AFP, published on Friday, January 20, 2023 at 7:35 p.m.
President Emmanuel Macron on Friday promised the armies a budget of 400 billion euros over seven years as part of the future military programming law (LPM), a third more than the previous LPM, against a backdrop of the return of the war in Europe since the Russian invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago.
“The military programming law reflects the country’s efforts in favor of its armies” and “these efforts will be proportionate to the dangers, that is to say considerable”, announced the Head of State during his greetings to the armies, on the air base of Mont-de-Marsan (Landes), by ensuring that the armies would have a total of 413 billion euros between 2024 and 2030, taking into account extrabudgetary revenues.
“We must have a war in advance” to “be ready for more brutal, more numerous and more ambiguous wars at the same time”, commented the president in front of an audience of senior officers.
This long-awaited law, while the war in Ukraine has highlighted weaknesses in the French military system, will thus continue the massive financial effort in the defense tool after a 2019-2025 LPM of 295 billion euros, which had ended years of budget cuts in the armies.
The LPM, whose new budget envelope will however be tempered by inflation and the explosion of energy costs, should be submitted to Parliament for a vote by the summer.
“After having repaired the armies, we are going to transform them”, argued the Head of State, while France intends to remain a respected power and a credible partner, as underlined by the last national strategic review.
– Budget intelligence and sharp increase –
Efforts to modernize French nuclear deterrence, to which 5.6 billion euros in payment appropriations are devoted in 2023, will be continued.
Cyber capabilities will be “very significantly enhanced” to have a “first-class” capability.
The budget allocated to military intelligence will increase by nearly 60% over the period 2024-2030, announced Emmanuel Macron. The budget of the Military Intelligence Directorate (DRM) and the Defense Intelligence and Security Directorate (DRSD) will notably be doubled.
The Overseas Territories will be the subject of additional investments in terms of equipment and staff, because the progress of the world puts many of these territories, particularly in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, “at the forefront of possible confrontations of tomorrow”, underlined Mr. Macron.
France must “have reinforced sovereignty forces to be able to give a claw to anyone who would like to attack our interests”, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, where China’s expansionist aims are worrying, argues the ‘Elysium.
The future LPM will also seek to adapt to the risks of major inter-state conflict (“high intensity”), in an increasingly tense geostrategic context.
– Drones and air defense –
France must also be capable, “if circumstances so require”, of “building and commanding a first-rate coalition” with its partners, noted the Head of State, emphasizing that it was the only country to be able to do so in continental Europe. This implies being able to deploy a joint capacity of 20,000 men.
It will also be a question of filling the gaps in the field of drones and prowling ammunition, or even investing in quantum and artificial intelligence. France also plans to boost its air defense capabilities by 50%, Macron said.
In accordance with his desire to develop a “war economy”, he also asked manufacturers to “drastically shorten production cycles”, “not to give in to over-sophistication” and “adapt our equipment more quickly”. Costs and maintenance must be reduced by “a combined state-industry effort”, he insisted.
Anxious to strengthen the “moral force” of the nation, the Head of State finally aims to double the number of reservists, which currently number 40,000.
In an interview with Le Monde, the Minister of Defense Sébastien Lecornu welcomed a “doubling of the annual budget of the armies” between 2017 and 2030. We must “go back to the Gaullists in the 1960s”, “when they are launched alone in the race for the atom” to find a comparable effort, he assured.
For his part, Cédric Perrin, LR vice-president of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, deemed this amount “insufficient”. “At less than 430 billion, we will not keep a complete army model,” he said on Twitter.