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Defense Budget Crisis May Leave Lasting Marks on France’s Military

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A serious crisis played out during the past month over the future of France’s defense budget, pitting the pared-down and overstretched Defense Ministry against the cost-cutters of the Budget Ministry. Though the Defense Ministry has been spared for now, the fallout may leave lasting marks on the French military leadership’s morale, and on the country’s reputation as a European defense leader.

In the first 18 months of Francois Hollande’s presidency, France underwent a full defense review. The financial crisis and geopolitical changes, it was believed, warranted a revision of the country’s 2008 Defense White Paper. Moreover, a new Military Program Law (MPL), or multiyear defense plan, had to be drafted, since the previous one was valid only until 2014. ...

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