Barre at the helm of the DGA

Joël Barre, the new head of France’s DGA procurement agency

Joël Barre was appointed as the new director of France’s DGA procurement agency today by the President of the Republic following the proposal of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly. “This decision is the result of a rigorous selection process, carried out by a committee including personalities outside the Ministry of the Armed Forces,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Born on 8 March 1955, Barre holds the rank of General as an engineer of the procurement agency. He is a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique (1974) and the aerospace school Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace (1979). In 1979, he began his career at the DGA where he was Director of the ASMP Missile Programme in 1987 and then Director of the Helios satellite programme in 1991. In February 1997, he was the architect of the Command, Communication and Intelligence System at the Force Systems and Research Directorate. In September of that same year Barre joined the national space studies centre, CNES, as Director of Programmes where he remained until June 2001 when he joined Snecma (now Safran) as Director of the rocket engines division. In March 2002, he became Managing Director of the Company’s Space Engines Division.

In July 2007 Barre was appointed Director of the Guiana Space Centre, a position he held until June 2012 when he left for Metropolitan France as Deputy CEO of CNES.

This “exceptional professional career” gives him the tools to “perfectly” master “the challenges that the DGA will face” and Parly “has total confidence in him” according to the press release.

With a staff of 9,700, the DGA is in charge of equipping the armed forces, preparing future weapons systems and promoting arms exports.

Joël Barre is an Officer of the Legion of Honour, Commander of the National Order of Merit and 1st Class Legionnaire of Honour. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the ANAE (Air and Space Academy).

Barre will barely have time to settle into his new job that he will quickly have to tackle the thorny budget question, a key issue for the DGA in charge of funding research and development programmes and to order equipment from defence manufacturers. “In the coming weeks, he will be submitting proposals to the minister to improve the management of investment projects so that they are better matched and adapted to the needs of the armed forces. He will work to reduce costs and delays.” In addition to international cooperation and export support, it will also be up to Barre to arbitrate between the various defence programmes, such as Scorpion and the A400M, and, in collaboration with the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Secretary General for Administration, to prepare the new military programme law.

The minister also announced in the press release that she “is particularly keen to ensure that innovation and digital technology, which she places at the heart of her policies, are better integrated into these projects.”

The statement added that “while the defence effort in France will be considerably increased as of 2018, with the objective of reaching 2% of GDP in 2025, [the Minister] wants the Ministry of the Armed Forces to further improve its contribution to the economy, innovation and employment. As the prime investor of the State, the Ministry of the Armed Forces must thus strengthen the excellence of its project management methods.” Barre’s roadmap is clear!