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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chirac Announces Conscription End

PARIS -- President Jacques Chirac announced Thursday that France would move from conscription to an all-professional army over the next six years.

In a live television interview, Chirac said only a professional army would be able to ensure France's security in the long term, coupling nuclear deterrence with an improved capacity to project large forces overseas.

"If we want to have a modern defense, we realize that can only happen with a professional army. And therefore I have decided to carry out a reform that will lead France to have a professional army within six years," he said.

He also announced that France would stop producing fissile nuclear material, scrap its land-based nuclear missiles and dismantle the Hades short-range mobile missile.

Chirac said he had decided to close down France's only factory manufacturing plutonium and weapons-grade enriched uranium at Pierrelatte, south of Lyon. He said the country had plentiful stocks for its weapons needs.