Rapid Fire April 29, 2013: With New Defense Whitepaper, France Dodges Necessary Tradeoffs
- The French government released a much-delayed White Paper [PDF, in French] to refresh France’s defense outlook. What happened since the previous Livre Blanc published in 2008? The global financial crisis and the accelerated degradation of public finances in many Euro countries. Chocked with deficits running all the way back to 1974, France will pursue further defense personnel and armament reductions, without touching its core nuclear deterrence or aspirations to be heard worldwide. The building of a second aircraft carrier is shelved for good, and recent rumors of cutting Rafale purchases to 225 over the life of the program are confirmed by a description of what French forces should look like by 2025. Helicopters, transport aircraft and tanks will also see reduced quantities, while special forces are the rare recipient of additional resources.