EU MONITOR: French lessons in Africa: An assessment of three key military capabilities for European defence

In his latest EU monitor, Adrian Blazquez examines the the European cooperation in the Sahel strip.

  • The Sahel region is often known as the European southern border. This area is a hotbed of violence and instability where weak states are overwhelmed by a myriad of ethnic conflicts and the proliferation of extremist groups. Local governments are largely unable to control their borders.

The last military weakness underscored is that of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR). This is a fundamental tool for the military decision-making processes and those involved in action-taking as it provides knowledge foundation and situational awareness on the state of affairs on the ground, air and sea. NATO defines surveillance as “the persistent monitoring of a target” and reconnaissance as “information-gathering conducted to answer a specific military question.” It nuances that the former is a long-lasting activity while the latter is usually swift and collects specific information. Intelligence is the result of the analytical process made by specialists after gathering information. The Senate report stresses the significance that the US provided crucial assistance in this domain: “thanks to the action of our allies and in particular the Americans, never before has the French army had such an influx of technical intelligence in Mali, in addition to the data collected by national means alone.” Although Paris deployed considerable ISR assets for the operation, the American aid proved highly valuable.


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#EU # France # Military # EUmonitor # Sahel

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