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Friday 1 April 2011
European Security Perspectives & ICI Field Study - Paris
The third leg of the European Security Perspectives & Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Field Study took Senior Course (SC) 118 to France on 29-30 March. Course members (CMs) enjoyed their visit to the École Militaire in Paris, where they received four highly informative briefings.
In his opening remarks, Major General Jean-Jacques BART, Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff - International Relations Division, referred to the New Strategic Concept. The speaker focused on the parts of the document that state the underlying need for transformation towards a combination of major and smaller operations, emphasizing the importance of readily deployable forces to ensure optimal defence and crisis response capabilities.
Rear Admiral Franck BADUEL, Deputy Chief of the Centre de planification et de conduite des opérations (CPCO), opened his brief on the subject of “Ongoing Military Operations” by explaining the decision-making process for operational planning and the responsibilities of the Chief of Defence Staff. He delivered a comprehensive overview of the French armed forces’ most significant current operational commitments abroad and spoke, in particular, of Afghanistan as the top priority.
Mr Philippe VITEL, Deputy Chairman of the French Parliamentary Commission for National Defence and the Armed Forces, spoke about “French Security and Defence Policy after the Lisbon Summit”. He discussed the 2008 White Paper, which set out the objectives and orientation of the French armed forces for a twenty-year time frame. Referring to European Union-NATO relations, Mr VITEL underlined that the two organizations should complement – not duplicate – each other.
The final briefing on French foreign policy was delivered by Mr Maxime LEFEBVRE, Director of International Relations at the National School of Administration and advisor to the French Policy Planning Staff. Mr LEFEBVRE described how recent French foreign policy has evolved in response to the changing world scenario, with special emphasis on the contribution made by President Nicolas SARKOZY.
The lectures were followed by extensive Q&A sessions, during which CMs asked many challenging questions. The visit ended with a cocktail reception in the École Militaire’s Rotonde Gabriel, hosted by Major General Jean-Jacques BART. In his closing remarks, Lieutenant General Wolf-Dieter LOESER, the Commandant of the NATO Defense College (NDC), thanked Major General BART and spoke about the NDC’s 60th anniversary, reminding his audience that the College was for many years housed on the premises of the École Militaire – indeed, at the very beginning it actually had close historic links with the Rotonde Gabriel building where CMs had gathered for the farewell reception.