Patrick Destremau

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Patrick Destremau
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BornDecember 1, 1960
OccupationFrench Army Lieutenant-General
  • Olivier Destremau (father)
  • Odile Teissier (mother)

Patrick Destremau is a French Army Lieutenant-General. He is the Director of both the Institut des hautes études de Défense nationale (Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defense) and Higher Military Education.


Born on December 1, 1960 in Algiers, Destremau has been the Director of both the Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defense and Higher Military Education since September 1, 2018.

Family and personal life

Patrick Destremau is the eldest son of Olivier Destremau and Odile Teissier and comes from a long line of military officers (he is the great-grandson of :fr: General Félix Destremau). His grandfather, Jean Destremau, led military campaigns in Italy and France from 1943 to 1945 and was killed in 1948 in French Indochina while he was colonel of a colonial half-brigade stationed in Vinh Long, Vietnam. His father, Olivier Destremau (1933-2010) was first a parachute regiment officer then colonel of the Mountain Troops and his mother, Odile Teissier, was the daughter of General Henri Teissier. He has two brothers: Thierry (a priest, who died in 2019) and Christian. He is married to Diana Mangalagiu and has five children from a previous marriage.

Destremau is the nephew of Bernard Destremau (a politician, diplomat and former tennis player) and Henri Teissier, the Archbishop Emeritus of Algiers. He is the cousin of the skipper :fr:Sébastien Destremau.


Patrick Destremau began his military career when he entered the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr-Coëtquidan in September 1981. He finished at the top of his class and chose to serve in the Troupes de Marine (a multi-specialty subdivision of the French Army) where he received advanced training in tank warfare. Upon his graduation in 1983, Destremau joined the :fr:École d’application de l’arme blindée cavalerie (Cavalry School) in Saumur, France. After earning engineering degrees at the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in 1983 and the École nationale supérieure des telecommunications in 1996, as well as a degree certifying him for advanced military administration roles from the École de guerre in 1998, Destremau was an auditor at the Institut des hautes études de défense nationale and the Centre des hautes études militaires from 2006 to 2007.

As part of his studies at the École nationale supérieure des télécommunications, Destremau was sent to Space Systems/Loral, an American company located in Palo Alto, California. He would receive the General Henri Sabatier Engineering Prize in recognition of his work at Space Systems/Loral designing the antenna networks of Global Star satellites.


Between 1984 and 2006, Destremau mainly served within the Régiment d’infanterie chars de marine (Marine Infantry Tank Regiment) and participated in multiple operations in Central Africa, the Sahel region, the Balkans and the South Pacific. He was deployed in Chad with Operation Manta in 1984, in the Central African Republic with Operation Épervier in 1987 and 1989, in Croatia with the United Nations Protection Force in 1992 and in Bosnia with the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR) in 1998.

New Caledonia

In April 1987, Lieutenant Destremau arrived in New Caledonia as platoon leader of the armored squadron of the Régiment d’infanterie de marine du Pacifique Nouvelle-Calédonie (the New Caledonian Armed Forces). A year later, between the first and second rounds of the presidential election, there was a violent attack against a brigade of gendarmerie (Military police acting with both civilian and military jurisdiction) and hostages were taken at Ouvéa cave. Destremau ensured the safety of Ouvéa Airport, and was then sent to serve General Jacques Vidal. On April 26, 1988, he attempted to negotiate the release of hostages with the Kanak hostage takers at Ouvéa cave (where they were holding the gendarmes hostage) before he himself was taken hostage. He remained imprisoned in the cave for 9 days before being liberated on May 5 by Operation Victor, which led to the death of 19 Melanesian militants and 2 members of the military.

Assigned once again to New Caledonia from 2000 to 2002, Destremau was S3 commander for the joint staff of the high command. He was in charge of operations, state action at sea and the development of military international relations with the states in the region (Australia, New Zealand, the Melanesian archipelago).

After returning to Paris, he became the Information Systems Architect within the Army Headquarters from 2002 to 2004.

Côte d’Ivoire

A commanding officer of Régiment d’infanterie chars de marine from 2004 to 2006, Destremau served in Operation Licorne, he was stationed in Bouaké and Yamoussoukro from October 2004 to February 2005 as commander of the groupement tactique interarmes 1 ( Regiment Combined Arms Team n°1 ) in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

During the resurgence of inter-party conflict in November 2004, one of Destremau’s unit was bombed in Bouaké by Ivorian planes. The death toll is 9 soldiers and one civilian. Furthermore, 40 soldiers were wounded, some of whom with long-lasting wounds.

During the riots in Abidjan that followed, Destremau, along with his unit, was in charge of evacuating French nationals at risk in Abidjan. On November 9, 2004, his unit was later blamed for the firefight in front of the Ivoire Hotel, located in the heart of the capital. After clashes with Ivorian demonstrators, shots fired led to the death and injury of multiple demonstrators. The official numbers are still disputed: Ivorian medical sources report “at least 7 deaths and several dozens wounded” while the French Ministry of Defense acknowledges “one maybe two deaths” due to the French soldiers. Colonel Destremau defended himself and assured the newspaper Libération that his Marsouins had not fired live ammunitions at unarmed Ivorians. At the time, he asked to testify before an inquiry commission in order to defend the honor of his soldiers.

In 2012, the Régiment d’infanterie chars de marine received an Army-level commendation for the 19th time for actions performed under Destremau’s command in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, in Bouaké and Abidjan.

Joint staff

In 2007, Destremau took charge of the Scorpion program within the Joint Staff, the goal is to modernize and digitize the French Army’s combat vehicles. He built up the information-sharing capacity of the project by adding the combat information system (SICS) into the program. A Secretary-general of the Collège des officiers de cohérence opérationnelle (Corps of operational coherence officers) from 2010 to 2011, Destremau managed a defense working group that organized the future military planning law of 2014-2019. In 2011, he was promoted Brigadier General, and from 2011 to 2014, he led the reform of the Joint high command and represented the Joint Chief of Staff in the reform of the ministry working order. An assistant of the Deputy Joint Chief of Staff for Logistics from 2014 to 2016, he represented the Joint Chief of Staff in the commission led by Bernard Pêcheur regarding the national association that promotes and protects military interests. Destremau is also the administrator of the public association that oversees contingency funds for the military and aeronautics fields. From 2016 to 2018, Destremau was Deputy Joint Chief of Staff for Logistics, he was tasked with the preparation, morale, large-scale organization and design of the armed forces human resources. He is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Économat des Armées, a public institution dedicated to the catering support within the Armed Forces.

Institut des hautes études de défense nationale (IHEDN) and Enseignement militaire supérieur (EMS)

Since September 1, 2018, Destremau has been the Director of both the Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defense and Higher Military Education. He has been tasked by the Prime Minister to lead reforms.

Ranks and promotions

Second lieutenant: 1983; Lieutenant: 1984; Captain: 1988; Major: 1993; Lieutenant colonel: 1997; Colonel: 2002; Brigadier general: 2011; Major general: 2014; Lieutenant general: 2016

Recognitions and honors

· Lieutenant General Patrick Destremau is Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur and Commandeur de l’Ordre national du Mérite (a French order of merit, awarded by the President of the French Republic). He has received the Croix de la Valeur Militaire avec palme and an Army-level commendation

· Croix de la Valeur Militaire avec palme: 1988

· Croix de la Valeur Militaire with Army-level commendation: 2005

· Commandeur de l’Ordre national du Mérite: 2012

· Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur: 2016

Works by Patrick Destremau

« A la rechercher du succès en Afrique de l’Ouest » (In Search of Success in West Africa) Inflexions, 2006. “The Future of War?” Inflexions, 2008. « Scorpion : la supériorité par l’agilité » (Scorpion: superiority through agility) Défense & Sécurité Internationale hors-série n°3, June-July 2008. With Jérôme Lemaire: « La mise en place du programme SCORPION » (The establishment of the SCORPION program) Défense & Sécurité Internationale n°59, May 2010. « L'efficacité militaire : spécificités et paradoxes » (Military effectiveness: the particularities and the paradoxes) revue Cahiers philosophiques, 2010.


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