5 – Experimentation, doctrine and training; the role of the FECS
Col. Karim is the Commander of the FECS (Force d’Expertise Combat Scorpion), which is in charge of education, evaluation and experimentation within the Scorpion programme, and is part of the COME2CIA (COMmandement de l’Entrainement et des Ecoles du Combat InterArmes), the training and combined arms schools command. The main reason for creating the FECS was to generate an entity that supported Army units from their first contact with the Scorpion system until the last evaluation phase. Generating lessons learned and support innovation are also among the FECS roles. The force led by Col. Karim has thus an overall view on the Scorpion programme, ensuring the coherence of the various elements which compose the mosaic that generates the new operational capabilities.
Detailing the missions of the FECS, Col. Karim first mentioned the support to technical-operational evaluations and experimentations exercises carried out by the Army Technical Section, STAT in its French acronym. “The FECS is the leading tool of those experiments, and allows to measure the performances of the various tactical components of the Scorpion combined arms task force.” The FECS is thus tasked to organise exercises aimed at testing the acquired materiel, and to do so it must deploy the right assets, at the right time, at the right place, minimising the impact on land forces, which units are involved only when major experimentations must be organised.
The FECS is also part of the Laboratoire du Combat Scorpion (LCS), the Scorpion Combat Laboratory, and in this case it is called to support and participate to doctrinal experiments. “This allows to generate a pragmatic doctrine, which suits available assets, in order to fully exploit the capacity delivered to the forces.” The LCS carries out exploration in order to evaluate the impact of innovations on armed actions, and forecast what will become the combat in the future. It also analyses which advantages technologies issued from the civil domain or from the defence industry, such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmenter Reality, robotics, etc, will provide to the Army. In parallel with the other Scorpion players the LCS takes part in the production of interim manuals to be distributed prior the arrival of the new equipment in the force. It also takes part in the analysis of all human cognitive and organization factors that will ensure the military success of the programme. The LCS falls under the Belgian-French agreement, hence its work is fully shared with Belgium and will impact as well on Belgian forces.
The doctrine does not remains only a theory, but is tested on the field: the last main mission assigned to the FECS is to support the entrance in service of Scorpion assets in the regiments, the overall aim of Scorpion being to give an edge to French forces in high intensity combat. Therefore the FECS, follows the evolution of each regiment and its adaptation to the Scorpion system, and is part of the organisation and evaluation team that follows the PRETS (Période de REstitution de la Transformation Scorpion), the last training and evaluation phase of a unit build-up.