Over the past few weeks we have received numerous press releases regarding either the dissolution or the creation of commands, brigades, regiments etc. as the French Army prepares its new Au Contact (In Touch) model. The latter is designed to make the army more agile and dynamic. Able to intervene on foreign theatres of operation and on the national territory, the SCORPION force is articulated into two divisions and six joint brigades: two armoured brigades, two amphibious brigades and two light brigades (air transportable and mountain).
We’ve been gathering this information together and you’ll find a summary below:
The general staff of the 3rd armoured light brigade was dissolved on 16 June. The regiments which made up this brigade will merge with others. Ground forces will thus have an operational capacity of 77,000 equipped personnel by summer 2017. By 2025 they will have at their disposal some 200 main battle tanks, 250 lighter tanks, 2,700 multi-mission and combat armoured vehicles, 147 reconnaissance and attack helicopters, 115 transport/utility helicopters and about 30 tactical remotely piloted air systems (RPAS).
The transmissions and command support brigade (BTAC) in Douai was dissolved on 21 June.
On 29 June the 13th half-brigade of the foreign legion (13e DBLE) arrived at the Larzac camp, its new base.
On 23 June the Land special forces command (COM FST, commandement des forces spéciales Terre) was created, one of the 13 commands at division level in the new Army In Touch model.
Together with national territory and air combat, this is one of the three key capabilities of the In Touch model. It uses the Army’s special forces’ expertise for the benefit of joint forces, joint ministerial and joint allies relying notably on the development of the Arès centre (special forces academy).
With 2,500 personnel, the COM FST includes the general staff and its command and transmissions company (CCTFS), three special forces’ regiments (13e RDP [parachute dragoon regiment], 1er RPIMa [marine infantry parachute regiment], 4e RHFS [special forces helicopter regiment]), the support group for special operations (GAOS, the structure in charge of accommodating specialised back-ups from the army) and the Arès centre.
On 1 July the command for information and communications systems (COM SIC) was created, one of the 13 commands at division level in the new Army In Touch model. Commanded by Brigadier Serge Maurice, the COM SIC is composed of five Army transmissions regiments (28e RT, 40e RT, 41e RT, 48e RT, 53e RT), the Transmissions College and the initial training centre for rank and file soldiers (CFIM) in Dieuze.
On 1 July the 807th transmissions company was also created. Part of the above-mentioned COM SIC, the 807e CT is focussed on cyberdefence with four major missions: anticipating and analysing cyberthreats, supervising the security of information systems and weapons systems, controlling the electro-magnetic spectrum and defending against hackers.
Also on 1 July the ceremony to mark the creation of the 1st Scorpion division (1ère DIV) was held in Besançon. This division is made up of a general staff, three joint brigades (the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade, the 9th Marine Infantry Brigade and the 7th Armoured Brigade), the Franco-German brigade, 26 regiments and a high mountain college, a total force of some 25,000 men and women.
Commanded by Major-General Philippe Lesimple, this new division will parade down the Champs Elysées with its vehicles in the traditional 14th July Bastille Day military show in nine days time.
Still on 1 July (busy day that was!), the centre for doctrine and command instruction (CDEC) was created, the result of a fusion between the centre for the doctrine on the use of armed forces (CDEF) and the army’s centre for strategic studies (CESAT). The CDEC’s mission is to meet the need for synergies in fundamental domains for the army such as doctrine, lessons learned, senior military instruction and prospective studies.
Situated in the War College (Ecole Militaire) in Paris, the CDEC is commanded by Major-General Antoine Windeck.
On 4 July the command for the maintenance of forces (COM MF) and the command for the transformation of the service of ground forces industrial maintenance (SMITer) were created, two of the 13 commands at division level in the new Army In Touch model.
The COM MF, commanded by Major-General Richard André, is in charge of maintaining in operational condition all the army’s ground combat equipment in metropolitan France, in its overseas territories, abroad, and during operations. The headquarters is based in Lille with an advanced base in Versailles-Satory. It has authority on the six matériel regiments (RMAT) and on the Matériel College in Bourges. The COM MF commands 11,000 military and civilian personnel, largely mechanics specialised in armoured vehicles, armaments and transmissions.
The SMITer, an industrial main contractor, is the guarantor of the full employment of the capacities of the different actors in the industrial maintenance and low supply chain in order to accelerate the regeneration of ground forces’ equipment and to prepare the support for SCORPION equipment. Directly subordinated to the SIMMT, its new field of action comes in the framework of a strengthened partnership with defence companies. Composed of about 2,300 men and women, it is made up of a management centre in Versailles and of three matériel support bases (BSMAT) which are strengthened and specialised and work in complementarity with the industries in their respective segments.