A French brigadier-general will be appointed a deputy commander of a British army division for the first time, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The move is part of an exchange programme aimed at strengthening ties between the two nations.
The as-yet-unnamed officer, who starts in April, will command the 1st (UK) Division when its commanding officer is on leave, MoD officials confirmed.
As part of the exchange, the British officer colonel Nick Nottingham will take up a similar role in the French army.
An army spokeswoman said: “These and the 17-plus posts that are exchanged between the French and British armies demonstrate the long-term commitment to providing security at home and abroad.”
The French officer will be one of two deputy divisional commanders. The appointment will be made in accordance with a 2010 treaty that aimed to foster closer military ties between France and the UK.
An army source told the Telegraph that the French soldier was unlikely to command British soldiers in the field on a foreign deployment in the near future.
The agreement was signed by the then French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and David Cameron. It provides for the sharing and pooling of materials and equipment, including the building of joint military facilities, mutual access to each country’s defence markets, and industrial and technological cooperation Unblocked Website.
Last year, an American brigadier-general was appointed to the deputy command of the 3rd (UK) Division. Speaking at the time, Michael Tarsa said it was an “honour” to be given the role.
There were about 60 French officers deployed across the whole of the British armed forces, including the 17 in the army, according to the Telegraph.
One senior officer said: “Whenever you deal with the Americans, because of their size, they are always the elephant and we are always the mouse. No matter how courteous they are, it’s very clear who is in charge.
“We’ve found working with the French, that they are a similar size to us, we’ve both had empires and we just seem to understand each other. It turns out the language barrier isn’t as important as we thought. It’s all about distance and scale.”