Military of France

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The French Armed Forces encompass the French Army, the French Navy, the French Air Force and the National Gendarmerie. The President of the Republic heads the armed forces, with the title of "chef des armées" - "chief of the military forces". The President is the supreme authority for military matters and is the sole official who can order a nuclear strike. The French military has, as some of its primary objectives, the defence of national territory, the protection of French interests abroad, and the maintenance of global stability.

The French Armed Forces employ 220,650 regular troops and 33,350 part-time reservists,[4][5][6] (Total 254,000 troops). As such the French Armed Forces constitutes the largest military in the European Union in terms of man-power and the third largest in NATO. In addition the French Armed Forces have 419,000 Reserves,[7] and 101,666 law enforcement Gendarmerie.[8]

As of 2009, the French Armed Forces have the third highest expenditure of any military in the world, as well as the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, behind only the United States and Russia.


International stance

French military doctrine is based on the concepts of national independence, nuclear deterrence (see Force de frappe), and military self-sufficiency. France is a charter member of NATO, and has worked actively with its allies to adapt NATO — internally and externally — to the post-Cold War environment. In December 1995, France announced that it would increase its participation in NATO's military wing, including the Military Committee (France withdrew from NATO's military bodies in 1966 whilst remaining full participants in the Organisation's political Councils). France remains a firm supporter of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other cooperative efforts. Paris hosted the May 1997 NATO-Russia Summit which sought the signing of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security.

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