France Military - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Army (Armee de Terre; includes Foreign Legion), Navy (Marine Nationale), Air and Space Force (Armee de l’Air et de l’Espace); includes Air Defense), National Guard (Reserves), National Gendarmerie (paramilitary police force that is a branch of the Armed Forces but under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior; also has additional duties to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice) (2021)

Military expenditures

2.04% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.83% of GDP (2019)

1.81% of GDP (2018)

1.78% of GDP (2017)

1.79% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 57

Military and security service personnel strengths

the French military has approximately 205,000 active duty troops (115,000 Army; 35,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force; 15,000 other, such as joint staffs, medical service, etc.); approximately 100,000 National Gendarmerie; approximately 75,000 National Guard (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the French military's inventory consists almost entirely of domestically-produced weapons systems, including some jointly-produced with other European countries; there is a limited mix of armaments from other Western countries, particularly the US; since 2010, the US is the leading foreign supplier of military hardware to France; France has a defense industry capable of manufacturing the full spectrum of air, land, and naval military weapons systems (2020)

Military deployments

5,100 Burkina Faso/Chad/Mali/Niger (Operation Barkhane, Task Force Takuba; note - in July 2021, France announced that it would withdraw about 2,000 personnel from this force by the beginning of 2022); approximately 300 Central African Republic; 900 Cote D'Ivoire; 1,400 Djibouti; 300 Baltics (NATO); 2,000 French Guyana; 900 French Polynesia; 1,000 French West Indies; 350 Gabon; est. 500 Middle East (Iraq/Jordan/Syria); 950 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 1,400-1,500 New Caledonia; 1,700 Reunion Island; 350 Senegal; 650 United Arab Emirates (2020-2021)

note - France has been a contributing member of the EuroCorps since 1992

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (abolished 2001); 1-year service obligation; women serve in noncombat posts (2019)

Military - note

France was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty), which created NATO in 1949; in 1966, President Charles DE GAULLE decided to withdraw France from NATO’s integrated military structure, reflecting his desire for greater military independence, particularly vis-à-vis the US, and the refusal to integrate France’s nuclear deterrent or accept any form of control over its armed forces; it did, however, sign agreements with NATO setting out procedures in the event of Soviet aggression; beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, France distanced itself from the 1966 decision and has regularly contributed troops to NATO’s military operations, being one of the largest troop-contributing states; in 2009 it officially announced its decision to fully participate in NATO structures

NOTE: The information regarding France on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of France 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about France 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.