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Research Question

  1. What opportunities exist for cooperation between the U.S. Army and the French Army to achieve their shared objectives in the Indo-Pacific region?

The United States and France share the similar objectives of maintaining stability, protecting free access to the Indo-Pacific commons, and preventing nuclear proliferation in the Indo-Pacific and plan to do so through their engagement with their allies and partners in the region. However, the United States often seems to overlook France as an Indo-Pacific power. In this report, the author explores the commonalities between the U.S. and French strategies in the Indo-Pacific; outlines key French military and security cooperation activities, including shared activities with the United States; and suggests ways that the U.S. Army can further engage France to develop mutually beneficial cooperation activities.

Key Finding

  • The United States and France could cooperate further to increase dialogue and information-sharing, engage in more combined partnering with other countries, and broaden their common participation in exercises and training in the Indo-Pacific.

Recommendations

  • Develop formats for intelligence sharing in the Indo-Pacific region among Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Five Eyes plus Two).
  • Explore the possibility of having the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) or U.S. Indo-Pacific Command host a French Army liaison to provide a French Army perspective.
  • Make the Indo-Pacific a more prominent agenda item in the biennial meeting between the French Army Staff/International Relations Bureau and U.S. Army representatives.
  • Develop and execute U.S.-French army security cooperation activities with third countries with a focus on countering gray zone activities; supporting infrastructure development and resilience; countering illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; augmenting disaster prevention and resilience; and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
  • Develop the relationship and explore the possibility of joint activities between the French Army components of the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) and the French Armed Forces in French Polynesia (FAPF) and the U.S. Army 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade and Task Force Oceania.
  • Broaden some of the existing exercises in which the FANC, FAPF, and USARPAC participate, such as Croix du Sud, to additional partners.
  • Increase involvement of USARPAC with the French Army in exercises focusing on retaking an island, such as Jeanne D'Arc 2021.
  • Take advantage of French facilities in the region for joint training.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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