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France will adapt its “secret-defense” to better exchange with its allies


The “secret-defense” occupies a central place in the French democracy: 400,000 people authorized in the state apparatus in 2017, 4,000 security officers in companies and administrations, 5 million classified documents and parsimonious access imposed on historical archives. It will be reformed by the end of 2019, announced the General Secretariat for Defense and National Security. This body dependent on the Prime Minister publishes his second report on the subject hoping to make “the pedagogy to Parliament and opinion”. Interdepartmental dialogue is underway to meet two priorities: “Facilitate data exchanges with allied countries by aligning classification levels” and “Improve the protection of classified information in the face of the cyber threat”. The leading allies of France, have equivalent classifications and the reform will aim to facilitate bilateral intelligence exchanges, but also in NATO and in the European Union, which have enacted common frameworks.
Of the three levels of classification – “confidential defense”, “secret defense” and “very secret defense” – only the last two will remain. In fact, the vast majority of information, classified “confidential defense” will be integrated at the top level “secret defense”. Most of the operational documents (military operations, encryption, cyber operations), as well as research data presenting a proliferation risk for weapons of mass destruction and the information of nuclear deterrence, are included in the highest classification. The government is also “thinking” about a way to facilitate access to historical archives, with a semi-automated opening system when prescription dates (50 years or 100 years depending on the case) are reached.

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