**Published: **

I propose a unified framework for a joint analysis of the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox, which enables a simultaneous, quantitative study of both of them. The analysis is based on a simplified form of the Drake equation and on a fairly simple scheme for the colonization of the Milky Way. It appears that for sufficiently long-lived civilizations, colonization of the Galaxy is the only reasonable option to gain knowledge about other life forms. This argument allows one to define a region in the parameter space of the Drake equation where the Fermi paradox definitely holds (Strong Fermi paradox).