I asked Guy Gweth what he valued most from my time at School of Economic Warfare of Paris (EGE). His answer is quite enlightening. The school assumes that the competitive situation will be asymmetrical (weak France vs. strong adversary) and that the U.S.A. is the chief adversary with China and Asia on the horizon as future adversaries. This does not represent anything unusual or unwise on France’s part.
However, the name of this school, l’Ecole de Guerre Economique, should make you wonder if this is just another Competitive Intelligence (CI) school or not. A look at its staff, origins, and France’s industrial history, will tell you that it is very different from what you will find in the UK or North America (NA). Unlike the UK and NA, the French are leaders in economic espionage due to many state-owned enterprises, which means that government interests can overlap with commercial interests. This has been true since the earliest part of the Industrial Revolution.
Guy Gweth explains that the EGE was created in 1997 by the French Mr Christian Harbulot and General of the Army Jean Pichot-Duclos. According to The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA),
Harbulot is an interesting character described by the French daily Liberation in November of 2004 as an “ex-Maoist of the proletarian Left.” He still heads the school, located in Paris….
…the online magazine Geostrategy-Direct.com, (reported) that the EGE is “a special school for economic espionage that trains students to target U.S. technology and information,”…
Using real life case studies, students at the EGE also focus on such topics as “the destabilization of the salmon market,” although another EGE student explained that the school, while teaching how to destabilize markets, stops short of disrupting the private life of a company executive, which is a practice officially “prohibited” by the EGE.
Reading Guy Gweth’s blog post and Tilting the Playing Field: Economic Espionage Hasn’t Gone Away Since 9/11 at the JINSA site should reveal the terms Competitive Intelligence and Industrial Espionage mean different things to different people.