France to cut 20K military jobs, seeking savings as economic crisis looms

PARIS – France is cutting 20,000 military jobs in coming years and sharply tightening its defence budget in coming years.

The new cuts are aimed at dealing with undiminished demands on the French military at the same time that the bill for France’s decades of deficit spending is coming due.

According to the defence ministry’s new “White Book on Defence and National Security” France will cut an additional 20,000 defence posts by 2019, in addition to the 55,000 cuts called for under the last top-to-bottom defence review five years ago. According to the government, there are 228,000 members of the military now.

The broad outlines of France’s defence strategy — maintaining its nuclear arsenal and its place in NATO — are unchanged, according to a review of long-range plans released Monday.