President Emmanuel Macron of France laid out a bold vision for Europe during the Munich Security Conference (MSC) last month. “We need a European strategy that allows us to present ourselves as a strategic power. The Europe I have in mind is a Europe that is sovereign, united, and democratic,” he said. Macron has increasingly invoked this vision as an answer to the prevailing perception in Europe that the United States is beginning to withdraw from the international stage, leaving a void that is slowly being filled by China and Russia.
Terrorism does more than kill people and spread fear. We already knew that terrorism damages economies and weakens human rights; now we also know that it boosts military involvement in politics. This occurs because, in protracted struggles against terrorism, military actors may exploit their informational advantage over civilian authorities to “push” their way into politics and policymaking; or the military may be “pulled” into politics by decision makers.
This week’s featured graphics outline how cybersecurity responsibilities are shared among governmental organizations in France. For more information on national cybersecurity strategies and cybersecurity challenges in France, as well as in Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland, read Marie Baezner and Sean Cordey’s CSS cyber defense report here.
“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.