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The will

Command exercise
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Will can be defined as the mental disposition that enables an intention to be translated into action and to ensure its realization. It is characterized by firmness and constancy, both in decision and execution. It requires a clear perception of the goals to be achieved.

To achieve the defined goal, it may require courage and perseverance, depending on the circumstances. The will of the leader inspires the confidence of his subordinates, while avoiding the dispersion of energies. Finally, it allows the leader to continue to assume his responsibilities in the face of adversity. It is indispensable, when circumstances require it, to surpass oneself and to revive the action of subordinates.


  • It is necessary on a daily basis to overcome the obstacles and burdens of a more compelled.
  • It inspires confidence in subordinates and superiors alike.
  • It prevents the leader from spreading himself too thin, allowing him to stay on course.
  • It is a factor of success in operations and in combat, to be developed in peacetime.


    • determination;
    • motivation;
    • awareness of the goal to be achieved;
    • energy;
    • perseverance;

sense of mission;

  • courage and strength of character.


"Intelligence, of course you must have it, but first of all will: a fixed will that does not disperse. It's all there: will... Even with an average intelligence, he who bands all his will towards a precise goal and perseveres with a tense mind is sure to arrive. »

Marshal Ferdinand Foch

"The will is the realizing energy which is obviously not surprised to encounter difficulties.(...) what often seems to be luck or chance is only the fruit of a long preliminary work and the will to succeed".

Gaston Courtois - L'art d'être chef (1958).

"Resolution is courage applied to a particular case. If it becomes a trait of character, it is a habit of the mind".

Clausewitz - De la Guerre (1832).

"Faced with the event, it is to oneself that a man of character resorts to (...) he has the passion to want and the jealousy to decide. »

General de Gaulle - The Thread of the Sword (1932).


Testimony of a general commanding operation ALMANDIN 2 - RCA - 1996:

"In Bangui, a mutiny led by 500 rebel soldiers set the capital on fire and blood, threatening foreign nationals living in the country. The French military means stationed there are not sufficient to control the situation. An intervention is decided and reinforcements are quickly sent. I took command of the whole operation (2,500 men, 50 armoured vehicles and 11 helicopters) and was given the task of intervening on behalf of the threatened nationals.I took command of the whole unit (2,500 men, 50 tanks, 11 helicopters) and was given the task of intervening on behalf of threatened nationals, evacuating threatened persons, obtaining the return of the mutineers to their cantonments, helping to restore calm and, in the long term, reorganizing the local armies.

Control of the situation, which had deteriorated considerably, first of all involved the resumption of the assault on the radio station house which the mutineers had taken over. This was done at the cost of a short and violent battle, but it soon became clear that the execution of the mission required the surrender of the mutineers. A 12-day phase began, during which 3,400 civilians were evacuated simultaneously, security measures were taken in the city and in the provinces, the mutineers were threatened and negotiations were held with the local political authority. To facilitate the evacuations and ensure security, I am putting in place a powerful and dissuasive mechanism to carry out the assault on the mutineers but, if possible, to force them to surrender. I am making contact with them.

In order to demonstrate my determination, and to induce the rebels to surrender, I give them every possible sign of my determination not to give in, and I prepare in a timely manner to ensure that the rebels will not be forced to surrender.In order to show them my determination, and to bring the rebels to surrender, I give them every possible sign of my determination not to give in and I prepare in a visible way several actions intended to reduce them (armed helicopter reconnaissance, night actions around their installations, setting up of mortar fire, threats...). My goal is to place them in an inextricable situation that can lead them to reason. But nothing is won because of the reticence of the local authorities who are opposed to any "soft" solution. I then have to convince these authorities by all possible means, from persuasion to threats, that a way out is possible without fighting again. At the same time, through the preparation of coercive actions, I try to convince the mutineers to agree to surrender their weapons in order to remove their legitimacy with their troops. Finally, it is a question of making them aware of the possibility of a general amnesty after they have surrendered their weapons. On the twelfth day, an agreement was reached, resulting in the surrender of arms, a symbolic ceremony of national reconciliation, the surrender and evacuation of the rebel leaders from the country and a political compromise. The "negotiation", which was only a means and not an end, was in fact only the imposition of an inflexible will. Manifestation of force, deterrence, threat, armed engagement and a variety of modes of action were the key words for our action, based on a clearly stated determination. »

Testimony of a Captain Unit Commander - Operation HARPIE - Guyana - 2010:

"As the helicopter carrying us approaches the objective, the illegal gold miners are fleeing. The delays in the infiltration, which was carried out with great haste, did not allow us to seal off the area in time. Arriving on a desolate land, the men are exhausted and discouraged by what looks like a sword in the water. In spite of the collective fatigue, however, I decide to relaunch my action towards another site. Ten more hours of walking will be necessary to cross, through the jungle, the 20 km and 1100 meters of difference in altitude that separate the two gold deposits in order to surprise the traffickers. As they approach the site, fatigue fades away and the men mount an assault on the carbets in front of amazed gold diggers. A nice booty rewards these efforts.

The willingness with which the operation was relaunched made it possible to force the reasonable doubts that everyone could feel and to overcome the accumulated fatigue. As we approached the new objective, I could feel the men galvanized by this contagious will that had been instilled in the minds by setting an example of unfailing determination. »

Title : The will
Author (s) : publication arméee de terre