Friday, January 18, 2013

Mali. A failure of the concept of battlegroups

If the European reaction may be welcomed, the French operation "Serval" has made an indirect victim ... the European battlegroups. On paper, all meant in effect a "battlegroup" European power to intervene, at least the second time.

All legal and political elements came together - an international context, a European consensus, a legitimate request of the State, ... -. Most doctrinal elements are also present crisis out of a European territory, less than 6,000 km of Brussels, where rapid response is required before the relay to another force ...

Finally, the operational concept provides for such missions. " The battle groups can be employed for the full fan spots enumerated in Article 43, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on European Union and those set forth in the European Security Strategy . "These include among these actions: "the missions of combat forces in crisis management, including missions r peacemaking ... "as the goal of" contributing to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting given to third countries in combating terrorism in their territories . " It is therefore understandable that we are "stack" in an operation type "Serval" or rather EUFOR Mali.

Adding that the military component of these battlegroups are educated and trained for it. According to an expert in the seraglio European consulted by B2, which describes the official doctrine of Battlegroup: "They are trained to fight and the best way to take advantage of all the extent of their capabilities would be used for missions of forces fighting in crisis management, due to their limited size . '

Ultimately, we can add that the battlegroup permanence six months is formed by three countries that are at the heart of European defense and armed forces have well seasoned: Poland is the framework nation, the Germany and France support. Three countries have jointly written a letter to just use the battlegroups ... The finger is placed on the wound of the problem: why nothing today in Mali?

Lack of appetite

One can accuse you want to Brussels. The problem is not here today. It is in capitals. Warsaw as Berlin have neither the impetuosity of France, or to act at the same speed or the same will. must be clear. And unwillingness vanishes as we move East ... The Poles are not "hot" at all to go to Mali! It is sharp and clear.

The two ministers T. Sikorski R Siemoniak and we have confirmed directly (B2) at the meeting of the "Weimar" in Paris there are some signs. And no sign belies this lack of appetite. In Warsaw, we still see Mali as a matter a little French. And especially we do not want at the moment - then a deep restructuring of the army is in progress (professionalization, size reduction, closure of barracks) - commit too far overseas. This is all that the Polish soldiers began to return from Afghanistan, where the clot a cycle of 10 years (with Iraq) strong commitment beyond borders, has never known in its history Poland (Vienna is not Bamako).

A design error?

Do not hide behind a concept. They are not used in Mali. But they were not yesterday and before yesterday Congo Chad. The only place where they would be used ... in the Balkans (region for which they have thought out and designed). There is indeed an error in the battlegroups concept, or rather gives the international, European and Economic forcing today has evolved to reflect a new position. They are either too heavy (for a small operation model training EUTM Mali) or too light (for typical "Serval") or too military (for monitoring operation types EUMM Georgia), is not enough. Etc ... They are not modular enough. Even if we tried to gain flexibility in recent times. They are mostly too dependent totally divergent timelines in the capital and will not converge anytime soon. If Germany is willing to support discrete French operation "Serval" it may refuse to do so with a more visible battlegroup. And vice versa. Finally, there is no convergence on the use of these groups. For some, the main effect is the drive. But you can not engage them. It would cost too much or would break the engagement cycle - rest - exercise.

Deployment time using the concept of battlegroups

A new positioning

This concept could be usefully revised on several fronts. Some ideas ...

1 must find a way to release contingency policies. For countries where authorization is required, this would require a vote of the National Parliament authorizing their use by a European authority delegating it a part of the control men (even draw some restrictions or caveats). With a simple information during actual use.

2 must achieve a budget, waiting to finance the first few weeks of action. Or part of a commitment. As is the case for the EU civilian missions.

3 You must have the ability and opportunity to have a commitment modular battlegroup. If for the French operation "Serval" we could loose the ability to "transport", "medical", "intelligence", for example ... the debate in these countries (Germany, Poland) is easier than committing troops combat.

4 You must have a completely civilian-military commitments. The European Union is committed to land sometimes military, but often mixed. Europe should therefore be able to send very quickly on the ground as police officers or judges. Even in Mali. For the problem that will arise tomorrow: they are prisoners. As emphasized Gilles de Kerckhove at a recent question and answer session with MEPs, " we will stop a lot of people, terrorists or not. We'll have to manage these arrests number. It is not certain that the authorities in Mali are now able to manage a bunch of detainees to terrorism. Therefore remuscler justice. "And quickly ...

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