The French armies engage in Social Warfare, but with one arm behind their back

The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and the Chief of the Armed Forces, General Thierry Burkhard, jointly presented yesterday the new doctrine of computer influence struggle, or L2I since this is the acronym consecrated by the official communication, in order to detail the future actions of the French armies in this so critical area, and of which we echoed several times on Meta-Defense. In accordance with the new base-line of the Armed Forces General Staff, "Winning the war before the war", it is a question of positioning and acting on the digital information sphere, and in particular on social networks , to counter hostile actions in this area either from direct adversaries of the armies, such as terrorist groups, or from state competitors engaged to weaken or neutralize the action of armies, such as, although they have never been named, Russia and China.

Concretely, under the aegis of the new Cyber ​​Defense Command created in 2017, teams made up of social network specialists, computer scientists but also linguists, psychologists and sociologists, will ensure an active watch to identify the actions carried out on the information sphere, in particular within the framework of external operations, and to activate actions aimed at countering them. This plunge into the asymmetrical conflict is perfectly assumed by the General Staff and the Hotel de Brienne, while refraining from any action that would go against national and international legislation, such as interference in the processes. electoral campaign, and by making a strong distinction between individual opinions expressed freely and public opinion manipulation actions organized by a terrorist group or a competitor, whether state or not.

The French forces deployed in the Sahel are regularly targeted by foreign media in order to mobilize Malian public opinion against this intervention, which was carried out at the request of the Malian authorities.

To achieve this, recruitments will be launched in the coming years, targeting highly qualified profiles to strengthen the 4000 or so cyber-combatants who work in the Cyber-Defense Command. However, no specific plan for these recruitments has yet been unveiled, nor, moreover, a methodology for dealing with these influential groups, which are often very experienced and have significant resources, particularly in the media. But taking this issue into account, at the highest summits of the Armies, is undoubtedly an excellent initiative, as it became clear that the very action of our armies, particularly in External Operations and as for our American allies, suffered from this absence, and from repeated assaults by France's competitors, as we can see today in Mali, and previously in the Central African Republic. On the other hand, the Minister of the Armed Forces, in her declaration, decreed certain limitations which, if it is possible to understand them from an ethical point of view, will considerably reduce the effectiveness of the action of these teams.


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