Foreign Legion Command

COMLE insigniaCommandement de la Légion Etrangère, COMLE. The COMLE includes the office of the Commander of the Foreign Legion (Le général commandant la Légion étrangère, with a rank of general) and the General staff of the Foreign Legion. The Commander exercises supervision over the Legion. He reports directly to the Chief of Staff of the French Army and advises him on Foreign Legion matters.

The COMLE was established on March 2, 1931, under the title of Foreign Legion Inspection (Inspection de la Légion Etrangère, ILE). After several deactivations and changes of its title, the general staff of the Legion became the COMLE in 1984. It is based in the Quartier Viénot in Aubagne (Southern France, close to Marseille), which also serves as home to the 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE).

Today, three units of the Foreign Legion report directly to the COMLE: 1st Foreign Regiment (a unit carrying out administrative tasks), 4e RE (a training unit) and GRLE (a recruiting unit). The other units report to the Staff of their brigades (or forces) they are assigned to.

Foreign Legion Command - COMLE - Commandement de la Légion Etrangère


Current structure of the Foreign Legion Command

The COMLE represents a Commander of the COMLE (a chief of the Legion, an officer with the general rank who has served with the Legion for most of his career), who has at his disposal a general staff (l’etat-major). The general staff is headed by a chief of the general staff (CEM). The general staff is divided (in 2023) into a research bureau and 4 departments (divisions) and consists of some 50 personnel.

The Foreign Legion Command is responsible for the total performance of the Legion. This includes the administration, discipline, internal traditions, training, morale, solidarity, communication and public relations, recruitment and administrative & security tasks regarding military personnel serving as foreigners.

In 2023, the COMLE operates:

  • Synthesis, Management & Research Bureau (Bureau d’Études, Pilotage et Synthese, BEPS)
  • Human Resources Division (Division des Ressources Humaines, DRHLE)
  • Security & Protection Division (Division Sécurité et Protection, DSPLE)
  • Influence & Heritage Division (Division Rayonnement et Patrimoine, DRPLE)
  • Mutual Aid & Solidarity Division (Division Entraide et Solidarité, DESLE)

Three of these Divisions (DSPLE, DRPLE, DESLE) are administrated by personnel of the Foreign Legion Services Company (CSLE) of the 1er RE.

Foreign Legion Council (Conseil de la Légion Etrangère, CLE), established in 2010, serves as an advisory board to the COMLE.


Synthesis, Management & Research Bureau – BEPS

The bureau is led by an officer authorized to carry out the missions required for a successful synthesis (or harmonization) of the French Army and the Foreign Legion. He is accompanied by a high level legal advisor, an expert in management and effectiveness, and an assistant for organization and administration.

BEPS, for example, is responsible for:
– strategic management aimed at greater efficiency and prognostication
– managing of assigned research studies and synthesis
– following the orders of the French Army’s general staff and their harmonization with the Legion
– preservation of the status of a legionnaire serving as a foreigner (à Titre Etranger, TE)
– carrying out prospective and anticipatory studies for the COMLE
– preparing and facilitating the processing of cross-section files that are not controlled by the CEM
– ensuring the coherence of the different divisions of the COMLE
– editing proposals for public speeches or written work (articles, official letters), at the request of the Chief of COMLE
– organizing bilateral meetings or working meetings for the Chief of COMLE


Foreign Legion Human Resources Division – DRHLE

DRHLE is responsible for:
– keeping files of legionnaires serving as foreigners (à Titre Etranger, TE)
– keeping files of non-naturalized legionnaires having left the Legion
– DRHLE includes two bureaus to help legionnaires to return to civilian life:

  • Foreign Legion Retraining Assistance Bureau (Bureau d’Aide à la Reconversion de la Légion Etrangère, BARLE)
  • Foreign Legion Veterans Bureau (Bureau des Anciens de la Légion Etrangère, BALE)

– DRHLE is administrated by the CAPLE, 1er RE personnel


Foreign Legion Security & Protection Division – DSPLE

– an institution nicknamed Gestapo by legionnaires since the 1940s

DSPLE is responsible for:
– participating on candidate selection procedures
– protecting the selected candidates
– protecting serving legionnaires
– protecting ex-legionnaires having returned to civilian life (it doesn’t apply to deserters)
– the protection means that the protected person will not be handed over to the police or to officials of the country he was a citizen of before joining the Legion, for crimes he mentioned as the reason for hiding himself in the Legion
– the protected person is protected by DSPLE in all places around the world, except for the country he was a citizen of before joining the Legion

– DSPLE is administrated by the CSLE, 1er RE personnel


Foreign Legion Influence & Heritage Division – DRPLE

DRPLE is responsible for:
– ensuring the public relations
– ensuring the promotion of the Legion
– managing the spread of information to the public
– coordinating all actions of communication within the Legion
– ensuring the preservation of the Legion’s historical collections
– arranging Foreign Legion Music Band activities

– DRPLE includes three bureaus to help to keep public relations:

  • Communication Bureau
    • it is responsible for media communication
  • Production Bureau
    • it publishes the Kepi Blanc magazine
    • it operates the official website of the Legion
  • Heritage Bureau
    • it operates e.g. the Foreign Legion Museum

– DRPLE is administrated by the CSLE, 1er RE personnel


Foreign Legion Mutual Aid & Solidarity Division – DESLE

DESLE is responsible for:
– providing social actions in support of legionnaires and veterans (serving as foreigners) and their families

– DESLE runs Foreign Legion Mutual Aid Foyer (Foyer d’Entraide de la Légion Etrangère, FELE)

    – FELE is a public institution assigned to the Ministry of Defense
    – however, it don’t receive any financial aid from the state
    – the Foreign Legion Commander is the head of FELE
    – FELE provides material and financial aid for wounded legionnaires and veterans
    – the institution manages fund-raising campaigns (e.g. through the KB magazine)
    – it also provides, besides other things, Foreign Legion cemeteries maintenance
    – FELE also supports Home of Legionnaire (La Maison du Légionnaire)
    – the Home is based at Auriol, close to Aubagne and serves as a retirement home for some 70 elderly ex-legionnaires
    – the FELE also operates an important institution:

    • Foreign Legion Veterans Institution (IILE, based at Puyloubier, close to Aubagne)

– within the DESLE, another organization is run
Foreign Legion Joint Circle (CMLE, created in 2014)
– CMLE is responsible for all military messes of the Foreign Legion

– DESLE is administrated by the CSLE, 1er RE personnel


MOTTO: Honneur et Fidélité (Honor and Fidelity)


Location of the Foreign Legion Command



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