Today, the members of French president Francois Hollande adopted new measures to combat terrorism. At their weekly Wednesday meeting, the cabinet members announced the creation of a National Guard that will build upon the existing reserve forces. The new National Guard is expected to grow to 84,000 personnel by 2018. Following the attacks in Paris on November 13 of last year, Hollande proposed the creation of the force to include citizens willing to give national service.
Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian said after the cabinet meeting that the guard "is a response to the need for an adaptation of our security and defence strategy."
"It is also a response to the patriotic spirit that was expressed after the attacks." The responsibilities of the guardsmen will range from patrolling city streets to securing major sporting and other events, as well as serving in military staff offices. Guardsmen will be fully integrated into regular military and police forces for a certain period each year, ranging from few days to several months. They may be students, job seekers, employees, as well as retired police officers and military veterans.
Regular military and police reserves now include 63,000 people. The National Guard would add to the National Gendarmerie, which has various anti-terror functions in coordination with the Army, as well as the National Police force. Students under the age of 25 who serve the Guard for a minimum of 37 days per year fover the course of five years will receive a government grant of 100 euros ($110) per month.
Businesses that allow their employees to enlist for up to the legal limit of 10 days a year will be granted tax abatement. Authorities want to be able to deploy more than 9,000 Guardsman every day on the ground in 2018 through a rotation system. The hope is that this new force will relieve regular troops and police that face additional activity incurred because of the continuing terrorist alert in France. Since November 2015, France has deployed 10,000 troops to patrol sensitive sites such as airports, train stations, and tourist areas.
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