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Dear friends in the Army,

As the COVID crisis in France enters the deconfinement phase, I would like to share with you the pride I felt in receiving many testimonials of thanks for the actions carried out over the past several weeks by the men and women of the Army engaged in Operation Resilience.

Even if we must remain humble in this crisis, because the greatest merit goes to the health personnel who have been exemplary, I believe that the Army has lived up to our country's expectations.

Rarely has a commitment on the national territory been so comprehensive: support for medical and hospital structures by active and reserve units, logistical support for State services by transporting patients and distributing medical equipment or securing sensitive sites.

This adaptability and responsiveness at the local level was made possible in particular by the Army's network and territorial anchoring. The dynamic of local influence, which we have been building and carefully maintaining in our garrisons for years, has been transformed during this crisis, with the help of local players, into an operational dynamic. If our units reacted well, it is also thanks to the solidity of the chain of command and our culture of subsidiarity, which leaves sufficient freedom of action to our subordinates.

This crisis also demonstrates that a comprehensive army model is not a superfluous insurance policy. While the 2nd dragoon regiment - the CBRN support regiment - might have seemed superfluous to some a few months ago, it is an illusion to want to develop such expertise when the crisis occurs. It must be owned and controlled, well in advance.

Even if it is less intense, this crisis will be long-lasting. Others may even surprise us, because the pandemic is not a substitute for the other security challenges we were facing, it is an addition to them. It could even exacerbate them or even create new ones.

Harsh inter-State conflicts therefore remain possible and even probable. Now more than ever, the army must be ready to produce military power from the outset to deal with an unexpected peril, knowing how to withstand shocks with resilience.

General Thierry Burkhard