Procurement: French Military to Shrink and Mutate


June 18,2008: France is undertaking a major reorganization of its armed forces. First, it will cut personnel by 15 percent, and use the billions a year this will save to upgrade the Cold War equipment that is still in use. But the shrinking and reorganization will mean fewer aircraft and ships overall. Defense spending will gradually be reduced 13 percent (from 2.3 percent to two percent of GDP, compared to 2.7 percent in Britain). This will take about a dozen years to complete. The reorganization will come in the form of disbanding some army, navy and air force units, and shifting troops to intelligence and counter-terrorism work. The complete process will take up to fifteen years.

All this is in recognition of the fact that France no longer has any conventional threats in the region. France has a nuclear weapons capability (ICBMs on land and at sea) to deal with any major conventional, or nuclear, threats by other nations. Islamic terrorism is seen as the most dangerous foe at the moment, and the armed forces will be organized and equipped to deal with this threat. That includes buying more air and sea transports, and organizing and training troops for peacekeeping operations.


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