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    French army soldiers patrol as tourists form a queue at the entrance of the Louvre museum in Paris, France as the French capital is under high security during the UEFA 2016 European Championship

    Stressed Out, Undertrained: 6 in 10 French Soldiers Ready to Leave Army Ranks

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    A hefty 62 percent of French military personnel and police are ready to look for a new job, a report by a government committee on the state of the country’s armed forces revealed.

    In an interview with Sputnik France, a French Army officer, who decided to seek early retirement after spending 25 years in the army’s ranks, explained why so many of his colleagues want to leave the armed forces.

    Additional Pressure Over the Terrorist Threat

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officer said that after the January 2015 terrorist attacks, the military was ordered to patrol the streets of major cities as part of Operation Sentinelle. He added that while patrolling soldiers are paid bonuses for their overtime, there are things that are more important than money.

    “Ideally, a serviceperson’s life consists of 16-month cycles: four months of stability when they are with their regiment, four months of intensive training, four months of combat missions and four months of a more relaxed life. We have no such respite now because they can scramble us any moment to ensure the country’s security,” the officer said.

    Wage Arrears

    “In 2011-2012, a computer glitch left half of the country’s ground forces without salaries. People couldn’t pay their debts and bills… Situations like these create a lot of stress and the problem is still there. A serviceperson and their family no longer feel secure about their work they realize they don’t have enough protection,” the officer noted.

    Lacking Logistical Support 

    “We have good logistical support during combat missions, but not enough for training. However, to be able to carry out a combat mission you’ve got to train!” he emphasized.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Richard Labeviere, the editor-in-chief of the French journal Defense, said that to reverse the current trend the government needs to spend more on logistical support, improve living conditions in the barracks and upgrade the existing military bases and other facilities.

    “The government needs to care more about the [officers’ and soldiers’] families and to offer them material support while their spouses are out on a mission. When recruiting new personnel the army needs to explain how the armed forces really function and the sacrifices new recruits will be required to make,” Richard Labeviere noted.

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    Tags:
    logistical support, overtime, stress, French Army, Richard Labeviere, France
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