La réforme des armées en France
Sociologie de la décision
Military Reform in France
Sociology of the decision
In February 1996, French president Jacques Chirac announced the greatest reform of the French army since that of General de Gaulle in 1962. France adopted the model of the career army and ended obligatory military service; the format of the army was profoundly changed, and the terrestrial component of nuclear détente was dismantled.
Who governs defense policy in France? What are the respective roles of the president of the republic, the prime minister, the military hierarchy, the ministry of finance, or parliament? In response to these questions, Bastien Irondelle renews our understanding of French defense policy since the end of the cold war. It analyzes how the military converted to the idea, to the taboo, of an integral professionalism and how defense ministry officials and the military hierarchy were mobilized to achieve this "risk."
Based on 110 interviews with the highest-level political, civil and military officials, the author scrutinizes the decision-making processes concerning the great political orientations of defense, munitions programs (Rafale, the Leclerc, the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carriers), nuclear dissuasion and the elaboration of the defense budget, all to illuminate the importance of presidential leadership.