France

According to the updated 2015-2019 Military Programming Law (after the January’s and November’s 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris) and in contrast to the initial decisions, it has been agreed to increase the defence expenditure by € 600 million, while programmed staff cuts have been paused till 2019. More specifically, the allocation of funds among the different programs (including pensions), is illustrated in the below diagram.

Under the impact of globalization, the world has changed profoundly. The acceleration in information exchanges, the increased trade in goods and services, in addition to the rapid circulation of individuals, have transformed the global political, social and economic environment nowadays, with effects in national and international security.

Considering such emerging risks and a modern national defence strategy, France now focuses on internal reforms to further strengthen its military force and overall national security. According to the 2013 White Paper, the French Armed Forces –French Army, French Air Force, and National Gendarmerie of France- have the following five basic strategic functions: knowledge and anticipation, prevention, deterrence, protection and intervention.

By having turned its former enemies into allies (including Germany and the UK), unlike a century ago, France has managed to limit its external traditional threats and be a leading player among the European nations, with a significant role in NATO, G-8, G-20, as well as other multilateral organisations. However, new risks have appeared, including the Ballistic missiles developed by new powers (e.g. North Korea), as well as frequent cyber-attacks to critical installations and/or national organisations. In addition, non-intentional health or environmental related crises are expected to further amplify in the near future. Finally, the crisis in the Middle East and Jihadism-inspired terrorism, have created an unstable reality worldwide.

Today (2015), the operational manpower of the French Forces, consists of 263,350 people, of which, 41% are employed in the Army, 13.8% in the Navy and 16.2% in the Air Force (See chart below).

To address these risks, France has been participating (as of July 2015) in aerial, land and naval operations in the Near & Middle East, aerial and land operations in the Sahel-Saharan Strip area and Central Africa, naval operations in the Indian Ocean and West Africa, and finally UN/EU/NATO commitments, in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Western Sahara. In addition, presence and sovereignty forces, are deployed by France in the Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Guinea.

Moreover, following the attacks of 2015 in Paris and 2016 in Nice, the number of soldiers deployed permanently within the country, increased significantly, reaching by the end of 2016, the 12,885 figure.

Source: http://www.defense.gouv.fr

France is ranked among the highest defence-spending nations, in terms of the percentage of GDP allocated for related expenditure.

According to the SIPRI database, in 2009, France’s military expenses reached the amount of US $68.4 billion (2.4% of the GDP). Since then, this figure has decreased significantly, as in 2015, related expenditure amounted to US $60.7 billion (2.1% of the GDP).

In 2014, France spent 3% of the national GDP on Defence, as well as more or less the same amount (2.8% of the GDP) on Public Order & Safety (see chart below). In that year, France had the 5th largest defence budget worldwide.

The country’s core defence budget for 2015 (excluding pensions and the Gendarmerie) was €31.4 billion (US $33.8 billion), indicating a small in real terms fall, compared to the previous year. This budget was distributed to the areas, as illustrated in the chart below.

According to the updated 2015-2019 Military Programming Law (after the January’s and November’s 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris) and in contrast to the initial decisions, it has been agreed to increase the defence expenditure by € 600 million, while programmed staff cuts have been paused till 2019. More specifically, the allocation of funds among the different programs (including pensions), is illustrated in the below diagram.

However, only in 2016, Defence Budget increased further, by almost €0.7 billion, reaching the €32.08 billion figure (excluding pensions).

Moreover to the aforementioned, and in order to ensure the security of its citizens from ‘asymmetric’ dangers (including terrorist attacks), the MoD announced the further increase by €300 million of the budget for 2017, for equipment/materiel procurement purposes.

France has set a series of industrial and technological priorities for 2025, that ensure the country’s sovereignty and promote technological advancements and a highly skilled workforce. Apart from focusing on information security systems, as well as limiting the restraints on the free exports of defence electronic components –as a result of the various national regulations- the French government has introduced a set of important goals.

First of all, to secure its future capability, a proactive policy has been set up by the government, regarding the support of companies (including SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises), in the field of exports. Additionally, France aims to maintain its capability for the design, development and production of nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as continue further the ballistic missiles’ development. Recognising the necessity for developing a fighter aircraft program, France will continue to actively support, at both the national and European levels the design, production and acquisition of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, in addition to land equipment (including the production of ammunition).
 
In addition, being a strong supporter of the European share & pool policy, France promotes common frameworks to support shared technological and industrial capabilities. Within this context, the Franco-British Defence Cooperation Treaty, relating to a joint nuclear facility and a package of defence initiatives -such as sharing of aircraft carriers for training purposes, possible military operations and shared resources on training, as well as Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of A400M transport aircraft- has been agreed between the two countries, in November 2010. The treaty also provided the regulatory framework for the establishment of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), whose concept was validated recently, during the Exercise 'Griffin Strike' (April 2016). Following this, France and the UK will jointly conduct a broad range of military intervention tasks, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) to high-intensity warfighting. Under CJEF, the two countries are also aiming to build a common architecture for IT and communication systems, increase their intelligence exchanges, and also coordinate more effectively their national strategic planning mechanisms. The related multi-annual training programme will take place between 2017-2022, while taking into consideration associated requirements and examining the conditions for a possible opening up to other allies.
 
Within this collaborative environment, France will cooperate with Germany in one of the major European procurement programs, towards the replacement of their Leopard 2 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks), the service life of which will come to an end, by 2030. Moreover, as agreed on May 2015, France (Dassault), Germany (Airbus) and Italy (Finmeccanica), in an attempt to end Europe’s reliance on Israeli and US drones, will collaborate in a European MALE UAV program.

Moreover, as announced in February 2015 by the President of France, Paris would allocate until 2019, 12.3% (€180 billion) of the annual defence budget towards the enhancement of its nuclear deterrent capabilities –in both sea and air-based nuclear forces.