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September 2016

Rebuilding France’s
National Security

<p><strong>Rebuilding France’s<br />
National Security</strong></p>
Nicolas Baverez
Senior Fellow - Defense

Nicolas Baverez est avocat à la Cour d’appel de Paris. Il a notamment présidé le groupe de travail Refonder la sécurité nationale. Il est également l'auteur de la note Sécurité nationale : quels moyens pour quelles priorités ?.

Il est éditorialiste au Figaro, au Point et est l’auteur de plusieurs livres. Il est également membre du Comité de direction de la revue Commentaire.

Nicolas Baverez est diplômé de Sciences Po, titulaire d'un doctorat en Histoire et ancien élève de l'Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA).

The year 2015 has left a mark in French history. After being hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, the country has been caught up in war on its own soil. This war is based on new logics that ignore borders and worry civil society. Facing these shocks and disruptions, France and Europe have both turned out to be insufficiently prepared and lacking the power to protect their territory and population.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, national security had lost its strategic stake for Europeans, as evidenced by the continuously decreasing resources and budgets allocated to it. Today, security has brutally been brought back to the forefront: whilst it used to be peripheral and marginal, it has become central and essential.

At the eve of the 2017 presidential debate, the risk is real of seeing questions relative to defence and security eclipsed or manipulated. France’s rearmament seems vital and must be supported by a budgetary effort in accordance with national security. Nonetheless, this investment cannot be made in the context of the current state of mind. It must be accompanied by a redefined concept of allocation of armed forces,especially on the national territory, by new operational contracts adapted to contemporary threats, but also an improved structuring between the armies and other forces in charge of internal security – be them public or private, civil or military.

The spirit of defence must be reinvented as well, so that all citizens and civil society at large, beginning with firms, get involved and start reinvesting in security. This mobilisation is essential to strengthen the resilience of French society to shocks and strategic surprises.

France and Europe do not have any other choice but to adapt in order to face risks efficiently, and to guarantee both the safety of the population and the sovereignty of their territory. Reinvesting in security means being able to rebuild it. Which strategy should be adapted to face the risks of the 21stcentury? How do we reconstitute the potential of security forces? How do we coordinate in the most efficient ways public action, national intelligence and the armed forces? In its attempt to answer these questions, Institut Montaigne expresses proposals in favour of the establishment of a renewed national security strategy. 

Proposals from Institut Montaigne

Proposal n°1: Setting up a National Security Council (CSN) to the French Presidency
This institutional body would prepare decisions made by the President, by gathering policy-makers and meeting external experts. Its aim would be to ensure the emergence of strategic thinking and to oversee the coordination between internal and external security.

Proposal n°2: Formalising a national security doctrine,
which would ensure a new consistency of defence and internal security, and allow for the definition of an intervention doctrine (based on the modalities from means to exit crises to expected consequences).

Proposal n°3: Creating a Permanent Centre for Internal
Security Operations (CPOSI) under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior The CPOSI’s mission would be to process the national crisis inventory. In order to do so, its composition would have to be flexible in order to include experts external to the administration. It would be activated permanently to handle emergencies and to implement the long term strategy defined by the CSN. The structure would encourage a thorough review of feedbacks, develop functions of anticipation functions, foster the prevention of crises, analyse postcrisis measures and suggest solutions able to strengthen the nation’s resilience.

Proposal n°4: Reorganising internal intelligence
Regrouping the following structures within single internal intelligence departments:

  • The General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) and the Services for Territorial Intelligence (SRT) would be merged into one Central Directorate for Internal and Territorial Intelligence (DCRIT).
  • The Sub-Directorate for Operational Anticipation (SDAO, attached to the police force) and the Penitentiary Administration Intelligence Board would be under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior.

Creating practical bonds between the Ministry of the Interior and the General Directorate for Intelligence and Customs Enquiries (DNRED, attached to the Ministry of Finance).

At the central level, a dedicated coordinator within the CPOSI (Cf. proposal n°3), would ensure the link between all territorial feedbacks and the coordination of internal intelligence services.

Proposal n°5: Unifying intervention forces (GIGN, RAID, BRI) within one Special Intervention Force, competent over the entire national territory.
This force would be under the authority of a General Directorate for Operations, attached to the CPOSI of the Ministry of the Interior.

Proposal n°6: Creating an anti-terrorist Public
Prosecutor’s department provided with representatives throughout the national territory

Proposal n°7: Reinforcing military reserves

  • Reserves and territorial networks: using reserves as a secondary force for security.
  • Mobilisation of companies: without creating constraints, encouraging firms that would financially be able to, to take part in the nation’s effort.
  • Valorisation of reservists’ duty time: the time and investments dedicated by reservists to duty could be compensated by a number of retirement days equivalent to the duty time performed. Their serving could also be considered as legitimate training time credit (Compte Personnel de Formation) and professional experience (Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience) that could be valued by an employer, via a skills passport whose inspiration would be based on the British model.
  • Youth, army and reserve: creating bonds between the army and youth, as early as primary school and throughout university and grandes écoles.

Proposal n°8: Refocusing the General Administration for Defence and National Security (SGDSN) on ensuring the consistency of resources contributing to security on the national territory

  • Ensuring the consistency between resources and the evolution of both society and threats.
  • Ensuring the consistency of all resources allocated to the security of the national territory: establishing a clear employment doctrine for all different forces participating in territorial security in order to guarantee the equality of citizens before the law.

Proposal n°9: Adopting a law relative to the orientation and programming of national security.
It would approve a budget of national security spending that would amount to 3% of French GDP by 2025 (2% would be dedicated to defence; 1% to internal security). This law would also include elements of programming for justice, especially regarding the organisation and functioning of courts as well as the necessary building of new detention and de-radicalization centres.

Proposal n°10: Rethinking the European Union through the creation of a Union for Security.
Its priority missions would befighting terrorism, protecting infrastructures and controlling the EU’s external borders, by setting up a specific surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea and a coordinated policy of development regarding Africa and the Middle East. This new ambition and strategy would have to be proposed in a White Paper on European defence and security.

Proposal n°11: Within the framework of the Union for Security, there is a need to turn Frontex into the Union’s external borders police, provided with appropriate legal tools and constant troops. Its priority would be to control the Union’s external borders.

Proposal n°12: Consolidating and developing the European defence industry, through strengthened cooperation between Member States and their reaffirmed commitment through a Buy European Act.

<p><strong>Rebuilding France’s<br />
National Security</strong></p>
(2 pages)
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