Visit to Paris: Final Stop of Field Study 1 for Senior Course 141
Course Members of Senior Course 141 landed on Parisian soil for their last leg of Field Study 1. From 4 to 6 October 2022, Course Members heard several briefings from representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the Parliament who delved into France’s policies and views in the security and defence domains.
On the first day, there was a hosted reception by the Chief of Defence, General Thierry Burkhard, at the Ecole Militaire. The NDC Commandant, Lieutenant-General Olivier Rittimann, delivered his introductory speech followed by welcome remarks by General Burkhard who shared his strategic vision and underlined France’s commitment to NATO Allies and partners. He also highlighted the important role of the NATO Defense College as the “best student framework” in providing education on defence and security issues for the European Union and NATO.
Day 2 began at Les Invalides with opening remarks by Vice-Admiral Christophe Lucas who stressed that “the unity of the Alliance is the most valuable thing” in these difficult times, stemming from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the consequent challenges to come. He also underscored the importance of cooperation between NATO and the European Union to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area.
The next briefer was Member of Parliament, Ms Anne Genetet, who talked about “The Role of Parliament in Defence Policy”. She spoke of France’s response to the current security challenges in Europe, the war between Russia and Ukraine and her country’s actions to support Ukraine, explaining Parliament’s role in the decision-making process.
Mr Alexander Vulic, Assistant Director for International Security Affairs, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, briefed Course Members on “The NATO-EU Relation”. He affirmed that the Alliance’s response to the Russian-Ukraine war was appropriate, and the imperative to reinforce cooperation between the EU and the Alliance, adding that NATO remains at the core of European collective defence. Nevertheless, it is necessary to work on European autonomy.
Captain Phillippe Schegg, Head of the Directorate General for International Relations and Strategies of NATO and Transatlantic Affairs Department, and an Ancien of the NDC from Senior Course 138, delivered a presentation entitled “NATO: a French Vision”. His presentation provided a historical background of France as an active and reliable player within NATO; strategic tenets of French defence policy; and France’s vision and key contributions for NATO.
Colonel Richard Ringuet, Chef du Bureau for NATO, then took the floor to give a briefing on “French Operations”. He talked about France’s military strategy and the various operations in which French Armed Forces are deployed around the globe.
Colonel Nicolas Chalon, then gave a lecture on “Strategic Foresight: The Example of the Red Team”. He briefed Course Members on the responsibilities of different teams that work on hypothetical future scenarios, a complementary tool for strategic foresight.
The final presentation on “French Nuclear Deterrence Doctrine”, was given by Colonel Geoffroy Didion, from the Directorate General of International Relations and Strategy. All presentations were followed by closing remarks and a gift exchange by Committee 7.
Closing remarks were delivered by Mr Guillaumme Ollagnier, from the Ministry of Defence, who summed up the main points addressed during the presentations: France is a key and active player of the Alliance and cooperation between NATO and the EU is as important as ever. He emphasized the “fundamental role” that NDC plays “in the NATO family”.
Day 2 concluded with a guided tour of the Musée de l’Armée des Invalides.
On Day 3, Course Members visited the Musée Carnavalet, which completed the programme of Field Study 1 for Senior Course 141, focused on European Security Perspectives.