29th July 2016

A National Guard for France

Senator Gisèle Jourda, senator for the French department Aude in southern France.

What is this new National Guard announced yesterday, 28 July, by French President François Hollande? Difficult to say just yet because the details will be worked out next week at a Defence Council and will then be debated in September by the French parliament. But this is what we know so far. Hollande specified that […]

Why German soldiers play no internal security role

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A question comes to mind these days at a time when Germany has tragically “redsicovered” terrorism: where is the Bundeswehr? For cultural and legal reasons, there can be no German equivalent to the French Sentinelle operation, in which the army is deployed domestically. Germany’s uneasy relationship with its 20th century past has resulted in an historical debate concerning […]

Watchkeeping on Ascension Island

Ascension Island (graphic: The Times Atlas of the World)

Many of you may be dreaming about upcoming holidays on island resorts: palm trees, sandy beaches, snorkelling amongst tropical fish, cool drinks etc. But a number of British soldiers are spending their summer learning to use the Watchkeeper remotely piloted air system (RPAS) on an island that, albeit tropical, is not really a holiday paradise. […]

A Belgian Special Operations Command

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Will there soon be a Belgian equivalent to the French special operations command (SOC)? This, in any case, is what Belgian defence minister Steven Vandeput, is aiming for if one looks at his 2030 defence plan, the lion’s part of which goes to strengthening and completely reorganising Belgium’s special forces under the umbrella of a future Special […]

Le Drian and Brexit

Jean-Yves le Drian

As we all know by now, a slim majority of the British population voted in June to leave the European Union. What has passed many people by is that this referendum was ‘advisory’, in other words it is not legally binding so whether Brexit actually occurs or not only time will tell. But so far […]

Sharing the security burden

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by Nathan Gain and Christina Mackenzie   Whilst the Iraqi army, supported by an international coalition, is striking victories against Daesh, the 30 or so countries engaged in a coalition against the terrorist organisation met on 19 and 20 July in Washington to discuss the way forwards. The occasion was used by France’s defence minister, […]

NATO summit on Russia

Venue for the NATO Summit in Warsaw

Back from holiday we’ve noticed that little attention was paid on web media in France to the NATO summit that was held in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on 8 and 9 July. And what is striking is that whilst media attention is focussed on the terrorist organisation Daesh, NATO’s attention is focussed on Russia, even […]

Exclusive interview of Alain Juppé on land defence

Juppé @ Eurosatory 2016 - Crédits GICAT

Continuing our new series of interviews about the positioning of French political representatives relative to the Army and the defence industry in the run up to the French Presidential elections in 2017, today it is the turn of Alain Juppé, candidate in the Republican primaries and currently Mayor of Bordeaux, to set out his programme. […]

Equipping France’s special forces, part 2

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Yesterday we published the first part of the 1 June hearing by the French National Assembly’s Commission for National Defence and the Armed Forces of Commander of Special Operations Major-General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin. (Meanwhile we heard that on 6 July he was appointed deputy chief of staff combat operations at the General Staff – Paris – […]

Equipping France’s special forces, part 1

Brigadier-General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin (photo credit: French MoD)

“The NH90 was not thought out for special forces, some equipment is missing,” warned Commander of Special Operations Major-General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin,  during his very interesting 1 June hearing by the French national Assembly’s Commission for National Defence and the Armed Forces. “We are holding talks with the armed forces and with the DGA [procurement […]