German and French Navy: “We can do more”

Google Translation

With a maritime debate, the German Navy and the Marine National have taken their cooperation to a new level. Based on the state of the cooperation, two naval chiefs presented strategic perspectives – and their concrete implementation.

The French ambassador meets annually at the residence of the German Ambassador in Paris. He has completed the German General / Admiralty Training at the German Armed Forces Leadership Academy in Hamburg. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the German-French Officers Exchange.

On July 11, Marine Inspector, Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, and Marine National Admiral Chief of Staff Admiral Christophe Prazuck used this appointment in a maritime affair to kick-start the closer cooperation of the two naval forces.

“Admiral Prazuck and I witnessed a really interesting exchange today about the perspectives of Franco-German naval cooperation, ” said Krause. Already during the visit of Prazuck in Germany in March, the naval chiefs agreed: The previous forms of cooperation between the two fleets must have visible, concrete results as their goal.

Start in Paris

Admiral Prazuck and Vice Admiral Krause. “We can do more than just call for traditional interoperability,” explained the German in Paris (Source: 2018 Bundeswehr)

The otherwise traditional guest circle in the Palais Beauharnais was extended by the French and German graduates of the mutual officer training of both navies. This exchange of officer candidates between the Naval School Mürwik and the École Navale in Brest exists since 1993.

” At that time, our two navies decided to establish a lasting bond with each other in the spirit of the Elysée Treaty, ” said Prazuck, ” namely the mutual officer training. This project consciously starts where the stamping of young officers has the greatest impact – during their initial training. ”

“In 2015 and 2016, the successful integration of the joint frigate Augsburg into the aircraft carrier group ‘Charles de Gaulle’ has shown that we can successfully lead joint operations at sea, ” said Krause. ” For our two navies, the guiding principle should be that we be able to repeat such operational integration without delay. ”

Now, however, it is about more than interoperability as before. In the future Krause sees potential in the development of ” Plug and Fight ” abilities: the option to integrate certain abilities ad hoc into the other Marine. Opportunities exist, for example, in the ” toolbox ” of naval defense, in unmanned systems, in aircraft and in air defense.

Strategic goal: Plug and fight

Frenchmen on Flensburg’s Fjord: Every year, selected officer students of the Marine Nationale learn their craft at the Naval Academy in Mürwik (Source: 2017 Bundeswehr / Björn Wilke)

Against this background, one project in particular has a special, if not even strategic significance: ” The declaration of intent by our two governments to jointly develop a maritime reconnaissance aircraft that is identical for both navies points in the right direction. “Here it is now important to determine together the necessary capabilities for the long-haul aircraft, project title” Maritime Air Warfare System “. In turn, this project could lead to further cooperation opportunities, for example in logistics or training.

In order to strengthen the strategic naval partnership, the two naval chiefs also need to recognize each other’s qualifications in the future. ” Perspectively, we also want to coordinate the career paths of German and French naval officers, ” said Krause. This in turn could, for example with regard to the future ” Maritime Air Warfare System “, generate its own strategic synergy effects.

The high level of trust between the two navies already affects other areas: ” If a French officer directly takes over a French nuclear submarine after completing his training at the German training center Uboote in Eckernförde and passing the commandant’s command, ” says Krause, “this is an example of shared success. a unique value that we have built up over the last 25 years. “In general, the” scarce resource human “in the armed forces of the highest importance.

German-French tandem in the security environment of Europe

German-French naval dialogue: the two naval chiefs with the participants of the discussion forum in the Palais Beauharnais (Source: 2018 Bundeswehr / Marc Gieseler)
See larger image

The admirals Prazuck and Krause have devoted themselves with their lectures and in the debate with the naval staff officers present another important theme: the role of European maritime and naval air forces in the current security environment. According to the German marine inspector, the challenges in the crisis arc around Europe and beyond could not be solved by any country alone; they would require a multinational approach. ” This is where the strategic partnership between our countries plays a special role, ” Krause warned. ” Our mutual trust has been connecting us for several decades and has become the political engine in Europe. ”

In the discussion rounds, there was consensus to continue the format, at least once a year. This should strengthen the strategic, maritime debate even outside of the previous German-French military cooperation.