In France, even more than in other countries, the formulation of policy and the technical development of weapons are closely intertwined in the nuclear decision-making process. The fundamental political orientations on military strategy and the ultimate decisions concerning nuclear weapons are taken by the President and a handful of advisers. Such decisions are, however, neither original nor made in a vacuum. They are influenced by the prevailing ideological climate and political circumstances as well as by the available technical options — and shaped by professional élites and by history. What is interesting, therefore, is the process which creates the options presented to the decisionmakers — a process shrouded in secrecy and in which there is in France little or no public debate.
KeywordsNuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Nuclear Fuel Cycle Weapon System Defence Policy
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