Arnaud Coustillière – French Ministry of Armed Forces – Enabling French Army’s Digital Ambition

Vice Admiral Arnaud Coustillière has spent his entire career in the French Army, during which he embarked on several warships where he held operational command positions.. As of 2017, he is General Director of Digital and Information and Communication Systems, managing an IT budget of ca. €3.5B.

He has established the “Digital Platform Management Unit” (UM SNUM in French) and led the development of “Defense Connect” and “Defense Platform”, which were essential for achieving the ambition of the Ministry of Armed Forces to leverage massive amounts of data and new technologies for digital transformation.

In this episode of Leadership Deep Dive, Vice Admiral talks to Hendrik Deckers about how military experience shaped him as a leader, about facing cybersecurity threats of national security level, about France’s ambition of operating a cuttine-edge innovation ecosystem, and about bringing agile culture into this traditional organisation.


01:03 – Introduction: Vice Admiral Arnaud Coustillière, Director of Digital and ICT at French Ministry of Armed Forces
02:35 – Digital Transformation at French Ministry of Armed Forces
08:52 – Implementing SAFe Agile scaling framework
10:33 – How IT is organised at the Armed Forces and Arnaud’s role
12:28 – Second transformation program: DEFENSE CONNECT & DEFENSE PLATFORM
14:30 – France’s innovation policies and strategy
22:56 – How to attract IT talent and make the team successful // Digital High School
29:12 – Arnaud’s management and leadership style
33:25 – War stories about leadership
35:01 – What people (probably) say about Arnaud when he’s not around
38:55 – Arnaud’s MBTI profile: ENTP
45:38 – His personal values
47:15 – His mentors
49:06 – Advice for future CIOs

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