February 12, 2010: France spent over $26 billion on military procurement last year. That was more than twice what was spent the previous year. Last years' purchases included 60 Rafale jet fighters and 65 naval ships and boats. But there was also increased spending on new equipment for the infantry, to provide them with equipment similar to those American troops have, and many other European nations (like Britain and Germany) are getting.
All this is in the wake of the embarrassing release of a report two years ago, that detailed the sorry state the French armed forces had fallen into. In many cases, half the equipment was not fit for combat, because of age and lack of maintenance and spare parts. That energized the government to pay for much needed upgrades and refurbishment. France, like most European nations, had allowed its armed forces to decline after the Cold War ended in 1991. But with many nations answering the call for peacekeepers, it quickly became apparent that these post-Cold War policies had left the troops ill-equipped and trained for combat.