French Economic Intelligence Collection Activities

According to a French newsletter, “Le Monde Du Renseignement,” France’s Delegate General for Armaments (DGA) is creating an economic intelligence office called the Economic and Strategic Information Bureau (IES). This newly created office is under the purview of the Directorate for Cooperation and Industrial Affairs (DCI) and should be fully operational within two years.

The office will be staffed with about 30 people from the DGA who will be placed in about 12 different offices throughout the organization. This network of personnel will track and collect open source information and circulate internal DGA information.

By creating this new Bureau, the DGA hopes to improve on the collection and circulation of economic information in an organization dominated by engineers who rarely focus on such commercial aspects. Once IES becomes fully operational, the chief of the DGA hopes to use it as a basis for an external information exchange mechanism with French armaments industries. The goal is to increase France’s share of the international armaments market from 10% to 15% in the next six years.

The DGA, which is in charge of 80% of France’s defense equipment purchases, has 48,800 employees. More than half of them are employed in purchasing, testing, training, and running technical centers. In late 1996, the DGA created three new directorates: the directorate for systems of force and development; the directorate of arms systems; and the directorate of programs.

Armed with this enhanced approach to collecting open source “economic intelligence,” the French probably hope to improve their image in foreign markets, defend the interests of their companies in world competition and counter U.S. initiatives.

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