try to organize the detention conditions in accordance with the human rights international law.
    These rules are different from US military law.

    So, one (if US) cannot assume that US law will apply in an EU operation or to EU components in a US-led operation. And, one (if EU) cannot assume that EU law will apply in an US operation or to US components in a EU-led operation.
    Last edited by jmm99; 07-29-2010 at 08:05 PM. Reason: add PS - add quote

  8. #68
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    Default The EU Law Enforcement Approach

    The strategy for the EU Fight against terrorism is laid out in 2005 The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy, in which pursuit is clearly viewed as a law enforcement function (not a military function, although military units may become involved in support):

    PURSUE
    22. We will further strengthen and implement our commitments to disrupt terrorist activity and pursue terrorists across borders. Our objectives are to impede terrorists' planning, disrupt their networks and the activities of recruiters to terrorism, cut off terrorists’ funding and access to attack materials, and bring them to justice, while continuing to respect human rights and international law. .... (and so on)
    This not to criticize the EU approach (in this thread), but simply to point out a difference in approach to the same problem.

    The EU's LE approach is clearly expressed in the 2009 EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy - discussion paper:

    The EU CT Strategy

    It has been the long-standing policy of the EU to treat Terrorism as crime, to be tackled within the framework of criminal law. This approach has many obvious advantages, not least the fact that it helps de-glamorise the terrorists. The "prisoners of war" in Guantanamo are a staple of Al Qaeda propaganda, convicted prisoners in European jails do not get a mention.

    Terrorism is different to other forms of crime in that it is conducted in the hope of political gain, rather than financial gain. This explains the high political importance attached to the fight against terrorism, and consequent need for a political response. The fight against terrorism is one of the key areas in which, according to Eurobarometer surveys, European citizens see the need for a common European response.

    However, concentrating on terrorism simply as a criminal phenomenon does have disadvantages. It tends to downplay the factors that motivate terrorism, and encourage a straightforward repressive approach. In the past, CT measures have often been considered only in great haste in reaction to major attacks. In these circumstances there is again an imperative to take visible repressive action.

    The EU CT strategy was deliberately designed to remedy this defect by setting out a comprehensive approach, to be implemented steadily, and so providing a more solid and durable basis for long term success against terrorism. Indeed, the best way to overcome "CT fatigue" is to maintain a steady pace rather than try to sprint ahead too quickly and end up falling behind.
    No movement can be observed here toward a Laws of War approach to AQ, as the US has done via the 2001 AUMF.

    The latest ratification of the LE approach is found in 2010 Gilles de Kerchove speech to ICCT; but that speech also included rhetoric (and treaty provisions), which bring back memories of Camelot, Walt Rostow and the Kennedy-Johnson administrations' jump into Vietnam:

    The Lisbon Treaty, in Article 3 (5) TEU, states that:

    “In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter."
    I am convinced that this new objective of the development of international law is a significant way in which the EU can act to strengthen the international framework on which sustainable counter terrorism must be based.
    and:

    The EU has made a start in providing direct support for the counter-terrorism efforts of a number of key countries, in South Asia, the Sahel and Horn of Africa, through the “Instrument for Stability”. However, responding fully to these problems is a much broader challenge for the development community. There can be no security without development, but equally no development without security: security in which a farmer feels safe taking micro-credit to dig a tube well, without worrying that it will be destroyed by fighting, or even security to send his daughters to school.
    Perhaps, the EU will make better choices in "development projects" today and tomorrow than we did in 1962-1965. Perhaps, the EU will take over as the World's policeman, nation builder and guardian of its "hearts and minds". If so, bring it on - the US can use some R & R.

    Certainly EU Security & Defence is active enough and a precocious child in this stage of its development:

    The Council adopted a decision establishing the European External Action Service

    On 26 July 2010 the General Affairs Council adopted the Decision establishing the European External Action Service (EEAS) and setting out its organisation and functioning.

    "We can now move forward to build a modern, effective and distinctly European service for the 21st century," the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, said. She added that for the EEAS to come into being on 1st January 2011 it was crucial to rapidly amend the EU Staff and Financial Regulations and agree an amending budget for 2010." ... [pdf]
    and the EU currently is engaged in some 20 missions on 3 continents.

    One wonders how much concern there is in Europe about the Treaty of Lisbon and that the EU's role as a security player is rapidly expanding. It is, of course, their own business and they may have a better Camelot than we did.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 07-30-2010 at 02:50 AM.

  9. #69
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    Hi Jmm99,

    First of all, about French military dictionnary :
    Troupes de Marine (aka "La Coloniale" or "La Colo" or TDM) are infantry troups. Telling that TDM are like US Marines is confusing : US Marines are mainly Amphibian Infantry as TDM are mainly Foreign ops Infantry (due to their historical empathy with foreign Natives/Autochtons).
    La Marine (aka "La Royale" from the old name "la marine royale") is Navy.

    About Mauritania operation, as French Forces were joined with local military forces, it is more a "police assistance operation" than a military operation, IMO.

    If French forces did operate without local assistance, or without "green light" from Mauritania and Nigeria, we should ask ourselves what legitimation the French Pdt could invoke.
    Last edited by jps2; 07-30-2010 at 06:54 AM.

  10. #70
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Hey Mike,

    Well, I'm almost in Milwaukee.

    About the French legislation it self:
    Terrorism, it is defined in penal code Book 4 Title 2: on terrorism. All dispositions on terrorism are set in the article 421-1 to 421-6.
    http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affich...Texte=20100730
    (Naturally all in French)
    But this applies for the terrorist acts conducted on the French soil.
    As you pointed out, there are some differences with the US legal system for operations abroad as the French law does not apply.

    Also, in the case of hostages, this falls under the Book 2, Title 2, Chap 4, Section 1: on sequestration. For hostage taking this falls under the article 224-4.
    http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affich...Texte=20101001
    But once again, this is applicable only in France.

    The incident in Somalia with the piracy is a precedent as the pirates were brought in France to be judged under the French law. This was probably possible because this happened in international waters on in the national water of a country without state (Somalia).

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    Default Hey jps2 and MAL

    Given its missions in Iraq and Astan, the USMC has been a bit removed from its role as an amphibious infantry force. Even Jon Custis quit wearing his life jacket (old avatar vs new avatars).

    The distinction (based on "de" vs "de la") between the present Troupes de Marine and the ancien Troupes de la Marine is definite. E.g., snips from a couple of my ancestral notary records: 1740 - "... Louis-Odet de Pierrecot de Bailleul, écuyer et lieutenant d'une compagnie du détachement de la Marine ...."; and 1761 - ".... Etienne Bragelone, écuyer et capitaine réformé du détachement de la marine ....

    The TDM has a decent, brief histoire (in Fr.) of the colonial Marines in Canada, included in Les Deux Premiers Empires. My two Marines above (along with a raftful of others) were from the "mainforce" independent companies directly under the Ministry of the Marine (thus, the "de la", as I understand it), with their engagement contracts (soldats & sous-officiers), warrants (maître-chirurgiens) and commissions (officiers) issued through that ministry.

    However, a number of French Army regiments were attached to the Ministry of the Marine and shipped off to Canada (from the TDM page):

    Le régiment de Carignan-Sellières, au Canada jusqu'en 1668.

    Des bataillons des régiments d'Aunis (île Royale 1751), d'Artois (Louisbourg 1755), de Béarn et de Guyenne à Québec, de Berry, de Languedoc, au Canada (1757), de Bourgogne avec le régiment de Toumanis à Louisbourg, de la Sarre et de Royal-Roussillon à Québec (1756), du régiment de la Reine à Québec (1754), de Ponthieu, des chasseurs de Fischer (1766).
    Like most all those of French-Canadian ancestry, I have many Carignan-Sellières ancestors.

    The ancien Marines go back to Cardinal Richelieu (see TDM, Les Vielles Troupes de Marine), who developed the units during the period 1622-1635 and who (among his other titles) was governor of Brouage. He had among his guards at Brouage, one Pierre Miville. In a wedding act celebrated in St-Hilaire d'Hiers on June 25, 1635, Pierre Miville (temoin - witness) is noted as "souice de Monseigneur le cardinal demeurant en Brouage..." ("Monsignor the Cardinal's Swiss, living in Brouage"). Miville and his family moved to Canada in the mid-1640s where he raised his brood of children and had many more descendants (including me) than engagements with Iroquois.

    Fascinating history to me; but not very relevant to the topic.

    ----------------------------
    Agree that Somali pirates are governed by the Laws of the Sea, and that France probably has mutual security assistance pacts with the African nations, which allow French troops permissive entry under whatever conditions are set out in the pacts.

    My question is who in the French government has authority to send the French rescue teams - positing that international law authority for entry exists. In short, who is your CinC in these cases.

    What I'm trying to compare is the US situation with its rescue teams and other military entries. In most (if not all) rescue situations, the President can pull the trigger without Congressional approval (because of short timelines). But, if a longer-term (and/or substantial) military effort is required, Congressional authorization to use military force is the better policy and (IMO) often constitutionally required. E.g., both Presidents Bush and Obama have been criticised for acting unilaterally in some areas.

    Regards

    Mike

  12. #72
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default That's an easy one...

    Which, can be tricky by the way.
    Basically the president is the Chief of the armies. He is the highest commander in charge.
    For rescue operation in a foreign territory, he basically cannot not be aware and not authorise the operation.
    For a smaller operation, as Artemis, the president is authorising but the parliament can/must be involved.
    For a war, the parliament his the one giving the go ahead after proposition of the government. The Senate also has a voice.

    Well, that's the general frame. After, you have the secret operations which can be decided by others than the president but never in contradiction with his orders.

    There is theorically very little room for a vaccum in the chain of command. Now, some orders can be interpretations...

  13. #73
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default

    Interesting enough, I just went to have a look at the legislation in France on the engagement of French Forces in foreign theatres. And the Senate is actually working on it. (More or less… Takes time as always)

    All is basically based on the art35 from the constitution: “war declaration is authorized by the parliament”.
    But, only the participation to Gulf war was voted by the parliament in 1991. Since then…
    The senators are looking at a revision of the constitution on that subject. And the trigger is the participation of France to Afghanistan war.
    As in USA, they feel they are not involved enough in the process: they are at the best consulted and otherwise informed regularly.

    There is a proposition of law that wants to introduce the fact that if French forces are deployed for a longer period than 3 month, the parliament has to be consulted and authorization will be approved through vote.

    Basically, the problem of war being conducted without war declaration seems to have trigger the same problematic on both sides of the ocean.
    As there is no war declaration nowadays, the presidential power seems to be too important. But, you have to have in mind that strong presidential power was what was in the mind of those who wrote the 1958 constitution in France.

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    I wish to add some precisions to M-A Lagrange last topic.

    Member of the Parlement (parliament, lower chamber) can ask, every Wednesday, direct and public writen question to any minister of the government. The debates are public, so some confidential issues are not asked/responded. There is also a Defense commission (small pool of deputies) where most confidential issues can be spoken. The main problem is that Defense issues are assign to President not to government, but the French constitution does not allow him to come and spoke at parliament.

    Bosny, African and Afgha deployements where debate at parliament, but as they weren't wars, the parliament can't approve or deny the choice made by the Pdt and his Prime minister.

    Foreign diplomacy is also assign to the president, according to the constitution.

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    Default Why France Will Finish Off Gaddafi

    Why France Will Finish Off Gaddafi

    Entry Excerpt:

    Let’s make something clear, the civil war in Libya will not end in a stalemate. The French will likely intervene with ground forces and topple the Gaddafi regime, and they will probably do it within a month. It is quite possible that they will do so with Italian help. President Obama has fervently wished for America to be just one of the boys; in the end, this may be a case of wishing for something so much that you get it. America has abrogated the role of global marshal that it assumed after World War II. Every posse needs a Marshal to lead it. The French will likely pick up the tin star they found lying in the street of the global village.

    Click through for the rest of "Why France Will Finish Off Gaddafi".



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    Default Retreat, discontent, and misunderstanding: France in Afghanistan

    Retreat, discontent, and misunderstanding: France in Afghanistan

    Entry Excerpt:

    Retreat, discontent, and misunderstanding: France in Afghanistan
    by Stéphane Taillat, a SWC Member
    Foreign Policy

    BLUF. The last two days have been murderous for the French contingent in Afghanistan; four paratroopers were killed in a suicide attack in the Surobi district, while a Special Forces soldier was killed during operations in the Alasay Valley, in the province of Kapisa.

    The timing of these incidents was hardly accidental: The goal was to strike France and its army during the commemoration of the national and military holiday that is the "14 Juillet" known as Bastille Day in the Anglophone world. But these deaths also illustrate the growing engagement of French units in Afghanistan in more intense kinetic operations. The reconquest of Kapisa, a particularly sensitive region situated on a strategic axis and marked by 30 years of war, has been a particularly costly and difficult task, one that has required French forces to put into practice their tactical knowledge and understanding of "contre-insurrection" or what Americans call COIN.

    Much more at Foreign Policy



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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-15-2011 at 08:54 AM. Reason: Add author is a SWC Member

  17. #77
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    Default New boots, Chinooks please: French lessons for the US Army

    A fascinating RAND study of France's Operation Serval in Mali and whether the US Army's expeditionary approach can learn lessons. There are some important caveats, notably reliance on French official sources as this campaign had virtually no media presence then and after:http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR770.html

    The title comes from learning the French Army's boots failed in the heat amidst the rocky terrain and the one things they missed from Afghanistan. There are many other lessons, for this armchair observer the ability to move overland without major logistic problems.

    There is a regional thread on Mali, a good part covers the French role:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9254

    Note the paper does not cover the "what next" question in the campaign, although it does comment on the difficulties Mali faces.

    Added July 2016. There is a new commentary on the French action and the cited RAND report:http://ndupress.ndu.edu/JFQ/Joint-Fo...rmy-in-africa/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-11-2016 at 10:19 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    Default

    Thanks for the heads-up on this one, Dave. I’ve scanned it and I’m looking forward to giving it a closer read.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The title comes from learning the French Army's boots failed in the heat amidst the rocky terrain and the one things they missed from Afghanistan.
    Now you’re got me curious as to what model boots the French troops were issued. This Meindl model, maybe? Certain leather treatments can weaken the glue, but the heat alone in a place like Mali could be enough to delaminate even the highest quality of boot soles. I suppose boots with a Norwegian welt—with a liberal coating of seam sealer protecting the exposed stitching—would be one answer, albeit a pricey one. I believe the IDF issues canvas boots with glued soles using the logic that a desert environment is going to kill boots quickly regardless, so might as well go cheap. I don’t know how supportive they are, though, and the logistics of expeditionary warfare are not a concern for the IDF.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  19. #79
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    Best we remember that France's history, interests and goals in this region are completely different than those of the US, and in many ways much more practical, I suspect.

    We need to be careful about getting too excited about any tactical insights when not balanced against a context of strategy. Next thing you know we'll be publishing a manual derived from the lessons learned of colonial and containment suppression operations, celebrating its tactical brilliance as somehow adding up to a strategy, and attempting to apply it as "COIN" to what we have been trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. Crazy.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Best we remember that France's history, interests and goals in this region are completely different than those of the US, and in many ways much more practical, I suspect.

    We need to be careful about getting too excited about any tactical insights when not balanced against a context of strategy. Next thing you know we'll be publishing a manual derived from the lessons learned of colonial and containment suppression operations, celebrating its tactical brilliance as somehow adding up to a strategy, and attempting to apply it as "COIN" to what we have been trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. Crazy.
    Yes, hence the RAND author's numerous caveats.

    What would be interesting is a comparison with the approaches used by the US military in a region familiar to them, using Bob's 'history, interests and goals'. The Phillipines comes to mind.

    Being a civilian I was interested in the use of small company sized units as the basic building block and the use of troops based in West Africa and in France itself. The authors do refer to some issues over this.
    davidbfpo

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