This is a new battle that has just ended with the announcement by Hollande of its decisions on the defense budget. They are important in that they challenge the wrong directions of the 2014-2019 military planning law, passed by Parliament in late 2013. For a year and a half, the strategic position of France has not really changed since when the terrorist threat was given due consideration, but a belated realization was held in the Elysee.
The President can not at once, and put no price, putting out fires of Africa, intervene in the Middle East, support sales of French weapons in the world, do not touch nuclear deterrence, to keep abreast of developments from one planet to fire and sword, while giving the impression that French protects terrorism on their own soil. We now know the note: defense will receive EUR 3.8 billion of additional budget appropriations between 2016 and 2019. And 2.2 billion more to await the result of the sale of family jewels longer than expected.
Breastplate and sentinel
Since the attacks of January, two new operations were entrusted to the armies the national soil. The Breastplate operation mobilizes to protect their own barracks, naval and air bases. The three armies participate in due proportion. A new direction, DPID (protection of defense installations Directorate), has also been created to organize these guards of a new type.
But the most costly in manpower (professional and reservists) is Sentinel and its 682 monitored sites. It is based primarily on the army, and that is why it will be the main beneficiary of 18,500 cancellations staffing cuts confirmed by François Hollande, and our readers knew since 13 March.
Breastplate and Sentinel
The head of the army knows better than anyone that the operation would not deter Sentinel motivated attackers or designated by their military targets, already hit repeatedly. However, was it possible not to use the army so that our citizens needed to be reassured? No.
And therefore, the President of the Republic had no choice: put so many men in the street, in the long term – while the law military program did not provide greater mobilization to a month – while maintaining external operations at a high level, involved a strong decision. We had to stop downsize, stop pressing the lemon. The Army will not complain.
The other big news of the day, it’s the end of the expensive project companies to Jean-Yves Le Drian. Perhaps we will be told in the coming days that this initiative was essentially tactical and was intended to place Bercy with its responsibilities. But Francois Hollande, who reiterated that the defense budget was “ringfenced” to 31.4 billion euros, probably would have been well advised not to let the governments of Jean-Marc Ayrault and Manuel Valls wade into this case “exceptional” resources.
Remember that Bercy has always believed that the defense budget is 29 billion euros, a point, that’s all. To cover the difference between that amount and $ 32 billion of which the Defence had deemed necessary, the idea came to affect its 2015 budget 2.2 billion exceptional resources, or REX, the sale of “family silver products “Defense, this time radio frequencies.
But that money will not be waiting for you in time. Freestyle Project project companies, led by Le Drian and supported by Emmanuel Macron, was to sell war material already in the possession of the armed these companies, which would lease the military! Months too late, Francois Hollande has put a powerful brake, if not definitive, these exotic financing by announcing that two billion missing for 2015 would be financed by the budget. It was time!
Workforce reduced less than originally planned, abounded budget, recalled fiscal orthodoxy and kick martial chin Francois Hollande. The armies are thus more favorable with a new device, now ready for the next step planned long: the updating of the military planning law. This project will be presented to Cabinet on May 20 and will remove the many questions that remain.
For, paradoxically, the measures announced by the President of the Republic were certainly essential to avoid very serious short-term problems, but they do not solve the difficulties ahead. To take just one example among others, the likely non-delivery of Mistral to Russia could cost between one and two billion to the Treasury. And armies fear than they have this little bill. Another problem fools delays of the Airbus A400M will force the defense to acquire C130 transport aircraft to the US. With what money?