Why France is Preparing for War

Why France is Preparing for War

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France’s armed forces are one of the most powerful and combat tested in Europe. But there’s one problem. Two and a half decades ago when they had their last major transformation it shrank their military’s size and budget. This graph shows French defense spending as a percentage of their GDP from 1960 to today going from 5.4% in 1960 to 1.8% in 2019. A similar trend happened throughout most western countries. This made perfect sense at the time the Soviet Union had just collapsed and it seemed the world had never been safer.

To kick start their defense industry back into high gear France’s President Emmanuel Macron recently unveiled a new 6 year defense budget which will now total $450 billion dollars, representing nearly a 40% increase. France is 6th in the world for defense spending by Purchasing power parity and climbing. But you might be surprised to learn the new plan doesn’t call for any major increase in force size, strangely it doesn’t ask for a massive boost in production of new tanks. This has caused a major debate both inside the French defense establishment and outside observers about whether the additional funds are being spent effectively. So what capabilities and weapon systems will French Gen. Pierre Schill actually invest in? And how is French President Macron attempting to position himself as one of the top leaders of European Security?

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