Commissioned officer profession in French Air Force: selecting an elite for Airmen or for political military decision processes?

Dr. Christophe Pajon

The figure of the fighter pilot tends to hypostatize the profession of officer in French Air Force. The use of interactionist approach in the sociology of professions allows the unveiling of a more complex professional environment, made up of segments and competitive processes. The career of an officer in French Air Force is built around an order of domination that is partly specific to this institution. For 25 years, no high-ranking officer of the Air force has become Joint Chief of Staff of the french armed forces. This inequality between Army officers, Navy officers and Air Force officers raises many questions. The first is the reality of this statement for high level military-political appointments. The second is the modalities of selection process of military elite in French Air Force. Using these both approaches, it will be possible to propose hypotheses explaining the weakness of the representation of airmen in politico-military responsibilities in France. This research is based on 25 semi-conducted interviews and opened statistics.