While anti-ballistic missile defense will be on the agenda of the NATO summit on November 19 and 20 in Lisbon, the French Senate has decided to look closely at the issue.
A first report (1) has just been published, written by Josselin de Rohan, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (UMP senator from Morbihan), entitled "the conditions for France's commitment to NATO's anti-ballistic missile defense". Result of several hearings of military and industrialists, it details in particular the stakes, military, economic and strategic as well as the risks of such an investment. Unsurprisingly, we will learn, that the senators approve such a project, but not without conditions (2).
A threat to be relativized
Even if the ballistic threat on national (French) or European territory is “ low currently, believes Senator Josselin de Rohan, it should not be neglected in the future. Today, indeed, it is heavier " on the forces deployed " outside. And the risk, today, is therefore more to be caught, by the interplay of alliances or by a direct attack from our forces, in the gears of a large-scale ballistic attack ". But, in the future, the rapid development of ballistic capabilities outside the circle of major powers » imposes to consider « other scenarios in which a potential adversary would use its ballistic capabilities to strike national territory directly ". And using the big nugget of nuclear deterrence would be a bit like swatting a fly with a big nugget. It therefore seems necessary to have an intermediate tool. And also, there is no denying it, this anti-missile defense is a “ powerful factor of technological development ».
But the Senate wants to go further. A public hearing will take place on the subject next Monday (November 15) at 21 p.m. And a fact-finding mission is launched. Three of its members, Xavier Pintat (UMP – Gironde), Daniel Reiner (PS – Moselle) and Jacques Gautier (UMP – Hauts-de-Seine) were thus asked to prepare a second report, on the "technological options to be favored in the case of a contribution in kind from France to NATO's anti-ballistic missile defense". Submission of the report: within six months at the latest ».
(2) Read: The three conditions
(updated November 14)