Requests for information and applications via the French army’s website have tripled since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, according to Le Monde (link in French).
“It is a completely unprecedented phenomenon,” Col. Eric de Lepresle, the head of marketing and communications for the army’s recruitment arm, told the French newspaper.
Interest has jumped for other other branches of the armed forces as well, according to officials who spoke with Reuters. Col. Herve Chene, the head of air force recruitment, said the number of daily visitors to their website has jumped from 2,000 to 20,000. Visits in person to recruitment centers had tripled, he added.
French president François Hollande eased back on military budget cuts a few months after the Charlie Hedbo shootings in January. On Monday (Nov. 16), Hollande said he would freeze planned cuts to military personnel through 2019. This week, France stepped up airstrikes in Syria against targets linked to ISIL, the terror group that claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.
Earlier this year, the French government admitted that a handful of former soldiers had joined the jihadists of ISIL, a worrying development given their training and knowledge. Most the attackers in Paris were also French citizens, some of whom had travelled back and forth to Syria.
Following the terrorist attacks in the US on Sept. 11, 2001, the US military saw a bump in young people interested in joining the military, allowing the the army to meet its recruitment goals for 2001 and 2002. Soon thereafter, however, the army began to fall short of its hiring targets.