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New Caledonian Armed Forces FANC

With a population of just 280,000, New Caledonia would not be able to defend itself against terrorism, climate change or other threats. In terms of foreign policy, New Caledonia was a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum and Chair of the Pacific Community, and would submit its candidacy for membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2018.

New Caledonia saw eight times more attacks with firearms on police than mainland France in the year 2016. Half of armed attacks on the police in French overseas territories were recorded in New Caledonia.

The French interior minister acceded to demands from New Caledonia to send more security forces to the territory. Gerard Collomb made the announcement in Paris on 05 November 2017 after talks with New Caledonian politicians. More police will be sent to Noumea and to the northern province, and more prison staff will be hired. Collomb saids he was considering returning New Caledonians officers serving in France because they are more in tune with the local culture.

He said in New Caledonia, particular problems are posed by burglaries and thefts which are exacerbated by serious alcohol problems that police try to curb. The meeting came a day after the signatories of the Noumea Accord chaired by the French prime minister, which yielded an accord paving the way for the 2018 independence referendum. Collomb said he understands the territory's security concerns in the lead-up to that referendum.

Les Forces Armées de Nouvelle-Calédonie [FANC - New Caledonian Armed Forces], is the designation of the units of l'Armée Française stationed in Nouvelle-Calédonie. As of 2017 the FANC included 1,663 people, including 208 civilian and 515 short-term mission (MCD) personnel; the others, 940, are in Long-Term Mission (LLD), family for 2 or 3 years. 283 reservists, all armies combined, reinforce the FANC.

The missions of FANC include maintaining an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of the area of permanent responsibility (ZRP) in close coordination with its adjacent joint commanders, in order to anticipate crises and be able to propose appropriate responses with appropriate means. It should contribute to guarantee the protection of the national territory and strategic installations. Contribute to the preservation of France's interests and security in areas under French sovereignty. And FANC acts to assert the presence of France and contribute to stability in the ZRP and its immediate approaches.

The RIMaP-NC [Pacific Marine Infantry Regiment New Caledonia] is the heir to the Pacific Battalion who distinguished himself during the First World War at the Chemin des Dames, in Champagne and in the Marne, then during the Second World War in Bir-Hakeim, Italy and during the liberation of France. Recreated on 1 July 1948 as a battalion, the RIMaP-NC was transformed into a regiment in 1975. The regiment is located on three sites, including Plum, the central portion, a company in Noumea and a cynotechnic group for the protection of the Nandaï munitions depot. RIMaP-NC has more than 700 men, nearly 80% of whom are MCD (staff on four-month missions). The permanent staff are soldiers coming from metropolitan France to make a stay of two years. Only about 30 non-commissioned members came from local recruitment as EVAT or VDAT.

The regiment constitutes the bulk of the land forces of the zone. The regiment performs the traditional overseas missions of sovereignty, presence, training, projection of forces and relief to the people. In an English-speaking Pacific geopolitical context, the RIMaP-NC contributes to the regional influence of the New Caledonian armed forces (FANC) during exchanges and major multinational exercises with the armed forces of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and all the South Pacific Islands.

General COMSUP is in charge of a large area of permanent responsibility (ZRP) in the South-West Pacific, centered on Nouméa, including the two local authorities of New Caledonia and Wallis & Futuna, and including the two regional powers Australia and New Zealand as well as all the island countries of the Melanesian Arc.

The COMSUP joint deputy, in charge of coordinating support, is also commander of the New Caledonia maritime area. This extended zone includes the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of New Caledonia (1.6 million km²) and Wallis & Futuna (0.4 million km²), which represent vast areas under French jurisdiction distant more than 1000 Nq, about 4 days at sea. The maritime zone commander is the assistant of the high commissioner of the Republic for the action of the State at sea.

The commander of the Chaleix naval base is in support of COMSUP for all that concerns the specific support, maintenance and training of naval units stationed in Nouméa. In support of the CZM, it maintains an anti-pollution capacity and provides assessment and response teams, particularly for assistance to vessels in difficulty.

The Vendémiaire surveillance frigate (93 seafarers) is assigned to ALPACI but based in Nouméa, this frigate is a privileged instrument for France's representation missions in the Pacific and for cooperation with foreign navies, both for the COMSUP NC and for ALPACI. It is intended to operate in areas of limited risk for ocean space surveillance missions, exclusive economic zone control, navigation police and fisheries surveillance. Two patrollers P400 - Mouster and Glorious - (30 sailors each) mainly provide maritime surveillance and fisheries police missions.

A pair of Gardian planes from the 25F detachment (6 men each) are responsible for maritime surveillance, public service, fisheries police and pollution locating missions. They have also been involved in rescue operations at sea (search for people in distress, launching a search and rescue (SAR) chain and medical evacuations. A single Alouette III helicopter from the 22S detachment assigned to ALPACI (1 pilot and 4 passengers) is embarked aboard the Vendémiaire and equipped with a winch, this aircraft is dedicated to rescue and cargo transport missions.

Extending over an area of nearly 190 hectares, the air base 186 (BA186) of NOUMEA-TONTOUTA is located in the town of PAÏTA 50 kilometers north of NOUMEA (New Caledonia). This Air Force formation is home to an air unit, Transport Squadron 52 "TOUTOUTA" (ET 52), and a detachment. of the 25F flotilla based at TAHITI. Enabling the implementation of the military air assets present on the New Caledonian territory, this military aeronautical pole regroups today a park composed of two tactical transport planes (CASA CN235) and three helicopters of maneuver (PUMA) of the army of air, two maritime surveillance aircraft (GARDIAN) of the Navy and, when it is not embarked, the helicopter of the surveillance frigate "Vendémiaire" (ALOUETTE).

Military forces from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, Tonga, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Japan and Singapore, converged in New Caledonia in September 2014 for a French multinational military exercise in the Pacific. Fiji has been invited, as an observer. So was Chile too. Dubbed as the premier event for the Pacific Armed Forces Training in the Southwest; the exercise Croix du Sud – which means ‘Southern Cross’ in French is a multinational military exercise organized every two years and hosted by the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC). The main objective of this exercise is to plan, prepare and execute a humanitarian aid and delivery operation and also a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation covering land, air and sea.

About 1500 army, navy and air force personnel - with seven military ships and nine aircrafts - will primarily operate in the islands of Lifou and Tiga as well as at La Foa and at Tontouta airport and from August 25th to September 5th, 2014. Encompassing a full spectrum of scenarios, the participating military personnel and observers will use this biennial exercise as an opportunity to provide realistic training and at the same time, build and cement professional relationships. Over the years the Croix du Sud exercise has seen several new countries participating and it has grown from a small-scale military exercise, into a complex multinational one.

Croix du Sud also demonstrates France’s contribution and commitment to humanitarian and disaster relief within the framework stipulated by the FRANZ (France, Australia, and New Zealand) Agreement of 1992. The Agreement commits its signatories to exchange information to ensure the best use of combined assets and other resources for relief operations after cyclones and other natural disasters in the Pacific region.

For instance, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions to the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in 1998, the tsunami in 2004 and the tropical cyclones in Tonga and Fiji in 2009 and 2010 were strengthened by the FRANZ Agreement. France also played an important role in this framework in Fiji and Tonga in the aftermath of cyclone EVAN (December 2012) and IAN (earlier this year).

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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:42:30 ZULU