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Analysis: promise kept for the French 2020 defense budget

Presented Friday, September 27, in the Council of Ministers by Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, the 2020 budget for the Armies foresees an increase of the resources of € 1.7 billion, to reach € 37.5 billion. Modernization of major equipment, creation of posts, innovation: overview of the main lines of the Army budget for next year.

Analysis promise kept for the French 2020 defense budget
Nexter Caesar 155mm self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Army Recognition)

€ 37.5 billion: this is the amount of the budget of the Ministry of the Armed Forces for the year 2020. The credits granted for the modernization of the capacities of the armed forces make it the second budget item of the State, behind the National Education. The defense effort in 2020 will represent 1.86% of GDP.

A budget up 4.5%
The defense budget will benefit from 1.7 billion Euros of new resources in 2020, in line with the trajectory of the 2019-2025 military programming law. In the last three years, the budget of the Ministry of the Armed Forces will have benefited from € 10 billion of cumulative additional expenditure. In 2019, the budget had already increased by € 1.7 billion. With a growing budget for the third year in a row, the commitments are therefore kept. Defense resources are expected to grow at the same pace by 2022.

A soldier better equipped, better protected
The defense effort on equipment should reach € 20.9 billion. Starting next year, all fighters deployed in theaters will be equipped with F3 uniforms and helmets and a new generation of bulletproof vests, an outfit adapted to current threats and needs. 12,000 additional HK 416F assault rifles will replace the Famas.

The renewal of operational capacities
The additional effort will result in investments of € 6.8 billion in the modernization of major equipment programs. The first new-generation Barracuda attack submarine, two refurbished Atlantic ATL2 surveillance aircraft and two Airbus A400Ms will be delivered to French armies during 2020. 128 new Griffons, 4 first Jaguars and 2 refurbished Mirage 2000Ds will complete the expected deliveries.

More sincere financing of operations
In 2020, the provision for external operations and domestic missions will reach its normalized level of € 1.1 billion (compared to € 450 million in 2017). It was to approach, without necessarily achieving, the level of the additional costs noted over the recent period, ie € 1.2 to 1.4 billion. With these pre-identified resources, it will facilitate the financing of France's commitments.

The renovation of infrastructures
In 2020, amenities related to the reception of multi-mission frigates will be carried out in Brest. The Army will undertake work to prepare the arrival of the new armored Scorpion. Next year, 300 such machines will enter service. The Istres air base 125 will be preparing for the realization of the infrastructures for the Airbus A330 MRTT Phoenix (Multi-Role Tanker Transport).

Budget priorities
A new conflictual environment, space will benefit from € 448 million, in particular to renew the satellite capacities. € 336 million will be invested in the field of intelligence. Another major axis: cyber (1.6 billion). 93 new cyber-fighters will join the institution next year. In 2020, the nuclear deterrence budget is increased to € 4.7 billion to renew the oceanic and airborne components.

Building a Europe of Defense
The European Intervention Initiative (IEI), which currently includes 13 countries, is a potential force of 26,000 military personnel engaged in foreign operations. In the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation, 8 out of 34 projects are coordinated by France, such as the renovation of the Tigre helicopter deployed in the Sahel. A figure that reflects the importance of France in the European system.

Developing innovation
€ 5.5 billion will be spent on research and development. The upstream studies dedicated to the work of young researchers and short-cycle innovation will experience a growth of 8.3% in 2020 compared to 2019, with a dedicated envelope of € 821 million. Among the major novelties, the creation of a coordination cell of the artificial intelligence of Defense (CCIAD). In terms of energy, 2020 will see the implementation of the "Place au Soleil" Plan and the conclusions of the working committee dedicated to energy.

Personnel for the protection of the French population
A force of 10,000 soldiers ensures the protection of citizens on the national territory (Plan Vigie Pirate). 7,000 of them are permanently available and 3,000 are attached to the strategic reserve. In addition, there is a pool of 40,000 operational reservists. The MPA provides 1,500 new jobs over the 2019-2022 period. 450 have been created in 2019, 300 will be created in 2020.


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