France's War in Mali : Lessons for an Expeditionary Army | World Defense

France's War in Mali : Lessons for an Expeditionary Army

Gabriel92

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French Army operations in Mali (Operation Serval) in 2013 provide a model for designing and operating an expeditionary force, one that has a number of attributes and competencies that United States Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno has indicated to be requirements for the Army. The model therefore provides a living example that illustrates what meeting those requirements entails, as well as the associated risks. As France's War in Mali: Lessons for an Expeditionary Army details, the French in Serval demonstrated that they are adept at quickly fielding small yet highly capable forces tailored for specific needs and objectives and reiteratively task organizing as the situation evolves. They have done so in part by pushing modularity below the battalion level, enabling them to disaggregate and reaggregate elements of their brigades. The French have also invested in technologies and vehicles designed to enhance the capabilities of its units at all echelons. Moreover, the French Army, particularly its expeditionary brigades, is for all intents and purposes a regionally aligned force that has a demonstrated ability to leverage its area-specific expertise to compensate for its small size and to work effectively with and among local populations. The French Army also appears to have an operational culture well suited for expeditionary warfare, particularly in austere environments and with limited resources. The aspects of French Army operations in Mali discussed in this report make the French Army a model for building the kind of expeditionary force envisioned by Odierno, and perhaps one that is also increasingly in line with future United States Army budgets. The French example also highlights compromises that are associated with becoming more expeditionary and the attendant risks.


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Key Findings
Operation Serval Provides an Example of How a Technologically Sophisticated Army Organizes and Fields an Expeditionary Force.
  • The French Army exhibits many of the traits outlined by General Raymond Odierno in his vision of the future force.
  • The French Army in Mali operated using small, scalable, and task-organized combined arms forces and built them up or folded them into larger, scalable formations.
French Requirements and Resource Limitations Have Led the Army to Adopt a Force Structure Well Suited for Operations Such as Serval.
  • The French use relatively lightly armored wheeled vehicles, which have smaller sustainment requirements compared with heavier, tracked vehicles.
  • The French prefer mobility over protection, a choice that reflects their cultural and doctrinal emphasis on maneuver.
  • The French Army draws on an expeditionary culture, which reportedly makes coping with austerity a point of pride and also reinforces certain approaches toward operating among local populations.
The French Way of War Represented by Serval Might Not Be Optimal for U.S. Commanders, Who Have Greater Resources at Their Disposal.
  • Those resources enable Americans to minimize risk in a manner that the French cannot.
  • Serval does not shed light on France's capacity to handle more-intense conventional conflicts or provide conventional deterrent power.
  • The French are confident that their success on the battlefield and low casualty rate demonstrate the proficiency of their military, but they took large risks.
Recommendations
The Army should examine the French experience for additional insights, including in the following areas:
  • the advisability of reducing protection and fielding lighter vehicles to enhance mobility and reduce sustainment requirements, and in particular the introduction of a vehicle with the weight, protection level, and firepower of the VBCI
  • the potential advantages and costs of pushing modularity below the brigade level to facilitate battalion and company-sized combined arms deployments
  • the impact of digitization on small-unit operations
  • the integration of intelligence into lower-echelon operations
  • training to enable company commanders to conduct decentralized, combined arms operations and practice mission command
  • French insights into training and interoperating with West African and Sahelian security forces
  • the costs of France's rotational equipping strategy (PEGP) and its effect on readiness.
France's War in Mali: Lessons for an Expeditionary Army | RAND
 

Bundeswehr

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France did have major success in the operation in Mali but my question is Mali "officially" over or is France still conducting operations there?
 

Gabriel92

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France did have major success in the operation in Mali but my question is Mali "officially" over or is France still conducting operations there?
Of course it is,it just changed name,it is called now "Barkhane".
Currently, France has over 3,500 troops spread across five countries in Africa As part of Operation Burkhane. ;

- Mali
-Mauritania
-Burkina Faso
-Niger
-Chad

Based in Chad, the operation aims at disrupting potential militants threat across the Sahel region of the continent.
Operations are conducted in coordination with the armies of these five countries.
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Recently ;

Africa - French forces ‘neutralise’ several suspected jihadists in Mali - France 24
 

djordjem87

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So basically what we have here is good old colonization all over again. But it is less transparent and it has different name now. This happened in my country as well. In 1999 the outbreak happened in Kosovo forced by NATO and my country was bombed. The outcome of that was that K-For is still there. Like in Bosnia and like everywhere else where big ones need to take something from small ones.
 

Gabriel92

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So basically what we have here is good old colonization all over again. But it is less transparent and it has different name now. This happened in my country as well. In 1999 the outbreak happened in Kosovo forced by NATO and my country was bombed. The outcome of that was that K-For is still there. Like in Bosnia and like everywhere else where big ones need to take something from small ones.
The Malians asked for help. The countries where Barkhane is operating wants France's help to fight the terrorists. I don't know if it is "colonisation".
If the governments are Ok with this,it isn't colonization.
 

Scorpion

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The Malians asked for help. The countries where Barkhane is operating wants France's help to fight the terrorists. I don't know if it is "colonisation".
If the governments are Ok with this,it isn't colonization.
According to the UN charter 51, the legitimate government of a country x or y can request military operation for the purposes of restoring stability. People need to know the UN conventions and agreements before shouting nonsense.
 

djordjem87

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The Malians asked for help. The countries where Barkhane is operating wants France's help to fight the terrorists. I don't know if it is "colonisation".
If the governments are Ok with this,it isn't colonization.
Yes governments are OK but my last government 'sold' my whole country to Germany. Italy, China, Korea, America and many more. Serbia is a republic officially but we function as a colony. Almost all employers apart from jobs like Police force, Medical and Educational departments are foreign. All factories are either Korean or German or America...

We work for minimal wage for them in our country. All major companies are not owned by Serbia or Serbian individuals. Tell me please what is that if not a type of colonization. The people is asked only at ellections and we have to choose somebody. After that they do what they want. Mali, Serbia...It really doesn't matter. Kosovo is still Serbian but American rules the region for almost two decades. That is one third of Serbia.
 

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