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338 words - May 2, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
This week was made public the new Defense White Paper of France (french), an advanced nuclear military power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The Paper confirmed a recent declaration of socialist President François Hollande who said that in spite of the budget constraints caused by the ongoing Eurozone's crisis, the strategic forces of France would be sanctuarized from any reduction or program's cancellation. Consequently, France will still be the third largest nuclear-weapons force in the world, following Russia and the United States. It thus keeps four submarines and strategic bombers as part of its nuclear deterrent, as well as six attack submarines and one aircraft carrier.
Mr. Hollande stressed (french) the French armed forces deserve the "best training, equipment and intelligence." The Paper focused on the development of greater cyber-defense and intelligence capabilities, notably with the acquisition of drones. The army will be reduced in size to about 66,000 deployable soldiers by 2019, down from about 80,000, in line with a 10-percent overall decrease in armed forces' workforce. However additional equipments and troops will benefit the French Special Forces who proved essential during past or current conflicts abroad in countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and Mali.
To conclude, France will remain a major actor within the small group of the top five most modern military powers with a total budget that is almost similar to UK's and valued at USD 234,9 billion between 2014 and 2019. If legitimate concern rose from the right side of the French political spectrum which affirmed the size of France's military forces could reach a limit synonym of a no-return decline in assets and capabilities, world media and diplomatic circles understood the imperatives of the French defense posture, mostly dictated by grim economics. "France is not ready to give its status as a major military player," said Carnegie Europe. President Hollande insisted that "maintaining the standing of France's military while mastering France's public finances" was a stake.
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