Understanding the France-UK military exchange programme

While it predates the Lancaster House treaty, the France-UK military personnel exchange programme received tremendous impetus from the treaty and is an essential part of biltaeral defence relations

The Franco-British military personnel exchange programme boasts 61 posts for officers from the three services and the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) to serve in exchange or liaison posts in the British armed forces throughout the UK.

These range from positions at central staff headquarters to units deployed on foreign operations. An equivalent number of posts in France are open to British officers, to ensure reciprocity in terms of employment.

The primary goal of the exchange is to create a training ground for officers with experience of enhancing Franco-British cooperation and mutual understanding – necessary conditions for developing interoperability between our respective armed forces.

Other significant initiatives exist to strengthen cooperation in the human resources field:

- Reciprocal training for officers or NCOs in specialized academies (this does not include initial training, except in rare exceptions).

- Twinning between operational units with similar employment profiles (e.g. between public-sector patrols in France and the UK’s Fishery Protection Squadron), leading to the occasional mutual embarkation of personnel.

- A one-off loan of three navy maintenance officers for a three-year period in the Royal Navy. An unprecedented gesture of solidarity on the part of the French navy, to help the Royal Navy plug a structural gap in terms of engineers on board frigates.

The exchange network testifies to the mutual trust underlying our bilateral relationship.

Published on 17/10/2019

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