France: if necessary Paris plans to deploy the equivalent of an Army brigade in Romania

  • July 13, 2022
  • 3 Min Read

During the Atlantic Alliance summit, held on June 29 and 30 in Madrid, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States would send up to 5,000 more soldiers, the equivalent of a US Army brigade, in Romania, where France plays the role of framework nation of the multinational battle group which, essentially made up of the “spearhead” battalion of NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force (NRF – Nato Response Force), was deployed there after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As a reminder, placed under the command of NATO and operating within the framework of the Aigle mission, this battalion of 800 soldiers, including 500 French and 300 Belgians, has therefore taken up residence on the Mihail Kogalniceanu base, near Constanta. It was also reinforced by a detachment of the Armée de l’Air , which implements a “MAMBA” air defense system or SAMP/T for Sol-Air Moyenne Portée / Earthly.

In the future, this battle group forward presence will join the Cincu camp, which is currently being built by the engineering detachment of the Aigle mission (name of the French contribution to this battalion), reinforced by its Dutch, Romanian and American sappers.

That said, in Madrid, and after stressing the responsiveness of the French forces to deploy in Constanta, President Macron expressed Paris’s desire to further strengthen the system currently in place in order to “meet the needs of our European allies as necessary, as will be the case at the level of a brigade in Romania“. And to insist: “As for the other allies who are framework nations for the various deployments, France has decided to make this commitment with regard to Romania and all the allies”.

For the moment, and according to an infographic that it released last week, the Élysée Palace has only mentioned prefiguring elements of a brigade headquarters that can be reinforced on very short notice as well as elements of reinforcement , on alert, deployable in emergency from France.

Thus, and as Mr. Macron decided, France must be able to raise its commitment in Romania to the level of a brigade, if the situation requires, that is to say deploy several thousand soldiers. “The staff of the armies is planning this,” said Sébastien Lecornu, the Minister of the Armed Forces, in an interview given to the daily Les Échos, on July 4.

During his first hearing at the National Assembly since taking up his new duties, Mr. Lecornu returned to the role of framework nation played by France in Romania. A key role, he underlined, which “passes through the defense of the sky and the construction of a military base in Cincu, which will make it possible to accommodate a certain number of allied forces“, including, possibly, a brigade.

If, unfortunately, there is a need for it”, we will have to “raise our capacity to the” brigade-type level”, which “is also completely unprecedented since the end of the Cold War”, declared Mr. Lecornu. In the past, a brigade was made up of two regiments, which is no longer the case today, since a typical army brigade, known as, combined arms, has at least six.

However, and contrary to what the Minister maintained, such a deployment would not be unprecedented since the Army deployed approximately 5,200 soldiers at the height of Operation Serval, in February 2013. Or, precisely , the equivalent of a brigade.

Image: France MoD / Armée de Terre