|National Gendarmerie Intervention Group|
|Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale (French)|
|Active||March 1974 – present|
|Type||Police tactical unit|
|Headquarters||Satory, Yvelines, France|
|Motto||"S'engager pour la vie"|
"A commitment for life" 
|Operators||Approx. 1000 (400 in Satory) .|
|Général de Brigade Ghislain Réty |
|Awards||Croix de la Valeur Militaire|
GIGN (Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale pronunciation (help·info); English: National Gendarmerie Intervention Group) is the elite police tactical unit of the French National Gendarmerie. Its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, protection of government officials, and targeting organized crime.
GIGN was established in 1973 following the Munich massacre, created initially as a relatively small tactical unit specialized in sensitive hostage situations. It has since grown into a larger force with expanded responsibilities and capabilities. GIGN is now composed of nearly a thousand operators, based at the Versailles-Satory headquarters, near Paris (approximately 400 operators), and in fourteen regional GIGN Branches (French: Antennes du GIGN) located in metropolitan France or in its overseas territories (approximately 600 operators). GIGN shares jurisdiction of French territory with the National Police special-response units.
Although most of its operations take place in France, the unit, as a component of the French Armed Forces, can operate anywhere in the world. Many of its missions are secret, and members are not allowed to be publicly photographed. Since its formation, GIGN has been involved in over 1,800 missions and rescued more than 600 hostages, making it one of the most experienced counter-terrorism units in the world.
The unit gained notoriety worldwide with its successful assault on a hijacked Air France flight at Marseille Marignane airport in December 1994.
GIGN was formed in Maisons-Alfort, near Paris, in 1973, in the wake of the Munich massacre and other less well-known events in France. Initially named ECRI (Équipe commando régionale d’intervention or Regional Commando Intervention Team), it became operational in March 1974, under the command of then-lieutenant Christian Prouteau, and executed its first mission ten days later. Another unit, named GIGN, was created simultaneously within the Mobile Gendarmerie parachute squadron in Mont-de-Marsan in southwest France, but the two units were merged under Prouteau's command in 1976, and adopted the GIGN designation. GIGNs initial complement was 15, later increased to 32 in 1976, 78 by 1986, and 120 by 2005. GIGN moved to Versailles-Satory in 1982.
In 1984, it became a part of a larger organisation called GSIGN (Groupement de sécurité et d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale), together with EPIGN (Escadron parachutiste d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale), the Gendarmerie Parachute Squadron, GSPR (Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République), the Presidential Security group and GISA (Groupe d'instruction et de sécurité des activités), a specialized training center.
On 1 September 2007, a major reorganization took place. GSIGN was disbanded and replaced by a new unit also named GIGN. The former GSIGN components (the original GIGN, EPIGN, GSPR and GISA) became "forces" of the new GIGN which now reached a total complement of 380 operators.
The change from GSIGN to the new GIGN, an organization reporting directly to the Director-general of the Gendarmerie, was not a simple name swap. It was done in order to:
In 2009, the Gendarmerie, while remaining part of the French Armed Forces, was attached to the Ministry of the Interior, which already supervised the National Police. The respective areas of responsibility of each force did not change however, as the Police already had primary responsibility for major cities and large urban areas, while the Gendarmerie was in charge of smaller towns and rural areas (in addition to its specific military missions). Under the new command structure, GIGN gendarmes can still be engaged in military operations outside of France due to their military status.
Coordination between GIGN and RAID, the National Police elite team, is handled by a joint organization called Ucofi (Unité de coordination des forces d’intervention or Intervention Forces Coordination Unit). A "leader/follower" protocol has been established for use when both units need to be engaged jointly, leadership belonging to the unit operating in its primary areas of responsibility.
Since its creation, the group has taken part in over 1800 operations, liberated over 600 hostages and arrested over 1500 suspects, losing two members killed in action and seven in training. The two fatalities in action were sustained when dealing with armed deranged persons.
On 9 December 2011, French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet, awarded the Cross for Military Valour to the unit for its participation in operation Harmattan in Libya.
On 31 July 2013, the unit won a second Cross for Military Valour for its participation in the Afghanistan War (2001-2021).
In January 2015, GIGN was engaged for the very first time simultaneously with RAID, the National Police tactical unit, during the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks.
On 15 June 2015, the unit received the Medal for internal security. As GIGN was awarded twice the Cross for Military Valour, members of the group are officially allowed to wear the Fourragère.
On 1 August 2021, the 14 local "GIGN branches" (French: Antennes du GIGN (AGIGNs)) were fully integrated in the group's organization as part of a new Force Antennes. Prior to this reorganization, these regional branches, established from 2004, had been administratively attached to the seven domestic "Zonal Gendarmerie Regions" for seven of them and to the Overseas Gendarmerie Command (French: Commandement de la Gendarmerie outre-mer) for the remaining seven but they were independent units that only came under GIGN operational control when a crisis occurred. Sometimes referred to as "GIGN 3.0", the new organization also emphasizes the group's role in training and in operational support.
A new common insignia was adopted as a result of the 2021 reorganization. Shaped as a shield, it worn on the left sleeve by every GIGN gendarme. A circular badge is worn on the right sleeve : the traditional round GIGN patch for Satory-based operators and a different patch for members of the regional branches or AGIGNs (which are not parachute units).
GIGN is currently organized in four "forces", a "détachement", an Engineering and Support division, a National Training Center for Specialized Intervention  and a Human Resources bureau, under two headquarters (administrative and operational):  · .
Female gendarmes are admitted in all forces, except the intervention force.
There are several tactical specialties in the group, including: long-range sniping, breaching, observation and reconnaissance, executive protection, freefall parachuting with HALO/HAHO jumps, diving, etc.
Helicopter support is provided by Gendarmerie helicopters and, for tactical deployment of large groups, by GIH (French: Groupe interarmées d'hélicoptères), a joint Army/Air Force special operations flight equipped with SA330 PUMA helicopters, based in nearby Villacoublay Air Base. GIH was established in 2006, and has also been tasked to support the National Police RAID unit since 2008.
The Fourteen regional "GIGN branches" (French: Antennes du GIGN)  initially known as PI2Gs (French: Pelotons d'intervention interrégionaux de la Gendarmerie) for the domestic units and GPIs (French: Groupes de pelotons d'intervention) for the overseas units, were respectivlely redesignated as GIGN branches in April and July 2016. and fully integrated into GIGN in 2021 (see above). As of 2021, the seven metropolitan GIGN branches are located in Caen, Dijon, Nantes, Orange, Reims, Toulouse and Tours, while the seven overseas branches are based in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Réunion, Mayotte, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. The twenty nuclear protection units, called PSPGs (French: Pelotons spécialisés de protection de la Gendarmerie - Gendarmerie specialized protection platoons), located on site at each one of the French nuclear power plants, are not a part of GIGN, but operate under its supervision.
GIGN reports directly to the Director general of the Gendarmerie Nationale (DGGN), i.e., the chief of staff of the Gendarmerie, who in turn reports directly to the Ministry of the Interior. The DGGN can take charge in a major crisis; however, most of the day-to-day missions are conducted in support of local units of the Departmental Gendarmerie. GIGN is also a member of the European ATLAS Network, an informal association consisting of the special police units of the 27 states of the European Union.
Some of the best-known GIGN operations include:
GIGN was selected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to teach the special forces of the other Member States hostage-rescue exercises aboard planes.
Candidates undertake a one-week pre-selection screening followed by, for those accepted, a fourteen-month training program, which includes shooting, long-range marksmanship (considered[by whom?] as one of the best shooting schools in the world), an airborne course, and hand-to-hand combat training. Mental ability and self-control are important, in addition to physical strength. Similar to most special forces, the training is stressful with a high rate of failure, especially in the initial phase; only 7–8% of the volunteers complete the training process.
The GIGN is known to train with some of the best counter-terrorist units in the world. These include the FBIs HRT, British SAS, Australia’s SRG, Germany’s GSG9, and Ireland’s ERU.
GIGN is equipped with a wide range of police and military equipment that includes :
Although GIGN, as part of the French military, has been deployed to external combat zones, it is primarily centered in France, engaging in peacetime operations as a special police force. Respect for human life, combined with fire discipline, has always been taught to group members since its inception. Each new member is traditionally issued a 6 shot .357 revolver as a reminder of these values.
GIGN is featured in the following films :