2008: As part of a new round of defense
reform programs, France is reorganizing its intelligence agencies (all nine of
them, employing nearly 13,000 employees). The most important change is that the
intel organizations will report to the president, rather than the prime
French form of government, the president is similar to the American president.
One big difference is that the president appoints a prime minister, who
actually runs the government. There is no equivalent to this in the United
States, although the French prime minister operates in a similar fashion to
those found in most parliamentary governments.
French president already takes care of most of the "big picture" stuff, and is
commander-in-chief of the armed forces, having the intelligence community
reporting directly to the president makes sense. The French want to make their
intel agencies more effective against Islamic terrorists, and new threats, like
Internet based attacks.
intelligence bureaucracy is already undergoing a reorganization, and this year
merged two of eleven intelligence organizations into another (the Ministry of
the Interior used to have three intelligence agencies, now it has one). No
details were released on what organizational changes the new reshuffle will
have. French intel operatives have a good reputation, and have been very
effective against Islamic terrorists. But apparently, intel officials are aware
of a large number of close calls, and want to improve their capability to
reduce the risk from growing Islamic radicalism.