France cre­ates Na­tional Guard to im­prove se­cu­rity

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

France’s govern­ment has ap­proved a de­cree cre­at­ing a Na­tional Guard to bol­ster se­cu­rity against ex­trem­ist at­tacks across the coun­try. The Cab­i­net adopted the mea­sure dur­ing its weekly meet­ing on yes­ter­day.

The Guard, which is ex­pected to grow to 84,000 peo­ple by 2018, is a new, en­hanced ver­sion of the ex­ist­ing re­serve forces. Fol­low­ing the Nov. 13 at­tacks in Paris last year, Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande pro­posed cre­ation of the force to in­clude cit­i­zens will­ing to get in­volved in serv­ing their coun­try.

De­fense min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian said the cre­ation of the Guard “is a re­sponse to the need for an adap­ta­tion of our se­cu­rity and de­fense strat­egy.” “It is also a re­sponse to the pa­tri­otic spirit that was ex­pressed af­ter the at­tacks,” he told re­porters fol­low­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing.

Guard mem­bers’ tasks will vary from pa­trolling the streets of big cities to se­cur­ing ma­jor sport and fes­tive events to work­ing in mil­i­tary staff of­fices. They will be fully in­te­grated into reg­u­lar troops and po­lice forces for a cer­tain pe­riod of the year - from few days to sev­eral months. They can be stu­dents, job seek­ers, em­ploy­ees as well as re­tired po­lice of­fi­cers and mil­i­tary vet­er­ans.

Reg­u­lar mil­i­tary and po­lice re­serves now in­clude 63,000 peo­ple. Stu­dents un­der the age of 25 who join the Guard a min­i­mum of 37 days a year for five years will get a state grant of 100 eu­ros ($110) per month.

Busi­nesses which al­low their em­ploy­ees to en­list - up to the le­gal limit of 10 days a year - will be granted tax cuts. Au­thor­i­ties want to be able to de­ploy more than 9,000 Guard mem­bers each day on the ground in 2018, through a ro­ta­tion sys­tem.

The govern­ment hopes this will no­tably help re­liev­ing reg­u­lar troops and po­lice that face ad­di­tional ac­tiv­ity as the coun­try is still un­der a state of emer­gency. Fol­low­ing Paris at­tacks last year, France has de­ployed 10,000 troops to pa­trol sen­si­tive sites such as air­ports, train sta­tions and tourist ar­eas. —AP

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