On 16 January 2019, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly welcomed the inaugural meeting of the Defense Industrial Policy Committee at her ministerial headquarters at the Hôtel de Brienne.
This unprecedented format is part of the reform of the Armed Forces Ministry announced by Parly in July 2018, when she kicked off the transformation plan of the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) defense procurement agency.
Chaired by the Minister and bringing together defense manufactures, managers of SMEs and start-ups, the Director-General for Armaments Joël Barre and representatives of the DGA and the Directorate-General for Business Firms of the Ministry of Economics, this committee aims to set the course of the French defense industrial policy.
This committee, which will meet at least twice a year, will allow free and direct exchanges between the various actors and will integrate defense industrial policy in the overall industrial policy of the State.
Florence Parly recalled that the defense industry has two objectives: helping to protect France by meeting the needs of the Armed Forces; and help protect employment through ever-increasing industrial activity.
At the meeting, the minister delivered the five foundations of her industrial policy:
-- Invest in the defense industry and buy new weapons (thanks, in particular, to the exceptional increase in funding by 2025, permitted by the 2019-2025 military program law);
-- Support the companies of the defense industry to export;
-- Consolidate the defense industry at the European level around concrete projects and cooperation (the Future Fighter Plane or the Future Battle Tank projects are examples);
-- Encourage innovation and protect SMEs (setting up the Defense Innovation Agency and the Definvest Investment Fund);
-- Intervene in the life of companies as either regulator or shareholder (for example by specific action initiatives, reinforced by the law PACTE).
The minister said that the mechanisms put in place to give the defense industries more flexibility and allow them to win new markets are not without reciprocity. She recalled the need for manufacturers to respect deadlines and costs in defense programs: “the State is a demanding customer, who must pay the right price and be able to audit its costs,” she said.
Finally, the minister urged defense manufacturers to work with the ministry to attract talent and to take part in the fight for cybersecurity by adopting irreproachable "cyber hygiene" habits.