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RM - Media France's War in Mali: Lessons for an Expeditionary Army 2014-10-23

Analisi centro studi americano sulla breve guerra francese in Mali

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    France's War in Mali: Lessons for an Expeditionary Army - Analisi centro studi americano sulla breve guerra francese in Mali

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    French officers interviewed by the author also draw a distinction between how they are taught to operate and the “American way,” with which they have become familiar in Afghani- stan.
    According to Garnier, for example, the U.S. Army can fight “properly” in the sense that it can think in terms of going about an operation the best way. In contrast, he said, the French Army sees itself as having to make the best of whatever resources may be available. Thus, according to Garnier, planning for Serval was an exercise in thinking through what was and was not available and coming to terms with the associated risk.
    Goya carried the argument further and defined the American approach to warfare in terms of detecting the enemy, locating it, and then using firepower to destroy it. “Fire maneuver,” he termed it. This compares with destroying the enemy through combat, or “combat maneuver,” which is riskier. The French see fire maneuver as a luxury, something one can do when one has the means, but it is expensive.
    According to Goya, France’s Ground Forces Command has gone so far as to express the desire that the French Army post-Afghanistan “de-Americanizes” so as not to retain the “bad habits” picked up fighting alongside the U.S. military. “We learned a lot of methods from the Americans,” he said. But they do not want to retain the default to standoff fires and prefer to go back to “close combat.” Another officer, a legionnaire who had participated in multiple African and Afghan deployments, similarly expressed concern that the French Army had learned some bad lessons in Afghanistan with regard to fighting “American-style warfare” in the sense that infantrymen worked in close conjunction with drones, satellites, and aircraft providing close air support. France could not afford to fight like that, he said, and besides, it was contrary to the experience of most French officers most of the time, who have to operate in the field with few resources.
     

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