Forces: December 19, 1999


France has cut its military equipment budget for next year by 11%, from 86 billion French Francs to 77 billion (about $12 billion). Half of the cut came as the French government pledged to hold the overall growth of government spending to 1% (and took most of the cuts from the military), the other half was cut when the military was advised that previous government promises to fund foreign military operations (Bosnia, Kosovo) out of the central budget would not be kept and the military had to find the money inside its own budget. Defense Minister Alain Richard had promised the French defense industry that he would hold spending at 86 billion French Francs per year through 2002, but shows no signs of resigning in protest to cuts forced by the government. --Stephen V Cole


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