French Armed Forces in Numbers
French Armed Forces in
Source: Embassy of France in the United States, Washington D.C., July 8,
Defense Budget : 32.4 billion euros (+4.3% from 2003 to 2004, +7.5% from 2002
number of personnel working for the defense department is 438,000, of which
356,000 are military, all professional and 82,000 civilians. The Army comprises
38 percent (132,000 active military), the Navy - 12 percent (42,500 active
military), the Air Force - 16 percent (64,000 active military), the Gendarmerie
- 23 percent, and joint services -11 percent.
about 34.000 troops are deployed overseas out of which 11.000 are
participating in peace-keeping operations :
- in Ivory
- in Kosovo
2,650 (14% of KFOR),
Afghanistan 1,500 (9% of ISAF) including the contributions to the training of
the new Afghan army, and those to Enduring Freedom on the ground (special
forces), at sea (3 frigates, 1 tanker and 1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft) or in the
air (2 transport aircraft)
Bosnia-Herzegovina 550 (11% of SFOR)
military and police observers, staff or support personnel in various
multinational peace operations (200 within UNOCI in Ivory Coast, 200 (10% UNIFIL)
in Lebanon UNMIK in Kosovo, MINURSO in the Western Sahara, MFO in the Sinai,
UNTSO in Israel, MONUC in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNOMIG in Georgia,
UNMIL in Liberia, UNMEE at the boarder between Eritrea and Ethiopia, ONUB in
Burundi, EUMM and EUPM in Bosnia Herzegovina and EUPOL in the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia),
- in Africa,
1,000 troops in Chad and 200 in the Central African Republic contribute, at the
invitation of both governments, to the stability of these countries and to the
training of their armed forces for peace-keeping operations.
2) At the end of the summer, France will have commanding
officers in three NATO operations
recently terminated its contribution to the multinational interim force in Haiti
(870 military : 24% of MIFH) and taking the command of three NATO operations,
France is going to increase its deployments in the coming months.
the EUROCORPS, at that time under the command of a French officer, Lieutenant
General Py, will assume the command of ISAF. Concurrently, the Franco-German
brigade will take charge of the multinational brigade-Kabul. The French
contribution to ISAF will then amount to about 1,000, making France the second
largest partner of the United States in Afghanistan.
another French general will take command of a second major NATO operation, KFOR
in Kosovo. Additionally, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the SFOR reorganization will
compel France to assign a colonel at the head of one of the three multinational
Task Forces. In the Balkans, France is the third largest contributor to NATO
operations after Germany and Italy.
3) With 34,000 troops overseas, France is a major US
partner in advancing security throughout the world
In the wake
of the 9/11 tragedy, France offered its military resources and capabilities to
support the American-led military campaign in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring
Freedom). Immediately, the exchanges of information between our naval commanders
increased, particularly in the Indian Ocean, thus intensifying the fight against
all types of trafficking.
French Navy continues to patrol the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. It has
been monitoring commercial sea-lanes, detecting and boarding suspicious vessels
as well as escorting coalition boats through the area since December 2001.
France is the second largest contributor to the maritime task force in charge of
this mission. This TF is commanded, for the second time by a French admiral on
behalf of EUROMARFOR, a European grouping of naval forces.
broader aspect of international security, France is also working closely with
the US military on controlling proliferation and drug trafficking. The French
armed forces in the Caribbean are closely coordinating with the US Joint Inter
Agency Task Force South to counter drug trafficking. The 7000 French troops in
the French Caribbean and Guyana have a major role in this matter. They also made
up the bulk of the French contribution to the multinational interim force in
proliferation, following President Bush’s initiative, France became a full
partner of the Proliferation Security Initiative, offering intellectual
contributions such as an exercise on the air control aspect, as well as
contributions to, and organization of naval exercises. The French Navy also led
a PSI exercise code named Basilic, in Toulon last year.
forces present in the Pacific region and the Southern Indian Ocean (10,000) are
controlling sea lanes of communications and important areas for the preservation
of natural wealth. They are also able to assist countries of the region facing
conflicts or natural disasters such as the East Timor crisis or typhoons in
Over the past
years, France has also been and is still involved in operations in Africa, hence
contributing to the international security and stability. Last summer, France
had been, at the request of the UN secretary general, the lead nation under the
European Union flag, for a peace making operation in the Democratic Republic of
Congo. Today, under the UN mandate given by resolution 1464, we continue to
deploy 4,500 military, alongside a UN force, in Ivory Coast, at the request of
the parties, to help bring trust between them and implement the long-term
political settlement. At the start of the conflict, the French forces evacuated
civilians of different nationalities, among them a large number of American
citizens. We conducted the same type of non combatant evacuation operation in
Liberia, saving other American lives a few months latter, in close coordination
with American forces.
additional French troops are stationed in various African countries (Djibouti,
Gabon and Senegal) under bilateral agreements. Through their presence and their
training programs, they contribute to peace and security on the continent.
the French Armed Forces are heavily engaged in homeland France in security
missions. The totality of the Gendarmerie (100,000), with the very small
exceptions of participations in international peace operations, participates in
that effort alongside its policing role. Moreover, 1,250 personnel from the
Army, the Navy and the Air Force are involved in securing major public
facilities, the maritime approaches and the national airspace.
4) French contribution in Afghanistan
21, 2001, French reconnaissance aircraft and air tankers have contributed to the
air campaign over Afghanistan. They were reinforced from the winter of 2001 to
the summer of 2002, by French naval aviation forces and French Air Force
transport planes and fighters. France was indeed the only country, along with
the United States, to have flown bombing missions over Afghanistan, in direct
support of American ground troops, in particular during operation Anaconda. From
October 23, 2001, to September 30, 2002, a total of 12,000 flying hours were
conducted in support of operations in Afghanistan by the French Mirage IV
reconnaissance aircraft, the C135 tankers, the C160 and C130 transports, the E2C
and Super Etendard from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, and the Mirage
2000D strike aircraft. The Mirage 2000D and Super Etendard destroyed 33 targets
linked to Al Qaeda or the Talibans in direct support of American Special Forces.
Today, 130 military are based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, helping to operate the
airport and supporting 2 transport aircraft engaged in the support of the French
contingent in Afghanistan.
arrived early on the ground. From December 2, 2001 to January 27, 2002, a
reinforced company secured in Mazar-e-Sharif the detachment of US engineers
repairing the airfield in order to fly in humanitarian assistance. In total,
some 5,500 French soldiers were sent to the region. Today, 200 special troops
are involved alongside American troops in the fight against the remnants of the
Talibans in Southern Afghanistan.
is still largely involved in Afghanistan. Now, 540 French troops are deployed in
Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force, whose duty
is to maintain security at the Kabul airport and its surroundings. And France is
also playing a significant role in training the new Afghan army, alongside the
US and the United Kingdom, having organized three battalions of 500 men and
being presently involved in the training of all Afghan officers.
With the Navy
contribution to OEF, a total of 1,470 French troops are involved in the
stabilization of Afghanistan. They will amount to 1,820 with the arrival of
Eurocorps in Kabul during the summer.