Colonel Philippe Le Carff was born in Brittany. He was educated in the French “École polytechnique” military academy (class 1992) where he completed his military education in the Navy as chief of the watch aboard a patrol boat. He was commissioned on 01 September 1995 and joined the Army and the Cavalry. He attended the lieutenant course at the Cavalry branch school in Saumur.
He was posted on 1 September 1996 to the 1st Regiment of Spahis. He served two years as reconnaissance troop (US: platoon) leader, took part in operation Almandin in the Central African Republic for five months and was awarded a commendation, with the Cross for Military Valour, for fighting the local rebels.
He was promoted to captain on 1 September 1998, served one year as squadron (US: company) 2IC and went to Bosnia for four months as squadron 2IC. He ended his duty in the regiment being assigned to the regimental headquarters as staff officer “operations” and went to Lebanon within the United Nations Interim Force for five months as the French component chief logistics officer.
He attended the squadron commander course in 2000 and was posted to the 501st Tank Regiment as Leclerc MBT squadron commander on 19 June 2000. In 2001, he served in Kosovo for five months at the head of his squadron.
After the Army Junior Command and Staff Course in 2003, he was assigned to the Cavalry Studies and Prospective Department as staff officer, dealing with the future organization of the branch. In September 2003, he competed for the Army Advance Command and Staff Course and attended the course from January to July 2004. He was promoted to major on 01 July 2004. He attended the Joint Defence College from September 2004 to July 2005 and passed a master’s degree in history.
He was posted to NATO SACT HQ in Norfolk, Virginia, USA on 16 August 2005. He was jointly chief planning and operations officer of NATO counter-IED integrated project team and ACT joint urban operations working group land subject matter expert, then drafted NATO asymmetric warfare concept, became ACT counter terrorism working group deputy leader and eventually a member of ACT NATO peace establishment review tiger team in the frame of France reintegration within the NATO command structure. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 01 July 2008.
Back to France on 16 July 2008, he was assigned to the 1st Regiment of Chasseurs as the regimental chief of staff. He was deployed to Lebanon for four months in October 2008 as UNIFIL French battalion deputy commander and chief of staff. In June 2009, he took over the ISAF Regional Command Capital HQ joint operations centre director position in Kabul, Afghanistan for 4 months and was awarded his 2nd commendation, with the National Defence Golden Medal. Eventually, he was deployed to Ivory Coast for 5 months in February 2010 as the French Battle Group deputy commander and chief of staff.
He was assigned to the 2nd Armoured Brigade HQ, in Strasbourg, on 1 July 2010 as the brigade S3. He deployed again to Afghanistan in April 2012 for eight months, as task force La Fayette deputy chief of staff operations under the command of the US 1st Infantry Division, where he transitioned Kapisa province and Surobi district to the Afghan National Security Forces and conducted task force La Fayette final retrograde operation. He was awarded his 3rd commendation, again with the Cross for Military Valour.
He took command of the 4th Regiment of Dragoons, in Marseille, on 12 July 2013. In the frame of a downsizing of the French Army, he disbanded his regiment on 11 July 2014. He was assigned to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps HQ in Gloucester, England on 21 July 2014 as the operations division director of staff. He was promoted to colonel on 01 December 2014. On 29 July 2017, he was assigned to the Army Inspection as the cavalry SME and the head of the inspection branch. In July 2019, he was detached to the Ministry of Interior and attended the Ministry of Interior Centre for Higher Studies and the Institute of Security and Justice Higher Studies courses. On 4 June 2020, he was assigned to the Defence staff within the private office of the Vice-Chairman of the Defence Staff.
He plays judo, rides horses and sails. He is an avid reader and is fond of history. He speaks Breton, French, English, and Latin, and a little German, Italian and Serbian. He started learning Welsh and intends to learn Irish.
Colonel Philippe Le Carff is married and has four children.
He is knight of the Légion d’Honneur, officer of the National Order of Merit and holds the Cross for Military Valour with two bronze stars, the Combatant Cross, the exceptional National Defence Golden Medal with a silver star, the regular National Defence Golden Medal, the US Army Commendation Medal and several other foreign awards.