The National Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Coordination (CNRLT), serving the highest French authorities and the intelligence community.
Protecting the French public is a major focus of the President of the Republic’s policy. Upon taking office in 2017, he imposed a clear principle for all intelligence and law enforcement services: constant exchange of information to forge effective cooperation, so as to strengthen the security of the public and defend France’s fundamental interests.
The Decree of 14 June 2017 establishing the CNRLT marked an important development in this cooperation. It entrusted two distinct missions to the CNRLT. Firstly, the coordination of the general activities of the intelligence services, and secondly, through the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (CNCT) created on this occasion, the steering of all the services contributing to the fight against terrorism.
As National Intelligence Coordinator, Pascal Mailhos ensures that the intelligence services (DGSE, DGSI, DRM, DRSD, DNRED, TRACFIN and DRPP, SCRT, SNRP, and SDAO) work together and provide guidance to the President of the Republic.
- The CNRLT carries out a comprehensive threat analysis in order to propose guidelines and priorities for coordinated actions, steers the implementation of decisions, and passes on instructions to the various intelligence services.
- It coordinates the activities of the intelligence services and ensures good cooperation between them, promoting intelligence sharing, the use of intelligence techniques and the pooling of technical resources.
- The service coordinates and develops French initiatives in European and international cooperation and represents the intelligence community internationally.
- Finally, it reports to the National Intelligence Council (CNR) and the National Security and Defence Council (CDSN) on the activities of the intelligence services, as well as to external oversight bodies: parliamentary intelligence delegation, special funds audit committee, Court of Accounts.
The fight against terrorism
As head of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Pascal Mailhos ensures coordination of counter-terrorism services, including:
- Intelligence services: DGSE, DGSI, DRM, DRSD, DNRED, TRACFIN and DRPP, SCRT, SNRP, SDAO;
- Judicial police services: DCPJ-SDAT, DRPJ PP-SAT, and DGSI;
- Ministry of Justice services: PNAT and DACG.
Since 2017, the structuring of counter-terrorism governance around the CNRLT/CNCT at strategic level and the DGSI at operational level has been an important response to the lessons learned from the 2015 and 2016 attacks: strategic steering, operational coordination, synergy, information sharing and anticipation are now the governing principles of the fight against terrorism.
The National Intelligence Strategy
The National Intelligence Strategy (SNR) is a roadmap for French intelligence services.
It is aimed primarily at the specialized intelligence services (DGSE, DGSI, DRM, DRSD, DNRED and TRACFIN), the internal security services (SCRT, DRPP, SNRP and SDAO) and all the services involved in intelligence policy (law enforcement, armed forces, monitoring and support bodies, etc.), as well as all those whose purpose is to contribute to or draw on intelligence given their responsibilities.
The four main priorities:
1. The fight against terrorism
The fact that the terrorist threat assessment has been at its highest level for five years warrants the fight against terrorism remaining the priority of intelligence services.
It mainly concerns the terrorist risk posed by jihadist organizations, particularly Daesh and al-Qaeda. The statements of these organizations, the evacuation and assembly of seasoned fighters, financial capacities that remain considerable, and resilient propaganda tools on social media, continue to represent a terrorist threat on French soil, to French interests abroad, to our partners, and in the external theatres where France’s forces are deployed.
On a completely different level, the terrorist threat can also come from extremist movements or individuals from all sides, within the national territory.
2. Anticipation of crises and major risks
This concerns all the major international risks of political, economic or social crisis, such as upheaval caused by climate change, and the fight against illegal immigration networks.
It also concerns the defence of our national sovereignty and the preservation of our strategic interests and knowledge, for example the protection of information held in strategic fields, of our medical data, of France’s special cultural heritage and Francophonie, as well as some major sports issues.
The risks of violent subversion or large-scale public order crises are also monitored.
3. Defence and promotion of economic and industrial interests
The aim is to limit the risks of destabilization, weakening or capture of our strategic assets in international competition, and to protect our economic interests through, for example, the fight against financial and welfare fraud and tax evasion, and intellectual property infringement.
4. Combating cross-cutting threats
These include the traditional spying and interference issues of intelligence work and remain particularly significant threats that are a priority of our services. France is a key target for foreign powers and organizations that seek to appropriate our intellectual property and results, or to manipulate information.
Cyber crime also covers a wide spectrum of activities, from data theft to hacking, propagation of malware and the spreading of hate speech. Anticipating, detecting and obstructing these actions requires constant adaptation of intelligence capabilities.
Our intelligence services also work to detect and thwart threats related to organized crime and arms proliferation.
To learn more about the national intelligence strategy, see this document: