The 2011 edition

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  Guy TEISSIER, Member of Parliament for Bouches-du-Rhône, Chairman of the French Parliament Committee on National Defence and Armed Forces

Our independence is rooted in an autonomous defence policy which needs an independent industry. The same applies to Europe, which will exist as a political entity only if it has a European Defence industrial and technological base.

Today, we have three major challenges to meet:

- How can we best cater for the needs of our armed forces, taking into account the difficulty of anticipating over a 10 or 20-year period?

- How can we produce the equipment our armed forces need at a cost compatible with the severe budgetary constraints of today?

- How can we cope with foreign competition, in particular from emerging countries, in a context of ever-increasing openness?

Given that the Defence industry is not an industry like any other, the State plays a special role. We will therefore need in-depth exchanges on the necessary evolution of the role of the State, and on the new forms of partnership we need to implement between the State and Industries.

     Josselin de ROHAN, Senator from Morbihan, Chairman on the French Senante Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces

For the 9th edition of the Defence Summer University, we wanted to place the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) at the heart of our thinking, as it is at the heart of a defence policy that guarantees our sovereignty and global influence. I am convinced that a common security and defence policy, in full cooperation with NATO, is indispensable to assert the role and the place of Europe in the world. This revival clearly involves preserving a strong industrial base, structured through European Defence Procurement Agencies, but also through the development of specific capabilities of the European Union, through a more assertive role of the European Defence Agency, which must contribute to identifying pooling and sharing of expenditure as an essential factor of the need to restore sound public finances, again, as a condition of our sovereignty.

The revival of the CSDP involves initiatives such as that taken by Germany and Sweden after the Defence Council in Ghent, by the requests to strengthen the policy expressed by the Weimar Group, on which Mrs Ashton is to reply during the European Council on May 24 and 25. It also involves a clear commitment, such as that shown by the future Polish Presidency, or by the exemplary cooperation between France and the United Kingdom through the two treaties of November 2010.

I consider that these different initiatives fall within the scope of what has been termed optimism of the will, which is at the heart of any political action.

     Laurent COLLET-BILLON, head of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA)

This is the first time that the Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) will be hosting the Defence Summer University, and this year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the DGA… I am therefore deeply touched by the honour Chairmen Josselin de Rohan and Guy Tessier have done the DGA, for the 9th edition of the University.

Fifty years devoted to deterrence, equipment of armed forces, cooperation, support to exports, and defence of our industrial base.

These 50 years have shown our capacity to evolve, to adapt our organisation, to develop our technical expertise, and to improve our command of programmes and complex systems.

What does the future hold? Our future is devoted to defence of our country and of Europe. Our missions are perennial, the DGA has a broad range of technical skills and is able to manage complex projects, thanks to the enthusiasm of its teams.

For us all, the Defence Summer University provides an opportunity to address defence issues within a broader framework: level of defence efforts, R and T, industrial base, military cooperation, industrial cooperation. We look forward to our meeting in September, which will provide demonstrations and discussions in keeping with the ambitions of our country in the field of defence.