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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