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.
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.