STUTTGART, Germany — Seven months after declaring the launch of a new “war economy” in France, President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled plans to spend hundreds of billions of euros on defense investments that will “transform” the military over the next decade.
The nation’s next six-year military programming law – known in French as the “loi de programmation militaire,” or LPM – will shape the nation’s defense spending between 2024-2030. Drawing on current geopolitical circumstances and technological developments, Macron will request a €400 billion ($433.4 billion) investment for the 2024-2030 LPM, he announced in a Friday speech at the nation’s Mont-de-Marsan Air Base in southwestern France.
If enacted, that sum would reflect a 35% increase over the current 2019-2025 LPM of €295 billion, and could cover a total of €413 billion military needs, he claimed.
The current 2019-2025 LPM’s directive was simple: to “repair our armies,” Macron said. While that effort has progressed and is ongoing, the next LPM will empower France to “transform” its services to more quickly respond to global threats to its territories, he added.
With the proposed funds, France will strengthen and modernize its deterrence, and “massively” boost its intelligence capabilities by at least 60%, including doubling the budgets of the nation’s two main intel and security organizations, Macron asserted. Increased surveillance, particularly via unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is also a priority, along with doubling the capacity to counter cyber attacks.
Macron also spoke of “hardening” the military’s current capabilities under the proposed plan, including transitioning France’s Air Force to a 100% Rafale fighter fleet, away from the current mix of Rafales and Mirage 2000s, both built by Dassault Aviation. He did not elaborate on how that transition might occur.
Other priorities include reinforcing the prowess and protection of France’s frigates, the ongoing modernization of its terrestrial systems, and buttressing its air defense and anti-submarine warfare capabilities. He confirmed that France’s next aircraft carrier – known as PANG for porte-avion nouvelle generation – will be built under this budget, and called for the development of new long-range guided munitions, with a twofold funding increase to do so.
Macron also cited the need for France to invest in quantum technologies, and to more seamlessly integrate drone and artificial intelligence capabilities into its services. He reinforced the need for France to invest in undersea technologies that can reach depths of 6,000 meters, and announced plans to soon unveil a new “overseas strategy” that would support the nation’s overseas territories, calling the Indo-Pacific region the primary potential theater for future conflict.
In his Friday speech, the president also issued a call to France’s defense industry to increase their efficiency and availability in producing new capabilities. Production cycles need to be shortened, and costs must be better controlled, he noted.
Despite the considerable increase in funding over the previous law, the 2024-2030 LPM contains “no luxuries, no pleasures, no comforts,” Macron claimed. “There is only what is necessary.”
The proposal will be sent in the near future to France’s parliament, he said, ahead of congressional debates expected in March, and a vote by summer 2023.
Vivienne Machi is a reporter based in Stuttgart, Germany, contributing to Defense News' European coverage. She previously reported for National Defense Magazine, Defense Daily, Via Satellite, Foreign Policy and the Dayton Daily News. She was named the Defence Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2020.