“With the return of war to European soil, the stakes of the military programming law go beyond its budgetary dimension”

Unot “crazy dough” ? Emmanuel Macron is not used to using such words to talk about the budget of the armies. France will even have to continue its financial efforts if it wants “to have in 2030 the armies of the decade to follow, and not those of the decade preceding”. This is how the President of the Republic set the ambition of the next military programming law (LPM) 2024-2030, on November 9, from the amphibious helicopter carrier Diksmuide moored in the harbor of Toulon. A project he wants to present to Parliament “early next year”.

Mr. Macron refrained from revealing any budgetary trajectory, preferring to boast “the real rearmament of the nation” decided at the start of its first five-year term. The government has honored its commitments and credits (excluding pensions) have increased by 36% since 2017. France is on track to meet the NATO directive, which invites its 30 member countries to devote at least 2% of their GDP to defense. But for the military, this effort is only a partial catch-up, or even the ” repair “ twenty-five years of underinvestment in defence.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers A budget for the French armies of more than 43 billion euros, in the midst of the war in Ukraine

Rearmament is far from complete. The Russian-Ukrainian war, with its tens of thousands of dead, its hundreds of tanks destroyed and its unbridled use of shells and missiles, reminded Europeans of what a real war is, who had forgotten it since 1945. Even before this conflict, the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Thierry Burkhard, underlined France’s unpreparedness for a conflict of “high intensity”, where human and material losses can be rapid and massive. In the unlikely event of an invasion of its territory, France could only mobilize 25,000 men, and its two divisions cover a front of only 83 kilometers indicated Opinion in its edition of October 6. The air forces, with around thirty Rafale, would only last a few days.

Many “capacity holes”

Theoretical scenario, since the forces of the Atlantic Alliance would be mobilized. The bosses of the three armies, interviewed in July at the National Assembly, nevertheless described bluntly many “capacity holes”. General Pierre Schill, Chief of Staff of the Army, called for more surface-to-air missiles, drones, Caesar-type long-range guns, communication systems and crossing equipment. obstacles. Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of the Naval Staff, regretted the halving of the format of naval forces in thirty years and is asking for more large surface ships, such as the FREMM and FDI frigates. Chief of Staff of the Air and Space Force, General Stéphane Mille considers the fleet of fighter planes insufficient to ensure the dual mission of nuclear strategic force and troop support in a conventional conflict.

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