What is the record of Emmanuel Macron's five-year term in terms of Defense?

With a new increase of € 1,7 billion in the Army budget for the year 2022, bringing it to € 40,9 billion, i.e. almost € 9 billion increase since 2017, the government and the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly , confirm stricto-senso compliance with the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law, and the promises made by Emmanuel Macron during the previous presidential campaign. This increase, largely directed towards modernization needs in terms of equipment, will make it possible in 2022 to order nearly 400 new Griffon, Serval and Jaguar armored vehicles from the Scorpion program, as well as 12.000 HK416 assault rifles, and start the modernization of 50 Leclerc tanks. At the same time, the armies will receive 245 armored vehicles, 8 NH90 helicopters, the Alsace anti-aircraft defense frigate, the Duguay-Trouin nuclear attack submarine, as well as 3 A330 MRTT Phoenix refueling planes, 2 A400Ms as well as 4 modernized Maritime Atlantique 2 patrol aircraft.

Finally, 3 observation and communication satellites will be put into orbit, while all the major programs announced in recent years, such as the 3rd generation nuclear submarine launcher, the Fleet Supply Buildings, the High Seas Patrollers, the new generation nuclear aircraft carrier, the FCAS combat aircraft program or even the Euromale drone, will be financed in accordance with needs. However, we cannot summarize the record of Emmanuel Macron's five-year term in terms of defense to this sole respect for the Military Programming Law. And if important advances, sometimes vital for the armies, have been made, can we say that this five-year term has been a success in this area, for France, as for its president?

A catastrophic start to the mandate

As everyone still remembers, it would have been difficult to make a more catastrophic entry than this beginning of the mandate in the field of Defense, with the thunderous departure of a very high profile Chief of Staff, and the hasty resignation of the Minister of the Armed Forces Sylvie Goulard barely a month after being appointed, against the backdrop of fictitious Modem jobs in the European Parliament. The cast of replacements for these two key positions also gave rise to concerns, with General François Lecointre, a war hero but lacking visibility because he had not gone through a traditional position of Chief of Staff of the Army as he is. customary to do so, and Florence Parly, who had no experience of Defense issues when she took up her post. In the summer of 2017, therefore, there were many concerns, especially in the industrial defense sphere and within the armies, after the two five-year terms of Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, who had both severely tested them, and all the more so. that the 2017 Army budget was cut off from part of the increases planned for the financing of Opex, a crisis at the origin of the resignation of General Pierre de Villiers.

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Without ever trying to put herself in the foreground, Florence Parly managed, despite the forecasts, to put her page on the Ministry of the Armed Forces, and to manage it effectively for almost the entire five-year term.

To regain control, the President of the Republic, assisted by his new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and his Minister of the Armed Forces in the learning phase, launched the drafting of a strategic review in order to steer the orientations of the new Military Programming Law which he intended to make the pillar of his defense policy over the five-year term. But then again, worries arose, since a strict two-dimensional framework had been imposed by the new president for this exercise: respect for the format of the armed forces decreed by the White Paper of 2013, and an increase in the budgetary resources of the armed forces limited to € 1,7 billion per year for 4 years, then to € 3 billion per year for the following two years, ie beyond the five-year term itself. In fact, this restricted Strategic Review and the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law which resulted from it, and whose strategic conclusions had been defined before having been drafted, focused on one mission and only one, repairing the damage caused by the chronic underfunding of the armed forces over the past 10 years, and attempting to meet the most immediate needs. As General Lecointre perfectly summed it up, this was a “repair” LPM.

A Programming Law to save the Armies

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