France is also America's oldest ally; French military intervention was instrumental in helping Britain's American colonies establish independence. Because many battles in which the United States was involved during World War I and World War II took place in France, more American soldiers have been killed on French soil than on that of any other foreign country.
Among NATO members, France is second only to the United States in terms of troops deployed abroad, with over 40,000 troops supporting operations internationally. France has actively and heavily participated in a variety of peacekeeping/coalition efforts in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, often taking the lead in these operations. The French commitment to operations in Afghanistan includes ground troops and air assets. French forces also participate in UN peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, West Africa, and elsewhere. France remains a firm supporter of the OSCE and other efforts at cooperation.In March 2011, France took a leading role in coalition support for Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya and maintained the highest number of strike sorties under the subsequent NATO Operation Unified Protector.
The French military is restructuring to become more flexible, technologically advanced, and better able to coordinate with allies such as the U.S. and multilateral organizations such as the EU, NATO, and the UN with a military force that is smaller, more rapidly deployable, and better tailored for operations outside of mainland France.
The country is a supporter of missile defense, seeing it as a complement to an independent nuclear deterrent. France places a high priority on arms control and nonproliferation. France has implemented a moratorium on the production, export, and use of antipersonnel land mines and supports negotiations leading toward a universal ban. France participates actively in the Proliferation Security Initiative, and is engaged with the U.S., both bilaterally and at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to curb nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) proliferation.
The U.S. and France continue to cooperate closely on many issues, most notably in combating terrorism, efforts to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and on regional problems, including in Africa, Lebanon, and Kosovo. It cooperates with the U.S. to monitor and disrupt terrorist groups and has processed numerous U.S. requests for information under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. French intelligence and security officials continue to actively investigate and prosecute cases of extremism.
Additionally, France regularly participates in numerous exercises with U.S. military personnel including: Combined Endeavor, Baltic Operations, Noble Ardent, Midas/Mariner, Bold Avenger, Steadfast Indicator, Red Flag/Green Flag, FRUKUS, Joint Task Force Exercise, and Serpent Exercise.
There are Acquisition and Cross-Servicing, and NATO Status of Forces agreements in place with France.