DGSE - Direction Générale
de la Sécurité Extérieure


DGSE is a French Intelligence and external security agency. It stands for ‘Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure’ in French.

Its English translation is ‘General Directorate for External Security’. Its motto is ‘In every place where necessity makes law’. The headquarters of DGSE, also referred to as ‘the swimming pool’, is located at 141 Boulevard Mortier in Paris. DGSE is responsible for all external military intelligence activities concerning France. It is also responsible for electronic intelligence, counter espionage activities outside France and strategic intelligence. DGSE is not permitted to act inside French Boundaries.

Structure of DGSE

These days DGSE is primarily a civilian agency with many ex military staff. The number of military staff has been reduced to forty percent since 1993, from fifty five percent in 1989. The organization is headed by a Director General who oversees five directorates. The current Director M. Pierre Brochand was assigned in July 24, 2002. Each directorate has separate set of responsibilities.

In 1996 DGSE employed a staff of 2200 and had a budget of 1,350,000,000 French francs.

The DGSE is divided into five divisions called directorates:

  • The Directorate of Administration.
  • The Strategic Directorate.
  • The technical directorate (responsible for electronic espionage and designs devices used by DGSE agents).
  • The Directorate of Intelligence.
  • The Operations Directorate (This division is responsible for clandestine operations like abduction, observation, theft of material etc).

This last branch consists mainly of elite military units. The agency can also use ‘13eme Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes’ for infiltration into enemy territory, intelligence gathering and conducting covert operations.

More on DGSE

The history of DGSE

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