General Thierry Burkhard, the French Army’s Chief of Staff, believes that a major conflict is now a relative possibility. He has a strategic plan to flip the French military from an emphasis on asymmetric warfare to symmetric and to toughen it up by 2030.

Burkhard, who was the Commander of the Combined Operations Center, the 13th Demi-Brigade, and a paratrooper in the French Foreign Legion sees aggressive Chinese expansion in the Pacific and feels that France’s territories in New Caledonia and French Polynesia could become endangered. French armed forces will have to be ready. 

Burkhard presented a 20-page document to the National Assembly’s defense committee on Wednesday. Burkhard’s blueprint, entitled “Operational security 2030,” was put together by a group of senior military leaders. The group worked on the plan from August through October of last year. It was discussed by Army cadre until all of the details were agreed upon in January. But the coronavirus pandemic delayed the release of it until last week. 

Back in April, French military leaders spoke about being prepared for a return of “High-Intensity Conflicts.” Burkhard said that implementing the plan is critical because a “recurrence of a major conflict is now a credible hypothesis.”