The French White Paper on defence and national security -2008

The traditional distinction between domestic and foreign security has lost its relevance. Terrorism in Europe is staged both from the outside and through the infiltration of our societies. Large-scale criminal networks take advantage of borderless globalisation. Energy security cannot be envisaged outside of a global perspective. Information systems are vulnerable without consideration of borders. The same applies to natural or health risks.

The French White Paper on defence and national security-2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. BACKGROUND AND PROCESS
2. KEY FINDINGS
3. FIFTEEN PRESCRIPTIONS
4. NEW VULNERABILITIES
5. NEW SECURITY PARAMETERS
6. THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
7. EUROPEAN AMBITION
8. A RENOVATION OF TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS
9. THE UNITED NATIONS IN CENTRAL POSITION
10. THE FRAMEWORK OF NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
11. 5 STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS
12. A NEW MILITARY STRATEGY: INCREASED FREEDOM OF
ACTION FOR FRANCE
13. INDUSTRIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL PRIORITIES FOR 2025
14. THE STRATEGIC USE OF OUTER SPACE
15. THE DEFENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
16. NATIONAL SECURITY : A NEW ORGANISATION

BACKGROUND AND PROCESS

In 1994, after the end of the division of Europe during the Cold War, France undertook a reappraisal of its strategy and force structure. This prepared the decision in 1996 to move to all-professional armed forces, to dismantle its surface-to-surface nuclear missiles and to build up a substantial force projection capability, in keeping with the new strategic situation. Some fifteen years later, the world has radically changed. The post-Cold War era is over. Globalisation now structures international relations. A new appraisal was in order.

In August 2007, the French President set up a Commission entrusted with the crafting of a White Paper on Defence and National Security. The Commission was given full latitude to fulfill its task, without any taboos. The composition of the
Commission reflected this freedom of spirit : in addition to the representatives of the relevant government agencies and of the armed forces, parliamentarians and qualified individuals from academia and strategic think-tanks were actively involved in the work of the Commission along with independent experts and personalities with an industrial background. In a break with past practice, the Commission proceeded with far-ranging publicly televised and on-line hearings of some 52 personalities, from 14 countries and 5 continents. Numerous closed-door consultations were also held.

Members of the Commission proceeded with more than twenty in-depth field visits in defence and national security units and facilities. The Commission’s website received more than 250 000 individual visits, bearing witness of the public interest in defence and security affairs ; the corresponding on-line forum provided the Commission with useful input. Exchanges with trusted foreign partner-states and with the European Union and Atlantic Alliance were part and parcel of this unprecedentedly comprehensive and open process.

At the outcome of this process, the White Paper substantially redefines French strategy in a 15-year perspective, embracing both defence and national security. It includes foreign security and domestic security, military means and civilian tools. It responds to risks emanating from either states or non-state actors. In an all-hazards approach, it deals with active, deliberate threats but also with the security implications of major disasters and catastrophes of a non-intentional nature. The definition of a comprehensive security strategy is a consequence of the challenges of our times, faced by France together with its allies and partners : the fundamental changes of the age of globalisation are reflected in an in-depth, wideranging strategic adaptation. As was the case for its predecessors of 1972 and 1994, this White Paper will serve as the foundation for downstream multi-year planning and spending decisions. In the autumn of 2008, the draft Defence and Internal Security Multiyear Programme Bills will both be put to Parliament, incorporating the White Paper’s findings.



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