Defence and National Security Strategic Review
«France’s military power lies at the core of our national ambition. Living up to this ambition requires financial and human resources, as well as a strategic vision.
This is why, just after my election, I commissioned the Minister for the Armed Forces to conduct a Defence and National Security Strategic Review, to support our vision and provide the basis for a new Military Planning Act. The leading experts she has convened have carried out this in-depth review.
We are now living in an era of major upheaval. Although we were already aware of the vast majority of the risks and threats that we are facing, they are materializing with increasing frequency, greater consequences and greater proximity. Their accumulation is indicative of a weakened international system and of emerging actors overtly trying to undermine it.
France and Europe are now directly at risk.
Islamic terrorism, which has hit our country, is spreading to new regions despite our military successes. On the international stage, the threat of a major conflict is once again a possibility. Assertive powers and authoritarian regimes are emerging or re-emerging, while multilateralism appears to be giving way to the rule of force. Aggressive behaviours are becoming more frequent in cyberspace, with potentially dire consequences.
The European idea itself, designed to promote peace and prosperity after the dramatic events of the previous century, is being challenged by Brexit, the refugee crisis, and rising doubts about Europe’s ability to protect its population.
In such an environment, which challenges three decades of certainties and references, only a strong France, in control of its own destiny, can provide answers to today’s major crises, promote its values and assert its interests. First-class defence and diplomacy are critical to this ambition, along with strong and credible armed forces, capable of dealing with all kinds of threats, in every field. This will allow us to strengthen our position in the United Nations Security Council and, in the multilateral world order that must prevail, to undertake the necessary initiatives and actions that will guarantee our sovereignty.
To that end, I have decided to maintain our nuclear deterrence strategy and renew its two components, as they ultimately guarantee our vital interests, our independence and, more broadly, our freedom of decision.
This is also why I want to ensure that our armed forces and intelligence services have all the resources they need to meet their current commitments and future challenges.
The volatile strategic environment and the extremely tense operating conditions our armed forces have to face require an agile, deployable and resilient defence system.
Its primary mission will remain the protection of France and its people, on our mainland as well as our overseas departments and territories, which constitutes the very essence of the fundamental link between the French Republic and its armed forces. Jihadist terrorism is not the only threat we face; others are rising and crises can develop at any time. Modernizing and strengthening our armed forces must therefore enable them to respond and, more particularly, to deploy far beyond our borders, wherever they are needed. Their preventive role will also be reaffirmed, within a comprehensive approach that combines security, development and diplomacy in the service of peace.
It is also through our armed forces that our country will be able to honour its international commitments, ensuring its allies can continue to rely on France in every situation, and to pursue its strategic partnerships in Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific.
Finally, Europe’s progress on defence must be further consolidated. We have laid the foundations for its strategic autonomy. Several of our partners are realising that, as part of a balanced transatlantic relationship, Europe is the natural framework for our security and the protection of our borders, given challenges that can only be faced collectively. The time is therefore right to revive European defence by drawing our strategic cultures closer, by cultivating pragmatic partnerships with European states which, like us, have the political will and military capabilities to meet their operational responsibilities, by committing the necessary resources at the European level and by strengthening our defence industries, to ensure they remain at the cutting edge of technology and competitiveness on a global scale.
The security and defence of our Nation require the commitment of the entire defence community. Specifically, it is the whole country and all the driving forces of the national community – its local authorities, political groups, companies, youth – who must come together to meet these challenges.
We also owe this collective effort to our soldiers, to the men and women of the Ministry for the Armed Forces, who, day and night, in France and abroad, in combat units and support services, bravely and selflessly defend our country and its citizens, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.
This Strategic Review recognises their central role in the life of the Nation, today and in the future. The upcoming Military Planning Act will come as its concrete expression.»
President of France