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

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (March 19, 2019) -- 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:

-- 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.

-- 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.

-- 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.

-- 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.