vendredi 27 octobre 2017

Publication - "Chasing Grandeur? What you need to know about the 2017 French Strategic Review" (War on The Rocks)

En collaboration avec Guillaume Lasconjarias, chercheur au Collège de défense de l’OTAN (Rome), je publie sur le site War on the Rocks un commentaire (en Anglais) d'analyse sur la récente Revue stratégique de défense et de sécurité nationale 2017
Ce document, part de la stratégie déclaratoire de la France, qui tente de faire une double synthèse : le maintien d'une ambition élevée et une nécessaire régénération des forces armées, et le maintien d'une autonomie stratégique sur bien des points et l'articulation de la coopération sur bien d'autres.
War on the Rocks est une des plus importantes plateformes collaboratives sur les questions stratégiques, selon le principe de "peer review". Acteur central d'animation du débat stratégique, américain, et plus globalement international, il est une source appréciable d'analyses de haut niveau.
France’s new Strategic Review has just been published. Yes, it is a Strategic Review and not a White Paper, and the change of name is more than just an exercise in rebranding. It is shorter, more concentrated, and more concise than a White Paper – the 2013 version had 136 pages developed over seven different chapters. The new Review (only available in French for the moment, but an English version is due in November) sets out France’s priorities for the next ten years, and as stated by President Emmanuel Macron in the foreword, aims at “coming up with solutions to today’s great crises, promoting [France’s] values, and protecting its interests.”

But, let us move on to see what lies behind the rhetoric. The Review is not trumpeting that France is back. More precisely, it performs two key functions: As a policy document, it sets out the future of French defense and security policy that will shape the Law on Military Programming for the years 2019-2024 (the current Military Planning Actoriginated from the previous White Paper and was updated in 2015). Second, it lays out Macron’s vision for France: taking the lead in shaping a European defense policy in response to a world of “threats and opportunities” – as stated in the seminal speech he delivered as a candidate.

Born out of the president’s determination to move swiftly, this Review was produced in just three and a half months, thus avoiding a more time-consuming and formalized process. It spells out the presidential pledge to gradually raise defense spending to reach a two percent GDP target by 2025, despite an initial cut in 2017 (which stirred up some political turmoil and led to the resignation of the then-Chief of Defense Gen. Pierre de Villiers).

Originality is not the forte of this Review, but it is rigorous in style, taking stock first of a new, rapidly deteriorating strategic environment with a rise in challenging threats and risks, and second of new forms of conflict and warfare, for which France seeks both strategic autonomy and European ambition. Realistic and well-structured, the Reviewupholds the basic conditions for grandeur to endure and for France to meet its international obligations – it is an element of continuity rather than a profound transformation.

Dans une logique un peu différente, mais toujours afin de nourrir sa réflexion et favoriser le débat d'idées, le lancement en France de "GeoaStrategia, l'agora stratégique 2.0", via le CSFRS (Conseil Supérieur de la Formation et de la Recherche Stratégiques), est à souligner comme plateforme centrale de reprise d'articles.

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