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France, Spain and Conventional Defence

  • Stephen J. Flanagan
Part of the Studies in International Security book series (SIS)

Abstract

Among the most significant developments in the European security situation during the past few years are the shifts in French military organization and plans and the expanding Franco-German defence dialogue. The Mitterrand government has reorganized the Armée de Terre, improving somewhat its capabilities for involvement in the ‘forward battle’, and has taken a number of other steps that could facilitate a more coordinated French role in NATO military plans. The growing military relationship between Paris and Bonn has become a major factor and a potential driving force for European defence cooperation. Germany and the other NATO Allies are well aware they are unlikely to obtain an unequivocal assurance of active French participation in the forward battle, extension of its nuclear umbrella, or of Allied access to the critical logistical infrastructure on French territory. However, France has taken a number of steps to improve its capabilities to come to the aid of its NATO partners quickly if it so chooses. Despite the undernourished state of its conventional forces (as a consequence of the primacy of nuclear weapons in French strategy), the intervention of these forces, coupled with access to logistical assets on its territory, could improve NATO’s conventional defences considerably. Indeed, as Robert Komer has argued, ‘whether NATO can achieve a credible nonnuclear initial defense posture in the crucial Center Region may well depend on the key role played by France’.1

Keywords

Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force French Territory Conventional Force European Defence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© International Institute for Strategic Studies 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Flanagan

There are no affiliations available

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