French military doctrine is based on the concepts of national independence, nuclear deterrence, and military sufficiency. France is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and has worked actively with 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 (the French withdrew from NATO's military bodies in 1966 while remaining full participants in the alliance's political councils). France remains a firm supporter of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other efforts at cooperation. Paris hosted the May 1997 NATO-Russia Summit for the signing of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security.
Outside of NATO, France has actively and heavily participated in recent peacekeeping/coalition efforts in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, often taking the lead in these operations. France has undertaken a major restructuring to develop a professional military which will be smaller, more rapidly deployable and better tailored for operations outside of mainland France. Key elements of the restructuring include reducing personnel, bases, and headquarters and rationalizing equipment and the armament industry. French active-duty military at the beginning of 2001 numbered approximately 446,000, of which nearly 35,000 were assigned outside of metropolitan France.
France places a high priority on arms control and non-proliferation. It supported the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. After conducting a final series of six nuclear tests, the French signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996. France has implemented a moratorium on the production, export, and use of anti-personnel landmines and supports negotiations leading toward a universal ban. The French are key players in the adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe to the new strategic environment.
France is an active participant in the major supplier regimes designed to restrict transfer of technologies that could lead to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group (for chemical and biological weapons), and the Missile Technology Control Regime. France has signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Military branches: Army (includes Marines), Navy (includes Naval Air), Air Force (includes Air Defense), National Gendarmerie
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 14,619,317 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 12,167,421 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 402,987 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $39.831 billion (FY97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.5% (FY97)