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29th & 30th May 2024

Command in the era of high intensity:
Vision 2030

Command is crucial to achieving operational superiority. It relies first and foremost on the quality, skills and training of those manning command posts (CPs), but also on how far CP structures can adapt to different types of missions and operational environments. The challenge remains to provide commanders with the necessary information and a faster decision-making loop, despite an increasingly vast and complex information environment. Command systems must make the most of the latest technological developments. Their integration into capabilities is fundamental to retain the operational advantage. Recent conflicts have highlighted the need for modernised CPs, more adapted to high intensity, while remaining sustainable. On the one hand, it encourages the deployment of more modular systems, adaptable to the wide range of situations and multinational environments. On the other, it calls for the implementation of different training and education processes.

WEDNESDAY 29TH MAY

13:30 - Welcome address

by the Commander of the Rapid Reaction Corps - France (COMRRCFr), Lieutenant General Emmanuel Gaulin

13:45 - Introductory speeches
  • French Army Chief of Staff, General Pierre Schill
  • Commander of the Rapid Reaction Corps - France (COMRRC-Fr), Lieutenant General Emmanuel Gaulin
15:00 - SESSION 1 / Rethinking operational planning for high-intensity

Recent conflicts in Ukraine and in the Middle East reflect the return of major high-intensity engagements. In addition, the proliferation of sensors and data, used indiscriminately not only by conventional armies but also by "hybrid" militias, is adding to the growing 'transparency' of the battlefield. As a result, decision-making loops (OODA) need shortening to optimise the planning and conduct of operations while minimising the time needed to re-articulate forces. 

Debate: What lessons can be learned from current conflicts for the planning of high-intensity coalition operations? How can operational planning methods be adapted to best anticipate realtime developments in combat? Should we completely rethink the OODA loop? How can we plan for freedom and depth of manoeuvre? What solutions can be found to speed up projection, deployment and implementation processes?

16:30 - Coffee break
17:00 - SESSION 2 / C2 structures and the challenge of high intensity and "hyperdestructiveness"

Current conflicts have highlighted the importance of firepower and revealed a form of "hyperdestructiveness" in modern high-intensity combat. In situations of unfavourable or balanced fire ratio, current C2 structures suffer from increased vulnerability, even in rear positions. The C2 chain must be defended against cyber, electromagnetic and kinetic threats to ensure its survivability and continuity of action. Debate: One solution could be to reduce or spread command posts’ footprint by rethinking C2 structures. How should CPs and resources be adapted to reduce their vulnerability in the face of increasingly unpredictable conditions What lessons can be learned from recent conflicts about the modularity of CPs and C2?

18:30 - Cocktail
19:30 - VIP Dinner

THURSDAY 30TH MAY

09:00 - SESSION 3 / Command post hybridity, organisational modularity and C2 evolutions: what balance between the concentration and de-concentration of capabilities?

The digital transformation of military capabilities opens up new possibilities for the dispersion or deportation of Command & Control capabilities. In the context of the transition initiated by NATO towards WarFighting Corps (WFC), it is essential to incorporate an element of modularity based on the opportunities of new communication technologies and systems. The use of "reach-back" capabilities, for example, makes it possible to rethink the footprint of CPs by extending operational control down to the tactical level via platforms located far from the theatre of engagement.

The concentration or dispersion of resources concerns not only forces and material, but also commanders. This issue, too often perceived as an opposition between the supervision of operations and increased responsiveness, should instead be understood in terms of force protection.

Debate: Given the wide range of Armed Forces’ missions, the variety of operational frameworks (national, NATO, EU) and environments, is it necessary to ensure the systematic modularity of PCs and C2? What is the right balance between hardening infrastructure and agility? What are the consequences of increased communication requirements?

10:30 - Coffee break
11:00 - SESSION 4 / Aligning capability development, innovation and operational needs

The digital revolution is opening up a host of new opportunities, as well as new areas of conflict. The disconnect between cycles of military capability development on the one hand and those of technological innovation on the other is a well-known issue in the defence sector, where decisionmakers often feel they are planning for the last rather than the next war. The prospect of a major engagement makes resolving this disconnect a matter of the utmost urgency. Added to this are the operational imperatives of mobility, agility, protection and interoperability. Debate: What best practices exist today among allies to improve the integration of new technologies into major capability programmes? How can these new technologies be integrate without losing effectiveness or autonomy? What programme architectures and funding methods are needed to provide our forces with the capabilities required for current and future operations? How should national, NATO and EU programmes be coordinated?

12:30 - Lunch
14:00 - SESSION 5 / Digital technology: challenges and constraints for training and education

The profusion of new digital resources is significantly increasing the capabilities of forces and commanders. This growing importance of technology in the soldier's profession on the one hand, and the return of high-intensity conflict on the other, are impacting education, training and exercises.

Debate: What is the right balance between excellence and efficiency in this context? What differences can be observed among the various training curricula of NATO and EU forces? What changes should be proposed to improve preparation for high-intensity operations?

Major national and coalition exercises have clearly demonstrated their added value. How can innovation such as AI-based simulation be integrated into training methods to effectively complement field training exercises (FTX)?

15:40 - Keynote
16:00 - Closing speech
16:30 - Visit of the Citadel

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