Forces terrestres et réassurance: Quelles options pour l’Alliance?

lasconjarias couvIfri’s Research Defense Unit just published the number 65 of the Focus stratégique collection:

Forces terrestres et réassurance: Quelles options pour l’Alliance?

Guillaume Lasconjarias works for the research unit of the NATO in Rome. His last book is about hybrid wars and is called : NATO’s Response to Hybrid Threats (Rome, NDC Forum Paper, 2015).


Born into the Cold War, the very notion of ‘reassurance’ was revived in the wake of the 2014 Ukraine crisis as NATO had to label the measures destined to reassert the lasting relevance of collective defense towards its member states. This has led to an increased role for land forces, despite the serious political, economic and operational difficulties involved. NATO has striven to revitalize its concept of rapid response by means of the VJTF, however, some issues remain unsolved regarding the range of actions to be undertaken in order to uphold reassurance as a lasting principle. The main problem is related to the delicate balance to be maintained between a posture of firmness – based on rapid reaction capacities – and a risk of escalation associated with potential worsening of tensions. For land forces, this translates into a return towards the know-how and practice that two decades of expeditionary warfare have kept out of the picture.

Table of contents



La “réassurance” ou l’éternel retour des concepts

La réassurance avant la réassurance

Une redécouverte par nécessité

Un arsenal de mesures trop limité?

Les options pour une réassurance durable



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The Challenges of Maintaining Nuclear Cultures : US and UK Perspectives

couv brooks mckaneIfri’s Deterrence and Proliferation Program has just published the issue #55 of its Proliferation Papers series entitled:

The Challenges of Maintaining Nuclear Cultures : US and UK Perspectives

Ambassador Brooks has over 55 years of experience in national security, much of it associated with nuclear weapons. He served from 2002 to 2007 as Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, responsible for the U.S. nuclear weapons program.

Tom McKane is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute and a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE Ideas. From 2008 to 2014 he was, successively, Director General of Strategy and Director General of Security Policy at the UK Ministry of Defence.

Their new paper can be downloaded here


After the world entered the nuclear age, civilian and military organizations have witnessed the slow emergence of nuclear cultures, defined as the set of values and knowledge, shared among the national security community, about the relative importance of nuclear weapons in the country’s defense posture, the distinctive features of nuclear weapons in terms of security, safety and operational requirements, and the workings of deterrence. Nuclear cultures have helped to ensure some level of coherence in policymaking and, most importantly, to maintain safe and effective deterrents. At a national level, however, each nuclear culture is confronted with significant challenges, such as generational change, decreasing levels of understanding or attention among the political and military leadership, insufficient funding or a growing inability to meet manpower requirements in both the nuclear weapons complexes and the armed forces. This paper looks at the United States and United Kingdom’s recent efforts to maintain their nuclear culture, and at the key challenges these two countries face while pursuing this aim.



U.S. Nuclear Culture in the 21st Century

American Nuclear Culture:
Shared Values and Persistent Disagreements

Can the Lack of Consensus Be Remedied
and Does It Matter?

Components of the American Nuclear Establishment and Their Unique Cultures

International Challenges to Nuclear Culture

Special Cultural Problems Beyond Nuclear Culture

Nuclear Modernization:
A Case Study of Culture, Politics and Economics


Nuclear Culture in the United Kingdom

Maintaining the British Nuclear Deterrent

The British Public’s Attitude towards Nuclear Deterrence

Political Parties’ Views of the Nuclear Deterrent

Understanding of Nuclear Deterrence by Politicians

The Military

The Civil Service

Industrial Base

Safety and Security

Academia and Think Tanks

Looking Ahead

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La cyberguerre des gangs aura-t-elle lieu?


Ifri’s Research Defense Unit just published the number 60 of the Focus stratégique collection:

La cyberguerre des gangs aura-t-elle lieu ?

Daniel Ventre is research enginner at CNRS. He holds the chair “Cybersécurité et Cyberdéfense des Ecoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan”. He has supervised several publications whose Cyber Conflict : Competing National Perspectives (Wiley, 2012) and Chinese Cybersecurity and Defense (Wiley, 2014).

You can download this new Focus Stratégique here.



Gangs have relied on cyberspace to evolve. New information technologies have allowed them to speed up and globalize their operations. Gang members often use social networks, specifically Facebook and Twitter. They post photos, videos, songs, and texts to meet different objectives: promoting of a criminal subculture, displaying a strategy of terror towards rival gangs or communicating threats against police and security forces while securing local popular support, etc. However, this data, available online, is not escaping the attention of security forces who are utilizing innovative software to fight against crime..

Table of Contents:


Les gangs : un phénomène en évolution

Pratiques des gangs dans le cyberespace

Le cyberespace

Le cyberbanging

L’adaptation de la réponse des institutions étatiques


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L’opération Serval à l’épreuve du doute : vrais succès et fausses leçons

Ifri’s Research Defense Unit just published the number 59 of the Focus stratégique collection:

L’opération Serval à l’épreuve du doute : vrais succès et fausses leçons

Chef de Bataillon Antoine d’Evry, a French military officier, is a seconded Research Fellow at the Ifri’s Research Defense Unit. He graduated from the French military Academy, Armed Forces Staff courses, and War College. He also holds a Geography Master’s degree.

You can download this new Focus Stratégique here.


The deployment of French forces to Mali in January 2013 with the objective to counter the offensive of jihadist groups inside Northern Mali, demonstrated the French armed forces’ ability to deploy under a very short period of time and to conduct a long-distance expeditionary operation by itself in spite of its limited strategic capabilities. The successful outcome of Serval can be explained through multiple factors such as forward basing, swift decision as well as execution of maneuver and good bilateral relations with the African states. This success should not however lead to downplay the capability shortfalls that were also illustrated by the operation in terms of strategic lift, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and the political capability to settle an internal conflict whose outcome remains uncertain.

Table of Contents:


Le Mali en crise

Serval, une prouesse stratégique délicate

Quels enseignements pour l’avenir ?


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Conventionalizing Deterrence? U.S. Prompt Strike Programs and Their Limits

Prolif 52 Ifri’s Deterrence and Proliferation Program has just published the issue #52 of its Proliferation Papers series entitled:

Conventionalizing Deterrence? U.S. Prompt Strike Programs and Their Limits

Corentin Brustlein is a research fellow and the head of the Deterrence and Proliferation program at Ifri’s Security Studies Center. Click here to find his posts on the blog.

His new paper can be downloaded here.


About a decade ago, the U.S. has started to examine options to develop and acquire Conventional Prompt Global Strike capabilities. This move fits in an effort to conventionalize deterrence, an effort initiated decades before and undertaken for profound and diverse motives. Although it has been renewed under the Obama administration, which aims to reduce the U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons, this ambition has resulted in very little concrete progress. Budget cuts to defense spending and technological obstacles have forced the Pentagon to scale back its plans in terms of conventional strategic strike programs. Despite these setbacks, ten years from now the U.S. may well possess a conventional prompt strike capability in its arsenal. As a consequence, this paper also highlights some longer-term, operational and strategic issues that might arise from a context of crisis or war in which prompt strike capabilities could be used, and attempts to shed new light on the potential values these capabilities might have for U.S. national security.




A Long-Term Dynamic of Conventionalization

Obstacles in the Way: Budget, Technology, Politics

Uncertain Implications: CPGS in the Fog of War


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A new Ifri study on military resurgence

IFRI_thd_fs52Ifri’s Security Studies Center has just published the issue #52 of its Focus stratégique series entitled:

Les chausse-trapes de la remontée en puissance. Défis et écueils du redressement militaire

 An officer in the French Army, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Garnier is on a research assignment at the Defense Research Unit (LRD). He is a graduate of the French military academy Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr and of the Collège Interarmées de Défense (CID) (Joint Service Defense College).

His new Focus Stratégique can be downloaded here.


A process of military resurgence shows a government’s will to strengthen its defense apparatus, either to face new strategic challenges or, more frequently, to reverse decline of its capabilities. The ongoing budgetary crisis, which keeps harming many countries, causes an accelerated weakening of European armed forces. Thus, the question of military resurgence is urgent, at least for those countries that deem necessary maintaining a credible defense tool. Military resurgence is everything but simple. The sharper the drop in capabilities, the more difficult, costly and long the resurgence will be. A swift consolidation may be enough to patch up an apparatus that suffers from minor shortcomings. Should these multiply up to the point of endangering the coherence of the system, a much more substantial build-up would be needed. Ultimately, only a massive, enduring and global effort of reconstruction could efficiently deal with the actual collapse of armed forces. Consequently, this paper highlights the critical importance of threshold effects when considering the development and sustainment of such an effort, effects which must be taken into account before any crippling decision is taken. More specifically, loss of either military or industrial skills has to be carefully thought on and controlled, otherwise the resurgence will fail, however ample the funding may be.



Les facteurs de succès : exemples historiques

La remontée en puissance dans l’étau contemporain

Implications stratégiques : le délicat réglage du processus



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La réforme du secteur de sécurité, entre bureaucraties et stratégie

Ifri’s Defense Research Unit has just published the issue #51 of its Focus Stratégique series entitled:

La réforme du secteur de sécurité, entre bureaucraties et stratégie.

Aline Leboeuf is a research fellow at Ifri. In 2013, she defended her PhD focused on Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone.

The issue can be downloaded here.

Abstract :

The concept of Security Sector Reform (SSR) was developed during the 1990s as a response to several problems chiefly faced by countries in post-conflict transitions: weak new governments; conflicting civil-military relations; ill-defined division of tasks between the armed forces, the police, and the judiciary system; and tension between the requirements to stabilize the country and to establish the rule of law. SSR is the product of three distinct institutional traditions (development aid, military cooperation, and democracy promotion). Bureaucratic dynamics have changed the concept and influenced its implementation, leading to a discrepancy between the stated comprehensive ambitions and the more elusive, piecemeal results. The implementation of SSR projects in several post-conflict settings (Sierra Leone, DRC, Afghanistan) has often resulted in either partial success or utter failure. The author presents her vision of a successful SSR: it must stem from a strategic vision that can be readily embraced by the host state and that takes into account local circumstances. It must then be translated into credible policies tailored to practical and operational realities of institutions’ work and to power balances between local forces in play. While implementation requires flexibility (particularly regarding the pace of reforms), the author stresses the importance of mechanisms conducive to a legitimate and credible security sector, such as norm enforcement and incentives for effectiveness.

Contents :


La RSS: un enjeu stratégique

La RSS, un objet bureaucratique “bricolé”

Vers une approche stratégique de la RSS


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Quelles perspectives pour l’industrie européenne des armements terrestres?

FS50Ifri’s Defense Research Unit has just published the issue #50 of its Focus Stratégique series entitled:

Quelles perspectives pour l’industrie européenne des armements terrestres ?

Aude-Emmanuelle Fleurant is the Director of the Armaments and Defense Economics Program at the Institut de recherche stratégique de l’Ecole militaire (IRSEM).

Yannick Quéau is associate researcher at the Groupe de recherche et d’information sur la paix et la sécurité (GRIP, Bruxelles).

The issue can be downloaded here.


Over the last decade, the European land armament industry developed into a thriving market driven by growing demand from the BRICS, a new wave of emerging countries and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing sovereign debt crisis has put European countries under severe strain, prompting them to take fiscal consolidation measures affecting defence budgets. In this context, European land armament corporations have looked for buoyant economies beyond Europe to maintain their market shares and outlets. As the fragmentation of the industry is proving to be the key challenge faced by these firms, this article explores several scenarios that could allow them to address it.

Contents :


Transition et incertitudes pour les forces terrestres occidentales

Le portrait de la demande

Les tendances affectant l’offre


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Between Allies and Rivals: Turkey, Nuclear Weapons, and BMD

kibaroglu picIfri’s Security Studies Center has just published the issue #48 of its Proliferation Papers series entitled:

Between Allies and Rivals: Turkey, Nuclear Weapons, and BMD

Professor Mustafa Kibaroglu (Ph.D., Bilkent University, International Relations Department, 1996) is currently the Chair of the International Relations Department at Okan University. He is a Council Member of Pugwash, and Academic Advisor of the NATO Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism in Ankara. Professor Kibaroglu is the co-author of Global Security Watch – Turkey (2009), and has published extensively in academic journals such as Nonproliferation Review, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Arms Control Today.

His new Proliferation Paper can be downloaded here.


This paper discusses Turkey’s attitudes vis-à-vis nuclear weapons and Ballistic Missile Defense in the light of recent developments in the Iranian nuclear program and NATO’s evolving concept of extended deterrence. On the one hand, the long-standing forward deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey and the country’s role in the US Phased Adaptive Approach BMD architecture are still considered to be key elements of national security. On the other, security guarantees offered to Turkey by NATO and the US appear less and less credible in the face of rising regional threats. As this paper shows, there is a growing gap between official policy and public perceptions inside Turkey vis-à-vis the US, Iran, and nuclear weapons, as well as a growing Turkish aspiration to autonomy in its security and defense policy. While one should not expect Turkey to develop nuclear weapons anytime soon, an unchecked Iranian regional power could bring Ankara to hedge its bets in the long term. Turkey’s controversial recent decision to buy a Chinese system for its national air and missile defense rather than European or US equipment should be seen in the light of this search for autonomy.



Turkish Perspectives on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Turkey and NATO’s “Extended Deterrence”

Turkey and Ballistic Missile Defense: Between Assurance and Autonomy


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The Amphibious Endeavour: Tactical Risk, Strategic Influence

Focus stratégique 46 bisIfri’s Security Studies Center has just published the issue #46 bis of its Focus stratégique series entitled:

The Amphibious Endeavour: Tactical Risk, Strategic Influence

An officer in the French Army, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Garnier is on a research assignment at the Defence Research Laboratory (LRD). He is a graduate of the French military academy Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr and of the Collège Interarmées de Défense (CID) (Joint Service Defence College).

His new Focus Stratégique can be downloaded here.


Despite a centuries-long history, amphibious operations were rarely in the spotlight before the Second World War. Meteorological constraints and joint planning challenges both emphasize their risky and complex character. Lessons learned highlight indispensable operational requirements such as superior naval power, favourable strength ratio for disembarked forces and the advantage of surprise. Nowadays, amphibious operations have adapted to new conditions by strengthening joint forces integration, and by taking advantage of the most modern naval and military technologies. Although amphibious operations remain a high-end perspective in a total war concept, they still represent a key capability for “forcible entry” in a world where 50% of the population lives by the sea. Stretching over the entire operational spectrum, amphibious operations will prove more and more their importance in low-to-medium intensity crisis scenarios, rather than in the hypothetical use of all-out force and wide-scale operations.



The ineluctable principles of amphibious warfare

Amphibious operations in the face of modern anti-access strategies

Strategic utility of amphibious operations: forcible entry and scalability of force


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