Home>Jules, Combat Plans and Operations Officer and Joint Terminal Attack Controller, French Air Force


Jules, Combat Plans and Operations Officer and Joint Terminal Attack Controller, French Air Force


Coming from France, Jules has graduated in International Security, dual degree with l’École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan. He previously pursued his bachelor's on the Poitiers campus, Latin America and the Caribbean minor. He is a combat plans and combat operations officer and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) in the French Air Force.

What are your main responsibilities?

After working for 3 years as a cybersecurity consultant, I had an opportunity to join the French Air Force. At present, I’m posted in Nancy in a unit that is specialized in Air Surface Integration. I’m part of the operation division. My three main tasks are training, writing about lessons learned and of course, operations. With my current level of qualification, I can be deployed at both command and tactical levels. Since I’ve joined the AF, I had the opportunity to participate in military operations (OPEX) as battle watch captain as well to many NATO exercises dedicated, most of the time, to JTAC training. The main qualities required for this job are being fit, knowing how to work under pressure and enjoying teamwork.

How did you prepare for this job?

As I had the chance to follow the dual degree between Sciences Po and Saint-Cyr, I was already quite aware of what to expect before joining the Air Force. I also had the chance to talk to friends who had studied in the Nancy campus and who had worked at Nancy-Ochey airbase to get a bit more knowledge on this new office I was supposed to move to. But as this is a specialized job, you can't really do any specific preparation. During the recruitment phase, candidates have to pass tests for spatial vision and cognitive overload (among others), in addition to physical tests and interviews.

What is the most fascinating part of your job?

The JTAC qualification is common to all NATO countries and is quite a small community. We get to travel quite often to train together, and it is quite enjoyable to work in such an international environment. Also, we train for the unexpected and we have a large variety of missions. One week you can be in a command post working at the Corps level and the next one being embedded with a small tactical group to control aircrafts in the field.

How did your PSIA experience contribute to the position you hold today?

Even if it’s only half of my job, PSIA taught me to analyse complex situations and be able to present and explain them in a simple way. Moreover, at PSIA we are fortunate to be able to exchange ideas with high-level speakers. There are two courses that I still find very relevant for my job. The first one was a course on “Conflicts in Africa” with then Colonel Susnjara. His approach to conflicts in Africa was fascinating and remains valid today. The second, was the class “International Humanitarian Law” with Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, as my work is partly related to this subject. I could name other courses that were eye-opening (cybersecurity, defence economics, etc.), but let’s say that PSIA was a “package” of knowledge.

What advice would you give to current students? 

My advice to students would be to tell them that finding a job they like the first time around is rare and complicated. Don't hesitate to look, explore and, if necessary, change, even if this can be radical. To do this, you need to take advantage of everything a school like PSIA has to offer. Take advantage of the professors, the alumni and all the encounters you'll have while you're there. Finally, your career will be a long one, so don't be afraid to commit yourself to meaningful jobs, even if it means changing direction later. Who knows, maybe after the army you'll find me in finance or humanitarian work, or why not open a “fromagerie.”