tv French Defense Minister CSPAN October 23, 2017 2:08pm-3:01pm EDT
aimed at sewing divisiveness on charged topics. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> france's defense minister was in washington, dc recently and said that scrapping the iran nuclear agreement would be a gift to iranian hardliners and a first step toward future wars. this cams after president trump's recent announcement to decertify the agreement and continue threats to ultimately pull out of the deal. she spoke for about an hour last week at an event hosted be the center for strategic and international studies. [inaudible discussion]
>> well, good morningment welcome to the center for strategic and international studies. my name is heather conly, i'm senior vice president here at csi, a great privilege of leading our europe research. we are absolutely delighted to be able to public her ex-lens si, parly, minimum for their armed forces of france. she accepted her sports june 21st tv year so four months into the drive, as she arrives here in washington, france has produced its strategic review of defense and national security, document that i certainly encourage all to read because, as one of america's closest military security and foreign policy
partners, this document really articulates the great challenges of our time and france's priorities and how to focus on those. before i welcome the minister to the podium, the minister has had such a distinguished career in public service, serving as a senior being adviser to prime minister -- and also holding very senior positions at air france and france's national state-opened railroad company. the minister knows logistics and brings that skill set to the ministry. before i turn this over to her i want to pause for a moment and reflect over the events of the last few weeks. on october 4th, many americans awoke to in the news that we had u.s. forces in niger that were on a counterterrorism operation in great and strong cooperation
with france and its counterterrorism operations in mali and the sahara. we learn as the tragic death of four green beret soldiers were lost this first aircraft on then scene were french military helicopters. it's a moment to reflect that our greatest allies and partners there are when we need them the much just as much as the french aircraft flew over the skies on the 9/11 terror attacks. this is why this conversation is so important and so important that minister parly is here to help us understand france's national securely priorities. on this beautiful fall day, please join me in welcoming minister parly. [applause]
>> thank you very much for the -- for hosting me today and sorry for my voice, which is not completely back, but that's better than yesterday. and your institution is one of the most highly regarded in a city that has many. i'm well aware that for the past six years, csis has been named the world's number one think tank for international security by the go-to think tank index. i should also add, as a statement of interest, that we have a fantastic cooperation with you. with french diplomats and
temporary fell lows at csisy and this cross-fertilization between the administration and academia, which is not -- is immense value. so, in a word, thank you for being so good. things have a particular relevance today. just said. when i look at the word today, i see the middle east on fire. widespread terror. refugee crisis, tensions in the east, and the occasional nuclear test of ballistic missile. so, i see a lot of tank but not much think. our world is transitioning to unknown place. it's difficult to read, and your
work is more important than ever. now being a practitioner and rather than an analyst, i -- you lengthy production but i would like to say other few words that what i have in mind coming here to d.c. as a new minister for the armed forces of france. first, we have an all-weather friendship with america. we have been friends for a long time. and will remain. yesterday was marking the 236th anniversary over the yorktown victoriment our friendship is one of the heart and of the mind, of the heart because the french will never
forget what america did for us when we were in distress. the mind, because foreign nations like ours, we with democratic values and shared interests in increasingly unstable world, it's necessary to cooperate. commentators may well experiment where france agrees with the current administration on climate, on unesco or the like, but bottom line is, there are a time when our two nations have been closer in military terms. we are side-by-side in the fight against terrorists, from do to
sahara region. i've seen this with my own eyes in iraq, africa and elsewhere. we are also engaged together in all the visible and not so visible reassurance and activities on eastern flank. all this and just that france is a serious, capable, and committed ally. at the core of our partnership is the awareness that france and the united states share both similar security interests and common threats, and that we can best confront them together. this is true today and will be
as true, if not more so, tomorrow. france has indeed the intention to remain a serious and capable ally. under president macron's guidance my ministry is starting an endureing financial -- -- inherit from the past, the strong bilateral alliance we enjoy today, has been maintained into the future, which will require the commitment of our two great nations. i have no doubt that it will be the case, and i will work as much as i can to develop it further. second, i am particularly
honored to be here and to meet secretary mattis. i've talked with him on a few occasions recently, and i have been impressed by his charisma, and his depth of vision. this trip has also been the occasion to meet with general mcmaster, members of the -- members of congress, and to visit institutions of special interest to me, such as darpa and the scu, as i place particular emphasis on innovation in my own ministry. third, it's fascinating to come here as the representative of a new french administration.
administration of new kind that was not seen for a long time in our country. our president is the youngest head of state since napoleon. most of the government comes from civil society rather than from professional politics. gender is balanced, and the president is set to reform the country thoroughly from labor laws to taxation and beyond. he is very strong on defense, and he will increase our budget to -- by 2025. he has a very special interest in foreign affairs with
ambitious plans for the eu, and the power of diplomacy. he places enormous value on the transatlanta -- translettic issues. coming to substance aid like to give a few thoughted on my priorities coming here today them first is, how to defeat terror. we have an excellent cooperation at all levels with the u.s. on this. we have made a tremendous headway recently, raqqa fell this week. but the challenges are mounting, too. in iraq, we need to support the
iraqi government in consolidate ing the victory against isis and moving away from sectarian politics. this will take time but we can see encouraging signs. must also work to de-escalate current tensions with the kurds. in syria, by far one of the most intractable international issues today, there is much to do. we need to eradicate isis from it hideout in the middle river valley. there will come a time when the caliphate is no longer a geographic expression but only an intention to kill. this would not be the end of the
story. in syria, we will still have critical issues to address before considering a redeployment. we should make sure not to leave too much of a mess behind. this means avoiding -- first, a war will the kurds, second, a war involving israel and lebanon, third, an unpunished use of chemical weapons, and, lastly, government that will fuel terror whether from sunni or shia groups. finally, it sounds simple. actually it's not. and so france is redeploying 4,000 military in high intensity
environment, with tremendous support from the united states, and we are immensely grateful for that support. there have been strong achievements. terror groups are under pressure. but much more needs to be done. it can be and don't want to be the sovereign african countries and must be able to defeat terror on their own. the joint force of the g5 is meant for that. it will start its first operations soon, and it needs definitely support. the u.n. wants to give it
support, and i hope that everyone can become convinced that assistance is necessary, and i would be happy if you all could help us pass the word in the beltway. beyond war, we have an intense cooperation with the u.s. on terror in intelligence. i hope it will be strengthened. one day, perhaps, all the untold stories of this cooperation will be told, and that day you will have reason to be proud. our lives would be dull if there was only terror. fortunately there is also -- two
places come to mind. iran and north korea. on iran, we have noted the president's statement, the leaders of france, germany, and the uk, have reiterated both their ardent recommendation to stick to the agreement, and their willingness to address iran's ballistic missile program and regional activities. we need the dcpoa. cropping up would be a gift to iran -- dropping out would be a gift to iran's hardliners and cause future wars, but we should also be extremely serious about the destabilizing ballistic and
regional activities. we are working on it. the issue is now in congress. france has no desire to be embroiled in u.s. domestic politics, but our positions on the agreement is clear. on north korea, we share u.s. concern with recent developments france has long been european leader on sanctions against the dprk. we were instrumental in passing the latest package oeu measures. more pressure is necessary for any future negotiation to be meaningful. the question, though, is, do sanctions come too late?
and how far is china willing to go? the third thing i have on my mind is how well we cooperate with the u.s. on nato and european security. france is a responsible nato alliance. we fully understand the u.s. insistence in burden sharing and we are on a clear path toward reaching the 2% gdp in the expenses, and believe me, our 2% are not half a quarter percentage. they are a war fighting percentage. although not all of us is in nato, it is all contributes to nato citer, -- nato security, whether in the south, or the
north atlantic, where our navy cooperateds with the u.s. to confront that'ses 'on this we strongly believe that europe must do nor defend themselves. in that spirit, the french president recently decided to launch a european initiative called, europe intervention initiative. weeing chief to at the creation of a permanent corporation and europe defense fund, which i am happen to span on -- happy to expand on it further. i'd like to conclude with a slightly more global outlook if i may. france has just concluded, as you just mentioned, strategic review of her security environment at the request of the french president, and we
face growing security challenges in multiple areas around the world. and this challenge is calling for new thinking how to best assure our security, which is why we launched this strategic review. this assessment will serve as a basis for the multiyear defense programming role that we well establish for the next five years. and what i would like to give you a primer on some of it findings. the only thing i can say is that it's -- the certain risk we identify now are in the 2013
white paper, materialized more forcefully and more synergy ically. you have faced challenges since the end of the cold war. as a result france is exposed and its armed forces are fully committed, if not overstretched. french forces are currently committed on four stages. in response to the -- i was organizations, al qaeda and their affiliates, will leave the military effort to counter terrorism in mali and help stabilize the country, and contribute to the security of the entire regionment we also
participate in the coalition against isis, and french forces are also heavily committed on our national territory, but participating directly in the protect of the homeland and the latest terror attack reminded everyone, in marseille. all that, i think, is well known. on this commitment, the review clearly states that we must remain vigilant in four other regions of concern. the balkans, which are fraternal ill. sub-saharan africa. the mediterranean sea with
security issues such as migration and terrorist activities, considering the return of traditional politics, and the concentration of military assets by nonwestern countries in the eastern sea. finally, asia. for several armses races are taking place, involving in some case nuclear weapons, even though this crucial region doesn't have any credible security architecture. the environment is more unstable and more unpredictable. a worrying ten deputy to challenge -- tendency to challenge and weaken international norms. our environment is sometimes at stake with state and nonstate actors having an increasing
access to advanced military resources, western farm security will be eroded. with expect future operations to be more difficult and more costly. to address a growing up in or common challenges, france must have two objectives. one, to preserve our strategic autonomy, and, second, to help build a stronger europe and stronger alliance. preserving our strategic anonmy will require to -- autonomy will rae require to increase nuclear deterrence and also to devote appropriate efforts in terms of knowledge, anticipation and
intelligence, and to retain a full spectrum and balanced military. in particular, france should -- french forces should be capable of action with respect to nuclear deterrence, the protection of our own territory, and its approaches, as well as for intelligence command and control, special operations. new investment should focus on certain capabilities and elements of red readiness, intelligence and control, i mentioned a second ago. and i also want to point out that retaining certain capabilities such at nuclear
deterrence and a full speck trim military provides legitimacy and credibility that are critical to forge partnerships and uphold stability of a framework nation. with the same rationale, france must remain a major technological power with a solid defense industry and technology base. supporting defense innovation and harnessing innovation from the second at the will be could to improving the military, and it's one of my key priorities as minister for armed forces. however, facing such huge challenges, france cannot do everything alone.
we would like to see european defense strengthened based on the growing number of security interests we share with our european partners. accordingly, we support all ongoing eu and nato tools and initiatives, such that's one mentioned earlier, provided that deliver actual results. all this will require a buildup and the corresponding financial effort i mentioned that we were on a path toward 2% expenses. next year already france will raise its budget over 1.8 billion euros in 2018. i in the this is probably -- i know this is probably less than
the pentagon, but in france, this is a significant 5% increase. and from what i would like to conclude with this. don't underestimate those single digit billions. from what i have seen in the south and in -- when you invest in the french military, you really get bang for your buck. so thank you for your attention. i'm ready for your questions. [applause] >> well, madam minister, we got a lot of bang out of our buck with those wonderful comments. colleagues, i'm totally stealing
the phrase, more tank than think, but we put a lot of think in the think tank, so thank you very much. what we'll do with the time we have is i may pose a few questions and then we have a fantastic audience that i know have some additional questions from the very rich offering you just provided us. i'd like to start with your fire in the middle east. in some ways we're about to be the victim of our success. as the anti-isis coalition -- the victories in iraq, we're now moving towards other places. we have two challenges, as i see them, and would welcome your thoughts. clearly we still have foreign fighters being squeezed but have to go somewhere, and you had expressed some very strong comments a week or two ago about the french citizens that are foreign fighters, that are in syria, how to address that
challenge and at the terrorism and he homeland security part of that mitchell second question is what does syria look like? we'll have an assad regime that controls a portion of syria with russian air support, iranian ground support. is that what we're willing to accept, and president putin's comment about the chemical weapons regime, putting that into question. what is the syria we want after we're successful? >> that is a good question. first of all, i'm a bit sorry because probably my statement that remaining terrorists in syria was a bit too strong and not very diplomatic way but i'm quite willing to -- so sorry for that. i said just what i think.
we are committed -- we have been committed in this area along with the coalition for some years now, and we are fighting terrorists with whatever the best -- and we couldn't care less. the fact that they are french or syrian or whatever, they are terrorists. they are threatening us. they are threatening europe, they are threatening -- so, my statement was just to say, we are conducting everyone and if this fight is successful, that's good news. now, back to your question. probably the most difficult spot, syria. as you said, iraq is professing
the kurds issue is unstablized. but probably if this is the case, iraq will be able to reunify the country. it will take time. in syria, we don't know. the country has been completely destroyed, and the regime is progressing on the west part of syria, and we know that after this military period, there will be a political one and we don't know what will happen. so it's been very clear that we
have nothing to say about bashar al-assad but we are absolutely convinced that this country needs political solutions and this political solution is not available and that's one of the key issues we will discuss with general mattis, because we need to share a common vision about what comes next. what comes information, plus the coalition, and changing its setting what is needed. sorry, i have questions that not answered. >> well, we'll keep working on those '. we appreciate your comments. let me turn to europe a bit. i understand what strategic autonomy anyones in the french
sense, the nuclear deterrent and ability for full spectrum. the european union is using that term now, that term has been adopted in the groel strategy, strategic autonomy. i'm having a hard time understand what strategic autonomy means wind their european union setting. does this mean the eu can act independently from nato, from the u.s., at counter-purposes? i put that as a reflex because i think many in washington didn't fully appreciate after the horrible terrorist attacks in paris, president oland invoked article 42.7. never been invoked about the eu defense. did that do what the french president wanted to it do? a message of solidarity? did it put in your word that european intervention -- did it
put eu defense into the mix? help us understand that. i think that's confusion. >> well, first of all, for the time being, there is a growing conscious within the european member states that their security is at stake. it's not only one of the countries within europe but potentially all, and europe as an entity is also at stake. so, there is a moment, a very positive moment, to trigger a new effort on european defense policy. this is a concept that was thoroughly discussed in the past. i was not there i was told.
so now it is getting more and more radical concept but a reality. we made collectively major steps, i mentioned the -- the european defense, which is completely new, that was unconceivable a few years ago probably. so europeans do consider now that the security is something to be looked at and they have to take care of it. that's the response. the second one is about that. president macron would like to create solidarity between all countries who are willing and
able to go to a battlefield because they would consider it as necessary. for the time being this is something which is very long process, and in fact the processes are not completely set. so, his initiative meant that, yes, we want to have a quick and operational process to put together different european military forces if there is a need for it. and you mentioned president holland asking for solidarity when the -- we went -- and tomorrow if we were to rate such
an operation on a different theater, ideally would like to do it not alone, asking for solidarity, but from doing it with other european countries or countries who would be willing and able. so what the meaning -- >> i know this is still -- this is new, still being formed, it's potentially very exciting. i'm wondering, as the migration crisis continue to roil europe politically as we see in many european elections, could this european intervention initiative, or this type of readiness -- could it be used for a more robust border security prevention of smugglers, traffickers, that seems to be such an important issue and europe is really grappling how to do that in a
collective way. border security is a national competency but needs to be shared. >> needs to be shared, exactly the purpose of the -- the idea is to allow the military forces of the five countries concerned -- to work together to take into account possibly their own security. that's what we are doing, with the support of the u.s. and others, germany and spain and others. but if we don't succeed in implementing a powerful and efficient military forces from the region, then we will not be
efficient, and one of the assignments of this joint force is also to control the borders and the force will be allowed to go back and forth the borders to make sure that we can track efficiently traffic and terrorists. of course it's a huge work and for sure, as france, even with the very strong support, would benefit from allies, we will never succeed. so, we definitely need local initiatives and that's why i outline that much that we need for support as a community, just to help understand that this is
a strong -- not just money poured on the sand. it is something that will happen and the operation that is prepared in the coming days now, will be a first training to demonstrate that this is possible. >> the dprk 5 will be a great critical test. one this will you and secretary mattis can joint me talk about is the challenge of readiness, and i say that looking at the map that the ministry provided over 30,000 french forces deployed worldwide. you mentioned 4,000 in high intensity situations. if i understand correctly -- please challenge me on this -- over 10% of the french military actually deployed internally to france to provide the necessary
security, homeland security aspect against terrorist acts. this is a huge challenge of just maintaining that operational tempo, that readiness and as you mentioned in the strategic review, the real challenge of sustainment. the average length of operations are ten to 15 years. we don't budget for ten to 15 years. huge set of challenges. four months if you look at the enormity of the challenge, are your challenges for readiness and french forces not designed to guard churches and train stations but be rapidly dethyroid. >> -- deployed. >> we have up to 10,000 people, soldiers, protecting homeland territory, and this is -- what we decided a few weeking others
is to redesign the process because we have to take care of stations, of course, permanently, also churches and everything, but we have also to be more flexible already to intervene wherever it is necessary and whenever. so, we have to work on mobility and that matches complete my with what our soldiers ask for here. so, they're not trained exactly to remain stable and they're trained to run to use the force, and so they are quite -- i'm not sure they are satisfied to do that, but they know that this is necessary. so we try to make the best use
of this force because it has costs, of course, and we have a huge -- have not a huge army like the u.s. has and have to be present on a national territory and also very much present and with lasting presence already to discover how we'll do that when we are working together. >> absolutely. thank you. colleagues, let me welcome you into this conversation. if you can please raise your hand, identify yourself and your affiliation, please clean you're question -- please keep your question short and the microphone -- if you can speak very directly and clearly into that microphone it will help.
will go across. if we can have a microphone over here, please. sorry. just coming around here. keep the hands up. start right there. >> please stand upped and give us your name. speak directly into me microphone. >> madam minister, thank you for being with us despite your cold. diana mega uponty from the wide woodrow wilson where we receive french scholars. my concern listening to your ward words is the european defense initiative would appear to be an alternative to nato. you have the 27, maybe brits, 28 members, but this new initiative would exclude turkey and the united states. what assurance can you give to us you're not setting up an alternative defense initiative.
>> we'll take several questions. one on the side there thank you. >> my name is megan donna hoe with search for common ground. you mentioned that president macron takes civil society very seriously, and i was wondering in sub-saharan africa how you would you engage local civil societies and security arrangements. >> we'll take one more and then pause and then -- right back there. thank you. >> i am very assistant professor at the johns hopkins university school of international studies. was a question about the european intervention force. what sort of mention it would be designed for, expeditionary mission and how it can build on work that has been done as part of the framework nation concept. we see uk-led force that gathers many eu member states such as
the nether happens, estonia and the uk. thank you. >> so, is the eu defense plan an alternative nato, how to engage civil society more in the sahara terrorist -- and the joint expeditionary forces. you can tell there's a lot of interest in the european defense plan. >> so, i will be extremely short and share a strong conviction. the eu initiative coming from the eu or coming from france, asking other european countries to go together -- be able to good together wherever they need is notice -- is not undermaintaining nato. not at all.
why? because the day europe invests in its own protection and security, that day europe contributes even more to its commitment to nato. so, this is something which is completely -- that can be combined and not be opposed. so absolutely no doubt that this is not meant to undermine the nato commitment. not at all. it's just meant to be more efficient when, as europe, we are and we feel unsecured and not -- only from the eastern parts of europe but also in the southern part of europe, and we
have to deal with those two constraints. the question about what the european initiative is -- can do. well, at this stage, i'm not yet have an example to provide, of course, i'm sure that if this european initiative had existed when we started to go to mali, i'm sure that this would have been a good example of what this initiative could have done itself had existed. now, this is a big operation. of course could be a smaller one and what i have not mentioned in
my answer is the financing of it, because i said that europe is working hard on building a european defense fund, which is new, but it doesn't mean that europe its ready to finance all the member states invest in their day-to-day operations, and this is also one very serious question we have to solve at european level. that's why president macron said we are financing that on our own but we would like very much to extend this financial -- >> we're leave thing discussion now to take you live to the senate floor where the senate today will debate a 36.35 bill decide hurricane relief package. the bill gives puerto rico an
infusion of tax and rejects requests from florida and texas delegations to are additional money to rebuild after hurricanes harvey and irma and replenishes emergency disaster constants and provide 16 bill decide to permit the financially -- to prop up the financially troubled federal glad insurance claims. live senate coverage here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. god of our