Center for Strategic Decision Research

Paris '07 Workshop

Responding to New Threats: a Long-Term Vision for Developing Armaments Technology and Cooperation Strategies

Mr. Patrick Auroy, French DGA

Mr. Patrick Auroy
Director for Force Systems and Industrial,
Technological, and Cooperation Strategies

Delegation Generale pour l'Armement,
Ministry of Defense of France

Mr. Patrick Auroy, Deputy Director of the French Delegation generale pour armement.

"...All stakeholders must develop federated approaches—security can no longer rely upon the aggregation
of fragmented, dispersed, non-coherent local and specific solutions nor rely upon solutions devised in
a reactive manner and inherited from yesterday’s practices"

Francois Lureau, the French National Armaments Director, would have been very happy to give this address. Unfortunately, he is unable to do so and has asked me to deliver it, focusing mostly on armaments matters related to security issues. To introduce the address, I would like to recall that threats have now become diverse and global. 


First, let me discuss the military threat. I believe we can say that large-scale aggression against a European member-state is currently quite unlikely and that the new threats we face include terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which are more diverse, less visible, and less predictable. The new threats are also global. For example, we now face complex natural risks that can cause cyber damage worldwide as well as major disorders within our societies. Against this backdrop, the line between homeland and foreign security is quite blurred.

Even when threats are at a rather low level, we must keep in mind that they can return to a high-intensity level at any time. To cope with the uncertainty, the answer to threats must be global and coordinated at an international level. The following is the French view, or the French minister of defense’s view, of the way we in the armaments field try to contribute to a global answer to security issues in a way that works at the international level.

The French view is that we will not succeed without a radical change in the way we deal with threats, based on three main ideas:

• Developing a long-term vision of threats and the capabilities we need in the future 

• Acquiring more technology—in the face of multiple threats and a culture of human resources and procedures, we need to adopt a culture of technology and investment 

• All stakeholders must develop federated approaches—security can no longer rely upon the aggregation of fragmented, dispersed, non-coherent local and specific solutions nor rely upon solutions devised in a reactive manner and inherited from yesterday’s practices—we definitely need to improve synergy between defense and security.

Developing a Long-Term Vision

For armaments, a long-term vision is essential for guiding us in solving all the various issues we face going forward. We need a structured process to plan tomorrow’s programs. In order to develop this vision for the security field, we must analyze needs based on a capability approach that is global and targets both defense and security issues. By doing so, we can define in a precise way the minimum capabilities needed for all users and imagine new solutions that are more innovative, more efficient, and also cost-effective.

I am not so sure that we can successfully extend to the security field the tools that we developed in the armaments field. I am thinking, for instance, about what we call Battelle labs or technical-operational labs.  These are virtual or hybrid design platforms that offer the possibility of immersing very diverse and dispersed users in future environments and solutions. Thanks to these tools, we can better understand future capabilities and systems and so obtain better and cheaper designs. In other words, using all available tools, we must establish with all stakeholders a shared and across-the-board long-term vision of the policies and capabilities needed.

Acquiring More Technology

Going deeper into the need for more technology, global security issues lead to new technological challenges; as we enlarge defense research and technology and keep a close synergy with it, we will need to deal with specific research and technology needs. Some of the most demanding technological challenges, for example, include enhanced performance for all the new types of sensors, explosives detection, imagery of hidden objects, automatic speech processing, detection of weak signals for warning purposes, exploitation of data, using robotics, integrating organizational and human factors, and designing complex systems.

All of these challenges require new research initiatives. We must follow a fully transverse approach that involves all stakeholders. We also need to act within a multidisciplinary framework, allowing and developing synergies, combining and guaranteeing cross-consistency, and successfully integrating numerous components. We also need to develop the important core of existing military research and methodology. At present, 15% of research and technology contracted by the French MOD contributes directly to security issues.

Mastering technologies, of course, is essential for developing capabilities in due time but it also ensures the competitiveness of our technology providers and consequently the availability at both the national and European level of such things as space systems, pictography, the Internet, and control of sensitive information of every kind. 

The development of technology should therefore be pursued with the clear objective of developing an autonomous and competitive European industrial and technological base with strong, complete cooperation. Our strategy is based on three points: developing industrial capabilities to guarantee strategic autonomy; rationalizing the European defense and technology industrial base around centers of excellence; and taking part in the implementation of a competitive autonomy policy. We in France aim to combine the best economic efficiency of Ministry of Defense investments with access to the technological and industrial capabilities needed by the armed forces. All of this implies the need for a high technological level in security and defense systems.

Developing a Federated Approach

Regarding the need for a federated approach for all stakeholders, the security dimension has already changed. This breakthrough includes two main trends, the first of which relates to the emergence of standards for security products and practices and the second to the emergence of wide systems that already exist in defense. Both trends can be seen in such areas as surveillance and intervention in the maritime domain; surveillance and integrated management of borders; the overall security of the logistics chain; and major crisis management, communication, and interoperability. The interesting point to note concerning these wide systems is that most of the time they are both civilian and military in nature. Because insuring security is a vast and complex task that involves many actors and components, it is essential to put in place transverse approaches that efficiently link these actors and multiply effectiveness.

So far I have detailed the way we are trying to build a global solution by developing a long-term vision, one that must be sustained by technology and a federated approach. But in a world in which crises are definitely international and in which countries must be able to intervene worldwide to protect their own interests and to contribute to international security, a global solution must be coordinated. Regarding armament matters, France has clearly chosen to cooperatively prepare and procure the military equipment needed for its armed forces except for a small amount of equipment and systems related to sovereignty.


In the next part of my address I am going to focus on two main multilateral frameworks within which France cooperates: NATO and the European Defense Agency. For more than 50 years, NATO has been the framework for collective defense in Europe. Beside being a military alliance, NATO is a necessary framework for defining interoperability requirements. It is also the natural framework for large transatlantic programs based on multinational systems of national systems logic; the recent active layered theater ballistic missile defense program and the promising Magic Demonstrator are good examples of such an approach.  However, from time to time we are quite skeptical about procuring a NATO-owned system whose freedom of use may be limited in non-NATO operations. France supports a NATO network-enabled capability (NEC) approach as a way to improve the interoperability and efficiency of our military systems when used in a coalition environment. 

While transatlantic cooperation, either bilateral, multilateral, or through NATO, contributes to essential capabilities, it is in need of improvement to better balance the two sides of the Atlantic. Of course, the framework in which to improve this balance can no longer be at the national level for Europeans—the European Union must be a leading actor especially regarding security. Because the European Union is a global actor, it has its own global security strategy, which was adopted in December 2003 and has since been developed in full cooperation with the European command security policy. For major security issues, such as border management and data policy, the European Union has become the main framework for ensuring vision, consistency, effectiveness, and synergy for the member-states. 

The European Union is determined to develop at both the council and commission levels the tools, instruments, and programs necessary to assume a major role. The number of European security agencies reflects the dynamism, the market stimulation, and the catalytic effect that the European Union wants to give to this process. To mention just one of the key federative actions that the European Commission took, there is the new European security research program within the seventh framework program that addresses major security missions. Another example is the preparation of pre-operational services for the global Monitoring Earth GMS program, which will be effective in 2008. Of course, I also have to mention the work undertaken to adjust European internal market regulations to take into account defense and more broad security interests. This work will lead to a package of initiatives expected to be released by the end of 2007. As you can see, the European Commission is important in developing the vision and instruments that will partially shape our security, in particular at the capabilities and system level. 

Within this framework, the European Defense Agency must be the source of the impulse, and significant results have been achieved since its creation in July 2004. For example, defense ministers of European Defense Agency member-states approved in November 2005 the voluntary code of conduct on defense procurement, which entered into operation in July 2006.

By creating an internationally competitive European defense equipment market, the agency aims to strengthen the European defense technology industrial base. The code now represents 22 countries, that is to say, almost all European Defense Agency member-states. Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, and Romania will not join, though they may do so later, and Hungary will join on July 1, 2007. 

In terms of business opportunities, the agency represents more than 140 contract opportunities in 14 countries, all published on the agency’s electronic bulletin board. The total value of these contracts is estimated at over 6.5 billion euros and the contracts cover the spectrum of defense procurements: helicopters, missiles, sonar systems for submarines, UAVs, and so on. There is also a best practices code for the supply chain. This code extends competition throughout the supply chain, especially to lower-tier companies and SMEs that might not be able to bid for contracts directly but could act as subcontractors.


I would like to mention the long-term vision report of October 3, 2006. This very interesting document provides shared views on the state of the world in which European security and defense policy operations take place and the kind of capabilities that are needed to conduct those operations successfully. This long-term vision is the basis of an ESDP capability development plan whose principles were agreed to by the ministers at the end of 2006. 

I would also like to mention the joint investment program on force protection. This three-year research and technology program involving almost 55 million euros, which was signed by the 20 members in May 2007, covers 18 specific research and technology goals within five main capability areas and is very much related to our security challenges. As Javier Solana pointed out, clearly the necessary restructuring of the defense and technology industrial base must be assisted by market forces, more competition, and more effective government action.    

In May 2007 European Union defense ministers endorsed the strategy for Europe’s defense technology industrial base. This is a fundamental underpinning of Europe’s security and defense policy with a series of practical steps to take to achieve a European vision of a more integrated and competitive DTIB. The French approach clearly aims to foster the rationalization of European industries as centers of excellence while taking into consideration national industry assets and developing mutual dependencies with European partners. 


Security has today become a major issue. In our changing world, risk can be found anywhere and any time. Ensuring our security will take continuous effort. We face many challenges, including threat identification, future system design, technology, better interoperability, autonomy, and so on.  To meet these challenges, as I tried to share with you, I believe we need to encourage new ways of thinking. We must promote new design methods. We need to federate civilian and military needs for more efficiency. And, of course, we need to strengthen the defense and technology industrial base, not choosing between European defense and NATO defense but including both. There is an obvious need to rely on the impressive military experience of NATO while building a European security and defense policy.

The recent Paris air show celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, so I cannot finish this address without saying a few words about space. Space armament issues are closely linked to security issues. Space offers fast and autonomous global answers. Space control is this century’s challenge and European nations need to face it together.

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