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✅ Military Spirit and Genius for Crisis Management

Land Forces Doctrine Review
History & strategy
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"The mission of civil security is to intervene calmly and efficiently in emergencies and to restore harmony in disaster-affected environments.65

02 December 1959: the Malpasset dam in the Var breaks. A 40-metre high wave over a kilometre wide falls towards Fréjus killing more than 400 people. The scale of the tragedy convinces General de Gaulle to create a national intervention reserve: the army sets up these new units. Their role is unique. As national military reinforcements, they will have to be able to: commit themselves quickly and over the long term, and also work with any local rescue service, local authority, State service and international partner.

1. A twofold mission: to structure the State's response and to support territorial relief resources.

The mission of the 1,400 rescue engineers of the Formations Militaires de la Sécurité Civile (ForMiSC) is twofold: to consolidate the State's response structure, and to support the civil rescue forces. 100 of them serve in the zone operational centres, in the COGIC (Operational Centre for Interministerial Crisis Management) and within the Directorate General for Civil Security and Crisis Management (DGSCGC). The 1300 others, divided into 3 regiments : Nogent-le-Rotrou (28), Brignoles (83) and Corte (2B), are able to commit 260 men in 3 hours and 600 in 72 hours in France and abroad, to any natural, technological or health disaster.

A permanent contribution of the French Army to the protection of populations and property, with a relief mission, ForMiSCs are a privileged interface between the armed forces and State services.

2. military and civil security crisis: a challenge against nature?

A civil security crisis, by its very nature, would clash with the principles of military action. The confrontation of wills and the taking of ascendancy give way to a succession of events, sometimes predictable, often suffered. The obligation of means in the response of the relief forces contradicts the concentration of efforts and the economy of means. The multiplicity of secondary hazards, health, accommodation, food, etc., reinforces these difficulties and makes coordination between the actors more complex.

The key principle: relying on factors of operational superiority.

In the conduct of operations, the application of doctrinal principles has its rightful place. Engaged in unstructured environments, with rapidly changing hazards (natural disasters, epidemic events, energy and food shortages, network disruption, population flows, etc.), the operational superiority of the armed forces is a key factor in the conduct of operations.), the lifeguard must show adaptability and endurance to ensure his mission in the long term; moral strength, to overcome the natural and technical constraints that work against him; understanding and respect for the environment, the environment and the people; and the ability to adapt to new situations.hension, to grasp the subtleties of the human, political and natural environment in which he evolves; but also agility to respond quickly to new demands and shifts in effort.

4.a unique format and capabilities.

Called upon, with a reduced number of personnel, to deal with multiple risks: forest fires, floods, earthquakes, cyclones, radiological and chemical accidents, consequences of terrorist acts, etc., the ForMiSCs have: developed the versatility of their engineers, standardised the structure of their units, etc., etc.66 and set up an "unsinkable tactical pawn": the intervention column.67. Thus, for each risk area, the lifeguards master a common basic core and more specific techniques depending on the section where they serve.

Rare elements, ForMiSCs develop, in addition to firefighting know-how, critical or unique capabilities: heliborne and delaying intervention detachment for forest fires; heavy search and rescue module under rubble; pumping and flood control booms; mass decontamination, water treatment.

This organization enhances interoperability and makes the modules readable for civilian employment authorities.

5.New challenges to be met.

Several factors and major trends could influence the capability format, the doctrinal corpus and the organisation of ForMiSCs in the years to come.

Versatility vs. technicality.

As the key to responding in quality and quantity (mass effect) to the DGCGC's operational contract, versatility is an ongoing challenge. The inflation of equipment costs and the arrival of advanced equipment such as UAVs or communications systems are to be monitored. The maintenance or renewal of certain capabilities depends on it.

Large gatherings, terrorist threat, cooperation with internal security forces, global approach to crisis management.

From 2018 to 2024, France will host a major sporting event every year. Systematically engaged in addition to security arrangements, particularly in the CBRN domain, the response to these new demands is crucial. One of the main lines of work is the reversibility of pre-positioned or active secondments. Each section is now equipped with first aid kits to take care of victims of attacks.

Cooperation with the security forces is evolving.

The evacuation of the Notre Dame des Landes ZAD has seen the commitment of public works support resources; the fire brigade has provided victim extraction groups to the mobile squadrons. Will these new missions become permanent? Will they become widespread? It is still too early to identify a trend.

Climate change and natural hazards.

Global warming must be anticipated. Centred on the Mediterranean arc and Corsica, the risk of forest fires should spread towards the west and centre. Violent meteorological phenomena, both in metropolitan France and overseas, are also to be expected, with human, material and economic consequences that may destabilise a country on a one-off or long-term basis.

Development of international cooperation.

A pioneer in international commitment, the ForMiSCs are at the heart of France's contribution to the European civil protection mechanism.68. The latter could undergo major changes in the coming years: development of a new certification system; introduction of own intervention elements; increase in interoperability standards.

65 Extract from a communication flyer.

66Unique structure/multiple skills: UIISC1 and 7 are structured into 3 intervention companies with 3 sections (1 light, 1 heavy, 1 medium) and 1 support company (public works vehicles, dog teams, UAVs, water treatment). The UIISC5 in Corte has only one intervention company with 3 homogeneous sections.

67 1 column (forest fires, floods, storms etc...): 1 company with its 3 sections and support. UIISC's SGTIA.

68 18 projectable modules out of the 19 declared by France.

Title : ✅ Military Spirit and Genius for Crisis Management
Author (s) : Commandant Jean-Michel Audibert