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France's Ground Forces introduce Special Actions Command (CAST).

| Defense News Army 2024

In 1997, Laurent Lagneau recalls in Opex360, the French Army established the Special Autonomous Group (GSA) in collaboration with the 1st Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment (1RPIMa) and the ALAT Special Operations Detachment. Over the years, this structure evolved, becoming the Special Forces Brigade Terre, with the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment (13 RDP) included. This unit remained relatively unchanged during the Ministry of the Armed Forces' reforms between 2008 and 2014.
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Special Forces operators on UNAC Fardier (Picture source: Army Recognition)

In 2016, during the "Au Contact" plan implementation, the Brigade des Forces Spéciales Terre (BFST) was transformed into the Command of the Special Forces Terre (CFST), consisting of around 2,500 military personnel. It incorporated various units, such as the 1st RPIMa, 13th RDP, 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment, Special Operations Support Group, a command and transmission company (CCTFS), and the Special Forces Academy (Centre Arès).

As of January 1, 2024, the CFST was replaced by the Special Actions Command Terre (CAST), which introduces three new capabilities: influence operations, operational military partnership, and cyber defense. These changes respond to evolving conflicts, hybrid warfare threats, and the need for psychological operations (PSYOPS).

The transformation plan unveiled in April 2023 further envisions changes in other major units. For instance, the Digital and Cyber Command and the Theater Support and Logistics Command will oversee logistics, engineering, and maintenance brigades. The Intelligence Command (COM RENS) will expand its responsibilities to become the Command of Actions in Depth and Intelligence (CAPR), and it will be joined by the 4th Air Combat Brigade, as well as the 1st and 54th Artillery Regiments.

These developments reflect the French Army's adaptation to emerging threats and the evolving nature of modern warfare.

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French Special Forces operators quickly get ready to enter in action after landing on a DZ (Picture source: Army Recognition)

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French Special Forces namely use Land Rover 110s (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Defense News January 2024

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