Gen Phillippe Steininger (Retd)

Military Advisor to French President of CNES


Time: March 3, 2020
Location: Serena Hotel, Islamabad
Event Type: Conference
Organized By: Team CASS

About Speaker

Philippe Steininger joined the French air force in 1980. He graduated in 1982 as an engineer in aeronautics and received his wings of fighter pilot in 1984.
As a fighter pilot, he participated to several overseas operational engagements in the Middle-East, Africa and the Balkans and took the command of a combat squadron.
In 1999, he was appointed to the Joint Staff in Paris as the United-States and Canada Desk Officer before joining in 2002 the Armed Forces General Inspectorate.
Philippe Steininger was commanding officer of Cazaux Air Base from 2004 to 2007, and later, head of the NATO/EU Branch of the Delegation for Strategic Affairs, French Ministry of Defence, between 2007 and 2009. From 2009 to 2013, he served in Paris in the cabinet of the Secretary General for Defence and national security, being charged with preparing the high-level defence committees.
Back in the Air force, General Steininger served as deputy commanding officer, then commanding officer, of the Strategic Air Command in charge of nuclear deterrence.
In 2015, General Steininger was appointed Deputy Secretary General for defence and national security. In this position, working under the authority of the Prime minister, he was involved in a wide range of defence and security issues. In 2018, he joined the CNES, the French national space agency, as military adviser to the president.

TOPIC OF SPEECH: Force Posturing for Industrially Independent and Dependent Countries

At the end of the Cold War, 30 years ago, some believed it was possible to touch the "peace dividends" and relax their defense effort. The period which then opened and which lasted until recent years was a period of regional conflicts which did not endanger the States or their fundamental interests. Over the past five to six years, on the other hand, we have witnessed a return to power policies which substantially hardens the overall strategic context. Then the question arises of the strategic options open to States and which force posture they should adopt as new fields of confrontation have opened up, such as cyberspace and outer space.
The two superpowers, the United States and China, are engaged in a global strategic competition which implements resources these two nations standing high above the others are the only one to possess. For all other countries, different options are open, ranging from a certain form of renunciation to assume their own defense to the firm desire to produce important efforts to this end. But, in this whole range of postures, States have different motivations. Some of them are putting on the top of their priorities their strategic autonomy, others have the objective to maintain or acquire a military power status or to counter the ambitions of one or more adversaries.
In these different paths, the level of economic and industrial development is undoubtedly a central factor which conditions the freedom of action enjoyed by States. In this regard, the objective of strategic autonomy appears particularly demanding and less and less accessible for the vast majority of countries which have no choice left other than partially or completely give up on it. Alliance games therefore appear to be a possible option for preserving a minimum degree of strategic autonomy.