Partnerships

4 Things to Know About the U.S.-France Relationship

March 19, 2019 | BY C. Todd Lopez

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan met with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly at the Pentagon Monday to reaffirm the defense relationship with the United States’ oldest ally.

Here are four things to know about the U.S.-France relationship:   

1
The United States and France partnered for the first time 244 years ago, when France supported what was then a British colony in its bid for independence. Our bond with our oldest ally remains strong.
Two tanks roll across ground.
Battle Line
American troops move forward to the battle line in the forest of Argonne, France, Sept. 26, 1918.
Photo By: National Archives
VIRIN: 180926-D-ZZ999-221E
2
Because the U.S. West Coast lies on the Pacific Ocean and France has islands in the Pacific, including French Polynesia and New Caledonia, both are Pacific nations. Together, the United States and France work to support operations to ensure maritime security in the Pacific. In the coming months, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is expected to arrive in the Pacific to support these efforts.
A ship floats in the ocean.
Fighter Takeoff
A Rafale multirole fighter takes off from the French aircraft carrier FS Charles De Gaulle during exercise FANAL 2019, Feb. 8, 2019. FANAL 19 is a French exercise designed to enhance the operational capability of the French Carrier Strike Group Charles de Gaulle while providing realistic training to the French and other participating nations while strengthening interoperability and relationships.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ford Williams
VIRIN: 190208-N-JI086-050E
3
As a member of the global coalition to defeat ISIS, France is a strong ally of the U.S. in a collective effort to deter violent extremism around the globe and a leader in counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel.
Soldiers in a loose formation.
Instructor Calls
A French marine instructor calls out scores to U.S. service members and French marines after their completion of the mountain obstacle during the French Desert Commando Course in Arta, Djibouti, Nov. 30, 2018. The course exposed troops to the fundamentals of desert combat, desert survival, weapons training, troop movements, and obstacle courses based on mountain and water environments. The U.S. service members, deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, participated in the obstacle course alongside French marines to earn a French desert commando badge.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Amy Picard
VIRIN: 181130-F-EY126-0029E
4
In  NATO, France has committed to spending two percent of its gross domestic product on defense by 2025, and is on track to meet commitments to collective European security.
Soldiers march.
Military Parade
U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde in Paris, July 12, 2017, during a rehearsal for the Bastille Day military parade. The United States led the parade to commemorate the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I and the longstanding partnership between the United States and France.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael McNabb
VIRIN: 170712-N-AC979-809J