“Cyber warfare has begun and France must be ready to fight it,” Florence Parly, the French minister for the armed forces, declared on Jan. 18. Parly was introducing the new French Military Cyber Strategy, which consists of two separate documents: the Ministerial Policy for Defensive Cyber Warfare (hereafter the Ministerial Policy) and the Public Elements for the Military Cyber Warfare Doctrine (hereafter the Public Elements). Together, these documents outline the French Ministry of Defense’s (ministère des Armées) doctrine on lutte informatique défensive et offensive, or defensive and offensive cyber warfare.
A few weeks ago, the Danish government announced it would submit to its parliament a request for the deployment of two medium lift helicopters AW101 and about 70 military personnel to the Sahel region as part of the French-led counter-terrorism operation “Barkhane.” Once the deployment is approved by lawmakers, as appears likely, Danish assets would join the operation in late 2019.
This announcement has received little attention, but it is significant — both for the fight against jihadist groups in the Sahel region and for the future of European defense cooperation. It provides an insight into a new approach to the project of building European defense, one that does not necessarily rely on the structures or complex institutional settings of the European Union, but instead focuses on pragmatic and operational cooperation between states.
This article was originally published by the Danish Institue for International Studies (DIIS) on 14 November 2018.
EU defence cooperation suffers from a lack of strategic purpose. This challenge offers an opportunity for smaller members such as Denmark to stress that PESCO supported by Germany and the French EI2 initiative are not and should not be competitive models.