Metro-East News

Roger That: French police dog killed in raid on terrorists hailed as hero

News-Democrat

A French police dog named Diesel, killed in a raid targeting the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks and another cell of extremists, is being honored as a hero all over the world, Military.com is reporting.

Many have turned to social media to pay tribute to the 7-year-old Belgian shepherd dog that France's National Police said was “killed by terrorists” early Wednesday during the raid in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.

Police shared a picture of the SWAT team member on Twitter, saying assault dogs were indispensable to their work.

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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), according to DefenseOne.

“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.

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Military.com is reporting that two high-ranking officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs were demoted Friday in response to allegations that they manipulated the agency's hiring system for their own gain.

The VA said in a statement that Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves were demoted from senior executives — the highest rank for career employees —to general workers within the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Rubens was paid $181,497 as director of the Philadelphia regional office for the VBA, while Graves earned $173,949 as leader of the St. Paul, Minnesota, regional office.

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Congress has approved a historic overhaul of the military retirement system Tuesday, all but ensuring it will become law and the Defense Department will begin the roll out, according to Stars and Stripes.

But troops will not get access to the new 401(k)-style retirement accounts that are the centerpiece of the overhaul until 2018. In the meantime, some key issues such as new programs to educate servicemembers on the tricky world of investing and retention bonuses still need to be worked out, according to the Military Officers Association of America, the country’s largest officer advocacy group.

The new blended system of accounts and pensions will replace the current retirement system, which pays out only after two decades of service, and is included in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Following a vote in the Senate, the annual defense policy bill is now on its way to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Roger That is a regular feature by News-Democrat military reporter Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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