The alignment of the planets allowed Florence Parley to restore a very good budget dynamics in favor of the military. In this way, the Minister of the Armed Forces was able to draft a law on military programming (LPM) to compensate for losses, even preparations for the future. It also benefited from a very good window to win many important export contracts for the tricolor defense industry, particularly for the aeronautics sector, which allowed it not to jeopardize LPM’s goals. The new Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastian Lecorne, who was really looking at the Hôtel de Brienne, would he benefit from the same leveling of the planets? The continuation of this beautiful trajectory is aggravated by threats, even if Emmanuel Macron, as the head of the armies, still sends positive signals to the armies.
1 / Confirm the financial trajectory of the LPM
Emmanuel Macron has pledged to follow three steps to three billion euros between 2023 and 2025. This will allow the army budget to reach 50 billion euros according to the LPM for 2019-2025. After 2025, candidate Macron relies on a strategic review rather than a White Paper before identifying a possible new budget. But, as the Accounting Chamber noted, the deterioration of French public finances could force the executive to make a choice. A very clear confirmation of LPM’s ambitions will require complex trade-offs with other government spending so that France can meet its commitment to reduce its deficit to 3% of GDP by 2027. The first important signal for Sebastian Lecorny is that the return of 300 million euros has been cut into the army budget. The so-called reduction “temporary”according to the teams of Florence Parley, who assured that these already frozen budget allocations will be “recovered” during the next amendments to the law on finance, scheduled for July.
The second scenario is the choice of large-scale rebalancing, for example, carried out by the United Kingdom in 2021, in particular, to the detriment of its ground forces. This last scenario will be perceived as the end of the French army model. Or the end of the full army model, even if the capabilities of the army remain extremely “exemplary” in many areas. First of all, France’s ambitions must be revised downwards at a time when the world is getting tougher (Ukraine, the China Sea) and when Germany is investing heavily in its capabilities. It would be a transfer between Paris and Berlin that would take the lead in defense. With the risks that this entails for the sovereignty of France.
2 / Win export contracts
After two exceptional years (2021 and 2022), it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Sebastian Lecorne to become better than Florence Parley. Especially since “Export efficiency has been excellent over the past five years. During this period, the number of orders has reached 65 billion.”, she explained to La Tribune. However, even if the shirt is wet, there are still solid and serious prospects that need to be realized. But the same scale as recently obtained by the French team, including Rafale contracts in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt or FDI frigates in Greece.
However, there are no small contracts, only contracts that support one of the most effective defense industries in Europe. Sebastian Lecorne will even have to fight for Rafale’s contract in Indonesia (42 planes), which, according to consonant sources, is becoming increasingly uncertain, as well as for the victory in the future corvette in Greece due to the legal ban Hellenic Shipyard, owned by billionaire Iskandar. Safa.
3 / Restart the dynamics of cooperation
European cooperation will be one of the main projects of the new Minister of the Armed Forces. For five years, the results were meager. Very skinny. However, France was very voluntary. However, the collaboration launched with Germany by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel at the Franco-German summit in July 2017 yielded much better results: SCAF (Air Combat System of the Future), MGCS (Main Ground Combat Systems or Tank of the Future), MAWS (sea patrol aircraft) ), Eurodrone (European drone MALE) and modernization of the Tiger Mark 3 with a new surface-to-air missile. This also applies to the United Kingdom (cruise missiles) and Italy (naval).
To date, OCCAR has announced only a contract to launch Eurodron. But everyone laughs at this unidentified object, especially in the French armies, which arrives too late and does not interfere. If the ongoing talks on SCAF and MGCS continue, Germany seems to want to abandon MAWS and Tiger Mark 3. A year after the Franco-German council, it has left the missile program in 2018 without hesitation. Air-ground Mast -F for Germanization of the Spike rocket from Deal.
With Britain, France wanted to launch a new generation of cruise missiles to replace SCALP / Storm Shadow and Exocet / Harpoon with FMAN / FMC. But the political context (Brexit, Aukus, fishermen) between France and the UK did not allow this cooperation to continue. She is at a stop. Finally, with Italy, France wanted to form a large alliance in ground buildings with Italy, between the naval group and Fincantieri. The French and Italians were forced to reconsider their ambitions in the direction of reduction and finally set up a joint venture Naviris. “This is a society reduced to achievements”said Florence Parley.
Like the missionary, the new minister will have to resume all this cooperation, first of all, not neglecting to protect the interests of French industrialists from the appetites of their European rivals, who are always ready to improve their skills in areas where they are not the best. Thus, the concept of “Best Athlete” should remain a fundamental principle of cooperation, even if it is already severely undermined.
4 / Victory in the battle of taxonomy
The taxonomy file should be viewed as milk on fire, as it can be deadly to the defense industry. Without funding, it will have to surrender its weapons, and France will buy its defense equipment from the United States or elsewhere with the employment restrictions required by the seller. Despite the war in Ukraine, which is being revived in Europe, the European Commission has not really decided anything. “Can defense be considered a non-viable activity? This is nonsense, because it is about the survival of the nation. “, said recently in La Tribune Florence Parly. She called “constant vigilance”. Because, according to her, “We see that those in power have not given up. This means that the struggle is not over. “.
In addition to future rules, it is the practice of the banking system that is already creating problems for the European defense industry. “What is quite vicious is that we are fighting against both practice and rulesalso indicate in Paris. In the field of finance, there are practices that have been established without mandatory rules. And what is horrible is that now the rules want to enshrine this practice in law. “. As a result, it is not easy for affected industrialists to combat this practice, especially if the draft law is intended to provide a basis for this practice. France’s banking sector is currently divided. But a European taxonomy project, if adopted as it is now, could be a death knell for the defense industry and for France’s armaments sovereignty.
5 / High-intensity war: modernization of armies
Despite the increase in the budget over the past five years, the situation remains dire. The French army reduces the army over time and by exemplary means, even if it still covers almost the entire operational spectrum. There is not enough equipment to sustain a high-intensity war over time. Not enough ammunition. Not enough of everything. “It is true to say that ammunition has been one of the variables of adjustment over the last 25 yearssaid the Minister of the Armed Forces in an interview with La Tribune. Undoubtedly, there is the question of resources, but also the question of the ratio of different types of ammunition. There is also an opportunity for manufacturers to meet our needs. “. In addition, Defense Ministry strategists had to ignore their arbitrations in the 2000s over a high part of the spectrum of high-intensity warfare (heavy tanks, artillery, etc.).
However, this model remains a chance. “WITH“it can definitely be described as”sampleIn the long run, the French bonsai is ready to grow at any time in the direction desired by a political power unique to Europe, and this gives France the opportunity to play a crucial role in coalitions with its allies.praised Jean-Louis Thierry and Patricia Mirales in a recent report on “preparation of our armies and our country for high-intensity war “. Sebastian Lecorne must modernize the French armies so that they are ready to wage a high-intensity war, probably in a coalition. At the same time, invest as much as possible in innovations, which will also be a destructive parameter for winning the war before the war …