Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Armed Forces of the World Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: More big news about the French
interestedamateur    6/17/2008 9:17:41 AM
Large defence cuts announced in France today. Has to be ratified by their government, but unless they want to spend big, it's going to happen. Details nicked from Fantassin on arsse (http://www .arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=99178.html): 1) 54.000 jobs (both civilians & military) will be cut in the coming six or seven years. The "Armée de terre" (army) will go down to 130,600 ( - 17%), the "Armée de l'air" (AF) will go down to 50,000 men (-25%) and the "Marine nationale" will go down to 44,000 men (-11%). 2) Decision on the second aircraft carrier is pushed back to 2011; same thing for the FREMM frigates. 3) Emphasis will be put on spatial defence with the creation of a dedicated command and new satellites will be launched 4) A new early warning system to detect balistic missiles will reach initial capability in 2015, being fully operational by 2020. (Hello Mr Bush...) 5) The "operational contract" of the army is now to be able to deploy 30.000 men 7/8000 km from their bases within a coalition during a year, in six months increment. More (in French) at: secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/ Fantassin doesn't mention that the MN will drop down to 18 DDG/FFGs. Rumours that the Rafale buy will ber cut to 200 planes. When you think of the reports recently about maintainance difficulties they really are in trouble. On the other hand, one could argue that they are merely being realistic. This also has big implications for us Brit's I think. The French spend roughly the same amount as we do - if they are having to make big cuts we may also have to again in due course.
 
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2 3 4   NEXT
interestedamateur       6/17/2008 9:20:51 AM
I should mention that the AdT annmounced cuts earlier this year. Something like 3 Artillery (inc AA) and 3 engineer regiments went as well as some HQ's. Whether there will be more cuts on top of this we will have to see.
 
Quote    Reply

interestedamateur       6/18/2008 4:48:31 AM
 
It's pretty interesting. And it's not all bad news: although its not completely confirmed, one gets the impression that core army forces (8 brigades plus supporting units) will remain, whilst forces in stations such as Africa will be reduced. The number of Mistral class logistic carriers will increase to 4. The paper also talks about rapprochement with NATO and a renewed emphasis on combating terrorism. It's been very noticable over the past few years that the French have been committing a brigade to Cote Ivoire - a pretty pointless conflict and diversion of resources from whereht hey should have been - Afghanistan.
 
Quote    Reply

prometheus       6/20/2008 4:53:21 AM

Large defence cuts announced in France today. Has to be ratified by their government, but unless they want to spend big, it's going to happen. Details nicked from Fantassin on arsse http://www" target=_blank>link .arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=99178.html):

1) 54.000 jobs (both civilians & military) will be cut in the coming six or seven years.

The "Armée de terre" (army) will go down to 130,600 ( - 17%), the "Armée de l'air" (AF) will go down to 50,000 men (-25%) and the "Marine nationale" will go down to 44,000 men (-11%).

2) Decision on the second aircraft carrier is pushed back to 2011; same thing for the FREMM frigates.

3) Emphasis will be put on spatial defence with the creation of a dedicated command and new satellites will be launched

4) A new early warning system to detect balistic missiles will reach initial capability in 2015, being fully operational by 2020. (Hello Mr Bush...)

5) The "operational contract" of the army is now to be able to deploy 30.000 men 7/8000 km from their bases within a coalition during a year, in six months increment.

More (in French) at: secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/

Fantassin doesn't mention that the MN will drop down to 18 DDG/FFGs. Rumours that the Rafale buy will ber cut to 200 planes. When you think of the reports recently about maintainance difficulties they really are in trouble. On the other hand, one could argue that they are merely being realistic.

This also has big implications for us Brit's I think. The French spend roughly the same amount as we do - if they are having to make big cuts we may also have to again in due course.


I'm not so sure about that, the french are making huge cuts in the administrative parts of their forces, for the same money as we spend, the french had bigger overall force numbers but far less deployable assets. Besides, the British armed forces can't get any smaller!
 
Quote    Reply

LB    It's rather pathetic   6/20/2008 7:08:57 AM
It appears entirely budget driven.  The Army going down to 88,000 and the Navy going to 18 frigates, 6 SSN's, and 1 carrier does not support the national needs so those needs are redefined to fit the budget.  Moreover, the 300 combat aircraft include the Navy as does the ability to deploy 70 combat aircraft outside France.  One wonders what the Air Force does during those times when the single carrier air wing is deployed and vice versa?

The entire lets rejoin NATO's military and further call for more EU military (leaving Ireland's recent vote aside) is simply a rationalization for not ordering the 2nd carrier.  The paper says the decision will be made in 2011-12 but IMO it's all smoke and mirrors and there won't be a 2nd carrier.

The paper talks about intervention and force projection a lot and it's exactly these capabilities that are being cut.   The stated goal is the ability to deploy 30,000 ground troops for up to 1 year with 6 months notice.  That's pathetic.

The last time the Army got cut it was cut about in half from 1996 to the present roughly 134,000.  That structure was supposed to support the ability to deploy 50,000 troops and now it's being cut to 30,000 despite no rational explanation as to why the threats have decreased to allow that when in fact the present deployments are higher now. 

Putting naval aviation under the air force is also another method to mask cuts in naval aviation- just act the RN.

It really does not appear that what France needs was determined and then the force structure was designed to support that but rather that it was determined that France will continue to spend 2% of GDP on defense and so here is what France can maintain with that budget.  This of course also includes the national police of around 96,000 (2003).

My real question is whether the national police (Gendarmerie) will end up with more personal than the Army and what percentage of the "military" budget is for the national police?  One would the percentage will increase from the current ballpark of around 12%?  Might 15-20% of the defense budget actually end up going for the police?  Isn't that a smoke and mirrors tactic to allow France to say it spends 2% when in fact they spend less?

It's important because the NATO guidelines are for 2+% and France is supposed to be setting an example.


 
Quote    Reply

LB    Le Figaro   6/20/2008 7:39:30 AM
In the June 19th Le Figaro a group of French generals and senior officers wrote an article on page 14 that is more damning than my comments above.
There is an English translation easily found.

 
Quote    Reply

interestedamateur       6/20/2008 1:41:04 PM

It appears entirely budget driven.  The Army going down to 88,000 and the Navy going to 18 frigates, 6 SSN's, and 1 carrier does not support the national needs so those needs are redefined to fit the budget.  Moreover, the 300 combat aircraft include the Navy as does the ability to deploy 70 combat aircraft outside France.  One wonders what the Air Force does during those times when the single carrier air wing is deployed and vice versa?

The entire lets rejoin NATO's military and further call for more EU military (leaving Ireland's recent vote aside) is simply a rationalization for not ordering the 2nd carrier.  The paper says the decision will be made in 2011-12 but IMO it's all smoke and mirrors and there won't be a 2nd carrier.

The paper talks about intervention and force projection a lot and it's exactly these capabilities that are being cut.   The stated goal is the ability to deploy 30,000 ground troops for up to 1 year with 6 months notice.  That's pathetic.

The last time the Army got cut it was cut about in half from 1996 to the present roughly 134,000.  That structure was supposed to support the ability to deploy 50,000 troops and now it's being cut to 30,000 despite no rational explanation as to why the threats have decreased to allow that when in fact the present deployments are higher now. 

Putting naval aviation under the air force is also another method to mask cuts in naval aviation- just act the RN.

It really does not appear that what France needs was determined and then the force structure was designed to support that but rather that it was determined that France will continue to spend 2% of GDP on defense and so here is what France can maintain with that budget.  This of course also includes the national police of around 96,000 (2003).

My real question is whether the national police (Gendarmerie) will end up with more personal than the Army and what percentage of the "military" budget is for the national police?  One would the percentage will increase from the current ballpark of around 12%?  Might 15-20% of the defense budget actually end up going for the police?  Isn't that a smoke and mirrors tactic to allow France to say it spends 2% when in fact they spend less?

It's important because the NATO guidelines are for 2+% and France is supposed to be setting an example.



LB - you're not wrong. One small correction though, the Armee de Terre will actually remain at 130,000 - much smaller cuts that the other two services. In fact I expect the French army's core capabilities to remain. It almost certainly their bases in Africa/the Carribean etc that will be cut or downsized.  
 
Quote    Reply

LB       6/21/2008 7:52:34 AM
Whether it's 130,000 or 88,000 it's still 8 brigades without any cuts and it's not clear to me that there is not going to be cuts given how many tanks are said to be kept.  It's the French generals in Le Figaro saying that basically France's military will be in the same class as Italy.
 
The white paper states France will be able to deploy 70 combat aircraft and with 6 months notice up 30,000 troops for a year.  The trouble with that is that last defense reduction was supposed to allow France to deploy up to 50,000 troops and yet France, like most European nations, has had trouble with much more modest deployment numbers to places like Africa and Afghanistan.  The real question thus becomes what is the number of troops that can be deployed on a sustained basis?
 
 The French Navy losing it's aviation branch to the AF, along with any realistic hope of gaining a 2nd carrier, seems to have been lost in the shuffle. 
 
 It's really not clear to me that a nation of 63 million that purports to be a leader in Europe can exert such leadership with a grand total of 300 combat aircraft of which 70 can be deployed.  The USMC has over 300 combat aircraft (200 F/A-18 and 100 AV-8B).  Sure the US has 5 times the population but proportionately the US has around 3 times as many combat aircraft of greater capability. 
 
Is France really giving up on it's responsibilities?  Will she continue to talk as if she matters when in fact the modest forces she maintains undercut that position?  I know many Americans that were extremely pro NATO for decades and are ready to now step far back from NATO support if not leave altogether.  That France wants to now further lean on NATO to help defend her interests when she seems so unwilling to fund what is required is frankly shameful.  How does a proud nation operate without pride?  
 
It was sure nice that NATO invoked Article 5 in support of the US for 9/11.  It's been a bit of a let down that all of NATO can't be bothered to put it's money where it's mouth is and fully support the NATO mission in Afghanistan (UK, Canada, Holland, and others aside).  In fact most nations of Europe can't be bothered to put their troops someplace where they might get involved in combat.  It's all rather disgusting.  France's defense white paper just seems more of the same.
 
 
Quote    Reply

Godofgamblers       6/23/2008 12:53:51 AM

As most know, I'm as far as you can get from being a right wing hawk, but doesn't it seem as if we're in 1930s Europe.... looming danger on the horizon, shaky security situation, while the European powers dismantle their defence forces and turn to appeasement? La Legion Etrangere is only 9,000 men, and if the active defence force is only 30,000, what commitments will France be able to make anywhere in the world?

Are all the bases it has merely a massive prestige project? Who will man them?

The Pontan (sic?) incident revealed the weaknesses of the major powers. France got the hostages back and most of the ransom money back, but at what cost? Major naval assets were mobilized, various special forces units, at least one Atlantique, to track down a handful of fishermen turned pirates..... Sarko probably did all this to help the captain, a personal friend of his.... but at what cost? If the pirates did regular raids like this, it wouldn't take long for them to win a war of attrition against the French.

Maybe eliminating conscription wasn't such a good idea after all....

Hate to say that, but you have to wonder....

 

 

 
Quote    Reply

interestedamateur       6/23/2008 3:53:02 AM

Whether it's 130,000 or 88,000 it's still 8 brigades without any cuts and it's not clear to me that there is not going to be cuts given how many tanks are said to be kept.  It's the French generals in Le Figaro saying that basically France's military will be in the same class as Italy.

There will be 4 regiments of 60 tanks each (down from the current 4 regiments of 80 tanks). The army will remain at c.130,000 men.  

The white paper states France will be able to deploy 70 combat aircraft and with 6 months notice up 30,000 troops for a year.  The trouble with that is that last defense reduction was supposed to allow France to deploy up to 50,000 troops and yet France, like most European nations, has had trouble with much more modest deployment numbers to places like Africa and Afghanistan.  The real question thus becomes what is the number of troops that can be deployed on a sustained basis?

France can prabably deploy 2 brigades at any one time on a sustained basis, plus whatever permanent basis remain after this white paper.   

 The French Navy losing it's aviation branch to the AF, along with any realistic hope of gaining a 2nd carrier, seems to have been lost in the shuffle. 

The white paper doesn't say that the French navy will ose their air arm. They may lose the 2nd carrier but this isn't confirmed.
 

 It's really not clear to me that a nation of 63 million that purports to be a leader in Europe can exert such leadership with a grand total of 300 combat aircraft of which 70 can be deployed.  The USMC has over 300 combat aircraft (200 F/A-18 and 100 AV-8B).  Sure the US has 5 times the population but proportionately the US has around 3 times as many combat aircraft of greater capability. 

70 aircraft deployed on a sustainable basis. No doubt the French will be able to surge more. The US doesn't deploy all of its army in one go - you work on a 1 in 3 system.
 

Is France really giving up on it's responsibilities?  Will she continue to talk as if she matters when in fact the modest forces she maintains undercut that position?  I know many Americans that were extremely pro NATO for decades and are ready to now step far back from NATO support if not leave altogether.  That France wants to now further lean on NATO to help defend her interests when she seems so unwilling to fund what is required is frankly shameful.  How does a proud nation operate without pride?  

 Pride is all very well, but one must be realistic as well. You may find that the France of the future is actually more helpful to US interests - something for you to applaud.

It was sure nice that NATO invoked Article 5 in support of the US for 9/11.  It's been a bit of a let down that all of NATO can't be bothered to put it's money where it's mouth is and fully support the NATO mission in Afghanistan (UK, Canada, Holland, and others aside).  In fact most nations of Europe can't be bothered to put their troops someplace where they might get involved in combat.  It's all rather disgusting.  France's defense white paper just seems more of the same.

We shall have to wait and see. You could say that this paper is a re-orientation of France's interests from its African and Carribean basis to GWOT/NATO responsibilities, which I would argue is in everyone's interests - not least the French people. France has actually been quite active over the past few years - but only in deploying a brigade to the Ivory Coast and one must question the value of this.
 



 
Quote    Reply

interestedamateur       6/23/2008 4:08:57 AM
My replies in bold below.

As most know, I'm as far as you can get from being a right wing hawk, but doesn't it seem as if we're in 1930s Europe.... looming danger on the horizon, shaky security situation, while the European powers dismantle their defence forces and turn to appeasement? La Legion Etrangere is only 9,000 men, and if the active defence force is only 30,000, what commitments will France be able to make anywhere in the world?

With all due respect, what on earth are you talking about? What looming danger will be affected by the French reducing their army by 6,000 men? As I've mentioned below the active force is that available for deployments sustainably. It's not the total size of the army, or the total number that could be surged. There are no  major threats at the moment that can be dealt with conventional forces anyway - the situation today is nothing like the 1930's. You'll note that France's internal security forces are not being touched by this White Paper.

Are all the bases it has merely a massive prestige project? Who will man them?

I don't know enough about French foreign policy and economic interests to be able to adequately argue whether they are vanity projects (or a legacy of a long-vanished empire). Having said that I suspect they have little value in either France's economy or protecting it against forthcoming threats. The White Paper doesn't detail what will happen, but the implication is that they will be reduced (in fact this has been happening for a while). I wouldn't be suprised if only Djibouti (Africa) and Guyana (S America) remain by about 2015. Djibouti is on the Red Sea and has major strategic importance, whilst Guyana has the space facilities. The rest can probably go. 

The Pontan (sic?) incident revealed the weaknesses of the major powers. France got the hostages back and most of the ransom money back, but at what cost? Major naval assets were mobilized, various special forces units, at least one Atlantique, to track down a handful of fishermen turned pirates..... Sarko probably did all this to help the captain, a personal friend of his.... but at what cost? If the pirates did regular raids like this, it wouldn't take long for them to win a war of attrition against the French.

The French armed forces have major maintenance problems. One could argue that by reducing on major big-ticket expenditure, France will be able to divert more money to this. Another point (backed up by the Cornwall incident of last year) is that neither Britiain or France have the units that can cope with piracy or minor incidents. Instead of purchasing high value Fremm frigates, perhaps they should purchase twice as many LCS type ships.  

Maybe eliminating conscription wasn't such a good idea after all....

Conscription wouldn't help in the world today. You may remember that when conscription existed, the French had major problems in finding troopps to deploy to the fist Gulf War.

Hate to say that, but you have to wonder....



 
Quote    Reply
1 2 3 4   NEXT



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics