French defence White Paper: 54,000 to go in six years....

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by fantassin, Jun 17, 2008.

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  1. 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:
  2. Another article on this at Defence
  3. msr

    msr LE

    Or an ever looming Euro-army with no one state able to defend itself against the others?
  4. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    That still leaves them with 30% more guys than we have....and they are not all hung up on fielding minorities, gays and women, so I would expect the cuts to create a more "competitive" army.
  5. Wow! You make cuts sound positive. Following that logic why not cut the army down to ten men. Imagine how competitive that would be.
  6. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I think for the French army it is not the worst idea if the cash can be better spent on pay, conditions and kit - I understand the army budget is not being proportionally reduced.
  7. Today, Sarkozy is giving the party line to 100s of Bn cdrs and other top brasses.

    The general mood in the French armed forces is not at all along the lines of "we'll have the same ressources for fewer men so it'll be OK". That's what had already been said in 1996 with the end of conscription and we are still using 1964-vintage combat boots and 40 year-old transport aircrafts and helicopters...

    The truth is that here, everybody looks at the british armed forces with envy. It is generally seen as an experienced, well equipped and well trained force.
  8. Oh dear - Never Mind eh!
  9. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Sarkozy is briefing around 3000 officers this week on the proposals, one of the attendees I had dinner with last weekend (to be accurate he is an aide to an attendee).
    You are right about the second point, but there was an understood need that to get there change is needed. Budget for defense in France will increase according to Sarkozy, he even wants a 6% GDP defence commitment from all EU countries. This has filtered down as a package that takes away "surplus" troops/roles, mothballs obsolete kit and therefore will allow new stuff to be brought into service etc.
    Everyone is of course cautious as to what is promised is what will happen, but at least one group of officers in a Regiment de Transmissions (?) in Eastern France are optimistic.
  10. That last line may well be dead accurate - but it is a comparison. On this side of La Manche we generally add the words "compared to the others", and then look at the jobs the troops are expected to carry out, on a shrinking peacetime budget.

    What state your forces are in - I dread to think.
    On the other hand - I s'pose it means you'll not be looking for another Crecy, Agincourt or Waterloo any time soon :D
  11. One learns new things all the time. I had no idea that France ended conscription as recently as 1996. Given that the French Empire was by then not very much, what on earth did the conscripts do?

    Finally, it took a good 20 years for the British Armed Forces to recover from our own National Service so I expect you will have to bear with it for a few years yet, before seeing a significant improvement in equipment, let alone personnel.
  12. The Nordic countries have consistently fielded good troops in my experience, despite conscription. Some lessons to be learned there, I think.
  13. Having “done” Norway many years ago I would not disagree that their troops are good quality.

    But given their borders and their small populations, the remit of their Armed Forces is probably large enough to ensure conscripts do not spend a lot of time on “make work” such as whitewashing coal.
  14. You seem to be saying we could afford to whitewash coal, when we were standing off the Russians?

    I think not: it is about leadership, purpose, and pride in doing an necessary job well. If any of those are lacking, your army is in trouble.

    The Brit Armies that won the 2 world wars were overwhelmingly soldiers for the duration - but (in WW! particularly) they were often exceptionally good: in both cases, they were let down by shoddy post-war Regular leaders.