Le retour du service militaire en France ?

Par le 6 mars 2018

De rigueur en France pendant près de 200 ans puis supprimé à la fin du XXème siècle, le service militaire obligatoire est ramené à l’ordre du jour par le Président de la République Française Emmanuel Macron.

 

Créé à la fin de la Révolution Française, le service militaire obligatoire correspond à une réquisition ponctuelle d’une partie de la population par l’Etat Français. Il ne concerne que les citoyens masculins célibataires ou veufs sans enfants, âgés de 20 à 25 ans, « se devant de défendre leur patrie ». D’une durée variable au cours du temps, il évolua entre 6 mois et 6 ans. Dès 1804, les appelés au service, les conscrits, sont tirés au sort. Mais de nombreuses tricheries sont commises, tant par la corruption des familles riches, ou des mutilations volontaires empêchant au combat (index droit coupé, mauvaise dentition…). Cette technique de désignation ne sera supprimée que 100 ans plus tard pour rétablir l’égalité et supprimer toute dérogation sur d’autres raisons que médicales. En 1946, le service militaire n’est plus réservé qu’à la défense de la France métropolitaine. Mais, dans un besoin d’hommes armés, la quasi-totalité d’une tranche d’âge est envoyée en Algérie, lors du conflit de 1954 à 1962, soulevant de nombreuses oppositions.

En 1971, le service militaire d’un jeune homme devient service national. Il peut dès lors prendre de nombreuses formes, militaires, techniques ou civiques. Mais ce prêt de temps aux jeunes citoyens français est de plus en plus mal vu par la population, notamment depuis la chute du mur de Berlin en 1989, faisant tomber avec lui toute forme de menace armée proche. C’est donc le Président Chirac qui annonce en 1998 la fin de ce service obligatoire. La charge de défendre le territoire revient alors dans sa totalité à une armée de professionnels, efficace et peu coûteuse. Ce retrait de civils permet aussi sa modernisation. N’ayant pas interrogé la population au sujet de cette suppression, le Président annonce la mise en place d’un débat national, à travers des réunions accessibles à tous, permettant la compréhension des enjeux, et où toute opinion serait écoutée. Cependant, est maintenue une possibilité de service national volontaire, « maintenant le principe d’un rendez-vous entre la nation et sa jeunesse » (Jacques Chirac, discours aux Français du 22 février 1996).

 

En 2018, c’est Emmanuel Macron qui remet le sujet d’actualité. Déjà présent dans son programme, le service national obligatoire et universel est une promesse de campagne chère au Président. Cependant il y amène de nombreux changements. Hommes et femmes y seraient conviés, sa durée serait plus courte afin qu’il soit moins contraignant (entre 3 et 6 mois). Son but serait de sensibiliser la jeunesse à la culture de l’armée et de la défense d’un pays, de la mettre en contact avec la nation, sans pour autant recréer des regroupements massifs et sans mise en danger. Il ne s’agirait que d’un outil d’intégration, de contact entre classes sociales. Macron souhaite aussi pousser la jeunesse à s’engager, à faire partie active d’associations.

Pour certains, le renouvellement de ce service ne serait pas envisageable, ou pas souhaitable (rapport défavorable du 21 février 2018, par Marianne Dubois et Emilie Guerel). Des alternatives apparaissent alors, comme un parcours citoyen pour les 11 à 25 ans (semaine annuelle de la défense et de la citoyenneté, une courte période d’immersion permettant des rencontres et la mixité sociale, un programme d’encouragement à l’engagement associatif), mais qui ne serait en aucun cas obligatoire. De plus, selon l’avis général, ce n’est pas à l’armée que revient le devoir d’éduquer la jeunesse, qui n’est d’ailleurs pas constituée par ailleurs de « citoyens-soldats ».

Mais le Président semble rester confiant et déterminé à le mettre en place, sous le nom de service national universel. Afin de le mettre parfaitement au point, un groupe de travail a été créé, devant étudier la question. Un rapport est attendu en avril 2018, devant fournir la structure et les bases de ce service. Restent à déterminer la classe d’âge concernée, son caractère obligatoire ou non ainsi que sa durée. Suite à quoi une période d’expérimentation pourrait débuter dès 2019.

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