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  • 05-07-2021 12:25pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 118 ✭✭


    Saw this in todays IT:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/defence-forces-struggling-to-find-volunteers-for-peacekeeping-missions-1.4611303

    I find it an interesting insight into the culture of the Irish military that missions are in doubt due to a lack of volunteers and there is pushback at people being ordered to go. Isn't being told what to do an essential part of the military? Fascinating.

    That along with watching the submissions of the representative associations gives an impression its all about working hours & pay, issues of national defense, policy and long term viability of the forces are taking second place to complaining about lack of allowances.

    While I agree completely the pay & conditions are ****e & should be improved, if you wanted a 40 hour week with OT & bankers hours, maybe the forces shouldn't have been your first choice.

    Pay & conditions are important (morale & retention), but reforming the relationship with the DoD & Minister are too and that's not getting any traction. As we say over here "we're certainly doing a good job admiring the problem".

    This one is a longer read, but a very good analysis of the neutrals in Europe as it relates to collective defense.

    https://ecfr.eu/publication/ambiguous-alliance-neutrality-opt-outs-and-european-defence/

    Great read on the different EU states & the issue of neutrality. Makes me not want to be in Austria :-)


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    irishrgr wrote: »
    Saw this in todays IT:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/defence-forces-struggling-to-find-volunteers-for-peacekeeping-missions-1.4611303

    I find it an interesting insight into the culture of the Irish military that missions are in doubt due to a lack of volunteers and there is pushback at people being ordered to go. Isn't being told what to do an essential part of the military? Fascinating.

    That along with watching the submissions of the representative associations gives an impression its all about working hours & pay, issues of national defense, policy and long term viability of the forces are taking second place to complaining about lack of allowances.

    While I agree completely the pay & conditions are ****e & should be improved, if you wanted a 40 hour week with OT & bankers hours, maybe the forces shouldn't have been your first choice.

    Pay & conditions are important (morale & retention), but reforming the relationship with the DoD & Minister are too and that's not getting any traction. As we say over here "we're certainly doing a good job admiring the problem".

    This one is a longer read, but a very good analysis of the neutrals in Europe as it relates to collective defense.

    https://ecfr.eu/publication/ambiguous-alliance-neutrality-opt-outs-and-european-defence/

    Great read on the different EU states & the issue of neutrality. Makes me not want to be in Austria :-)

    Lack of Volunteers?
    Nobody can do 2 deployments back to back, that is what is currently being asked.
    The issue also is current deployments no longer have leave due to covid, and include a period of quarantine before deployment, and further quarantine on return. The return of numerous recent deployments have also been further delayed due to admin issues that are not the fault of the uniforms on the ground.
    The prospect of a 6 month overseas trip taking a total of 8 months appeals to few. That, as they say is not what they signed up for.
    They are soldiers, sailors and aircrew. Not slaves.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,284 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    Lack of Volunteers?
    Nobody can do 2 deployments back to back, that is what is currently being asked.
    The issue also is current deployments no longer have leave due to covid, and include a period of quarantine before deployment, and further quarantine on return. The return of numerous recent deployments have also been further delayed due to admin issues that are not the fault of the uniforms on the ground.
    The prospect of a 6 month overseas trip taking a total of 8 months appeals to few. That, as they say is not what they signed up for.
    They are soldiers, sailors and aircrew. Not slaves.

    As someone who did a 16 month deployment and a 12 month deployment (including spin-up/down time, but away from home regardless), I don’t have much sympathy for that argument. It’s the job. Granted, I did get some leave (17 days) in the 16 month jaunt. The only time I was asked to volunteer was when I raised my hand to join the military in the first place.

    That isn’t to say that soldiers don’t deserve predictability. A reliable “dwell time” became a target for the US Army over a decade ago precisely to reduce stress on the home. Hopefully the Irish troops being ordered to go were selected with a priority towards “when was the last time you went overseas”, but griping about being ordered if that’s true seems to be a bit misplaced.

    That doesn’t deny that the DF may not be sufficiently manned for sustaining the current level of operations and that either the politicians need to reduce commitments or increase recruiting precisely so that servicemen can maintain some predictability, but if the culture is one of “filling out missions with volunteers”, then that needs to be taken away. The politicians also need to be able to know reliably what the Army can do before making commitments.

    I thought there was a change in Irish contracts a couple years ago removing the soldier’s choice with respect to overseas missions anyway, wasn’t there? Will this problem not partially resolve itself as soldiers under the old contracts leave the service?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Some innovative manpower thinking is required now.

    The DF should open up recruitment to applicants at least 10 years older than they do now. I know of some people myself, that with some money already behind them and family set up that would relish 5 years of DF service, for what it can do for their personal development. That should include a certain ratio of officer cadet entry.

    Work should be done with the third level bodies to establish a Reserve Officer Training Corps, embedding a DF community presence as an option to experience for all young people. This should extend to apprenticeships and the trades.

    As a nation, we need to look at the idea of national service. Not all necessarily military, as there is a huge need in the wider community, but to my mind all young people should put in a year or two of service before age 30, leading to a greater pool of trained reserves to integrate into the long term RDF.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    As someone who did a 16 month deployment and a 12 month deployment (including spin-up/down time, but away from home regardless), I don’t have much sympathy for that argument. It’s the job. Granted, I did get some leave (17 days) in the 16 month jaunt. The only time I was asked to volunteer was when I raised my hand to join the military in the first place.

    That isn’t to say that soldiers don’t deserve predictability. A reliable “dwell time” became a target for the US Army over a decade ago precisely to reduce stress on the home. Hopefully the Irish troops being ordered to go were selected with a priority towards “when was the last time you went overseas”, but griping about being ordered if that’s true seems to be a bit misplaced.

    That doesn’t deny that the DF may not be sufficiently manned for sustaining the current level of operations and that either the politicians need to reduce commitments or increase recruiting precisely so that servicemen can maintain some predictability, but if the culture is one of “filling out missions with volunteers”, then that needs to be taken away. The politicians also need to be able to know reliably what the Army can do before making commitments.

    I thought there was a change in Irish contracts a couple years ago removing the soldier’s choice with respect to overseas missions anyway, wasn’t there? Will this problem not partially resolve itself as soldiers under the old contracts leave the service?

    Did you complete those deployments in a 36 month period? Was your return delayed by up to 6 weeks for reasons outside your command's control?
    If 25% of our organisation are overseas at any one time, this being the case another 25% are just back, while 25% are being asked to deploy in the next trip. The Other 25% are merely waiting to be told/volunteer. Somewhere in between that you must fit in time for career courses, regimental duties and normal day to day admin. Doing so in the knowledge you are doing the job of 3 or 4 people due to the ongoing staffing issues, which have yet to be resolved substantially.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    Some innovative manpower thinking is required now.

    The DF should open up recruitment to applicants at least 10 years older than they do now. I know of some people myself, that with some money already behind them and family set up that would relish 5 years of DF service, for what it can do for their personal development. That should include a certain ratio of officer cadet entry.

    Work should be done with the third level bodies to establish a Reserve Officer Training Corps, embedding a DF community presence as an option to experience for all young people. This should extend to apprenticeships and the trades.

    As a nation, we need to look at the idea of national service. Not all necessarily military, as there is a huge need in the wider community, but to my mind all young people should put in a year or two of service before age 30, leading to a greater pool of trained reserves to integrate into the long term RDF.

    Short service commissions for staff roles would be a huge boost in the short term.
    A system of Opt-In conscription is also a worthwhile idea.
    Not sure which european country has it, but basically school leavers are asked to fill out a form "do you want to be conscripted into the military?" If they opt out, that's that. If they opt in, they are taken through a basic training/screening process, at which point their suitability for service is considered. They are held on strength for 3 years, at which point they commit to a longer term, or return to civvy life.
    The time wasted here on the application process is nuts. You won't know how good military life will suit someone until they have lived it for a few months. You won't see it from iq tests or interview panels.
    Fitness: y/n
    Criminal: y/n
    Team player: Hard to tell
    Follows rules/orders without question: we'll see.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,686 ✭✭✭Signore Fancy Pants


    irishrgr wrote: »
    I find it an interesting insight into the culture of the Irish military that missions are in doubt due to a lack of volunteers and there is pushback at people being ordered to go. Isn't being told what to do an essential part of the military? Fascinating.

    Firstly, it's not a "culture".

    Secondly, it's not as black and white as the article suggests. There are a number of issues leading to it being slow to fill vacancies. Here is a non exhaustive list, in no order.

    1. The pool of personnel (regular and specialist) is getting smaller in general.
    2. Troops being mandatorily selected for overseas service (in general) are ones who have volunteered to travel before and in a lot of cases, are not home that long.
    3. The covid issue of an extra 2 week form up for quarantine purposes and no mission leave is not attractive for some.
    4. Others may wish to complete career or other specific courses which clash with deployment dates.
    5. Others have family responsibilities which are the priority at hand, specifically if they are not back that long.
    6. Some are sick to the teeth of serving in the same mission area and have zero interest in spending 4 months training to go to the same boring sh1thole for another 6 months.
    7. There's also situations where guys have not been recommended for previous deployments, decided to start a family, then 6 months later been mandatorily selected (as they haven't served recently) Timing can be an issue.
    8. The selection process, which I won't go into, is also flawed.

    Thirdly, it's a bit of spin being used to highlight the retention issues.

    Personally, I completed 3 stints in a 3 year period. I also know some who have completed 18 months straight.

    It really is mainly specialist appointments that are mandatorily selected, as the pool is small. "Refusing" to travel is not a widespread culture. Staffing and timing is the issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,686 ✭✭✭Signore Fancy Pants


    As someone who did a 16 month deployment and a 12 month deployment (including spin-up/down time, but away from home regardless), I don’t have much sympathy for that argument. It’s the job.

    The US is a different machine Mac, you know that yourself. We have trips of 3, 4 and 6 month duration as well as 1, 2 and 3 year posting, albeit with regular leave entitlements.

    The requirements for US troops to deploy are vastly different than IRL.

    In general, the universal attitude here is, "if you are due to travel, then you travel", otherwise someone is getting caught out of turn.
    Hopefully the Irish troops being ordered to go were selected with a priority towards “when was the last time you went overseas”, but griping about being ordered if that’s true seems to be a bit misplaced.

    There' very few being mandatorily selected that have not recently deployed. In general, its people who are back 12-18 months.

    However, I know a guy who was only home from a 6 month deployment 3 weeks before he was sent on another one.

    Most guys are eager and willing to travel, some become less so when they are only back 6 or so months.
    I thought there was a change in Irish contracts a couple years ago removing the soldier’s choice with respect to overseas missions anyway, wasn’t there? Will this problem not partially resolve itself as soldiers under the old contracts leave the service?

    Yep, everyone is contractually obliged to volunteer for overseas service.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe


    People were forced to go overseas, plain and simple, in a fashion that Gardai or Civil Servants wouldn't tolerate in the slightest. Their unions would be all over it and it would die a swift death and the CS responsible would find himself exiled to some dusty department in a backwater. People who signed up for the five year contract were told that overseas service was required as part of the contract,from day 1 , word 1,so moaning about it is a bit pointless,BUT, the DF inserted it's shoe in it's mouth by using coercion,ie,no chance of promotion unless you had done at least one Lebanon (insert name of ****hole here),no chance of getting a second 5 yr contract unless you did a tour and no chance of getting Trade related courses unless..etc,etc. So, coercion outside of the contract,plain and simple. The whole reason of using such inherent coercion, despite it being a UN requirement that all participating personnel are genuine volunteers, is being people got heartily fed up of doing Leb trips or being denied promotion despite promises that a trip overseas would get a person promoted and basically, being leaned upon by a considerably better paid hierarchy and as a result, the number of actual volunteers evaporated. And, with the greatest of respect for Manic Moran, the US military is not a fair comparison as every joiner knows that overseas service is part of the deal, even when America is not actively fighting in a war anywhere. The US Military is a global force and every schoolkid in the US knows this from early on...................Clearly the DF and the DoD are not paying attention to what is being said in exit interviews.


  • Registered Users Posts: 118 ✭✭irishrgr


    Good responses all right, and I'll agree, a short paper article rarely can get the nuance. And like Moran above, I too ended up on one of those extensions, being the fortunate company commander who got to tell the team "I know we're mostly packed and ready to go, but, we're unpacking and we're staying, we've been extended". Less than four weeks to go.....the troops were not impressed. I get it.

    And I've done the back to back tours, I think it's something like for the 20 years we've ben married, between one thing and another with the Army, Mrs Irishrgr and I have been apart a cumulative total of something like 8 years. It sucks, and I'm a reservist too!!! Many of my active duty friends were deploying every none months for a year for nearly five years, it's exhausting and we lost a lot of talented leaders who just left post contract, just worn out.
    And our specialty units are in the same boat (SF, EOD, Tech, Pilots) are worn out too, its never ending for them.

    I'll grant ya, the US is NOT Ireland with the level of global commitments, and that is a fair point.

    My fear is the various representative organizations (to me at least) are coming across as "whiny" about pay/European working time thing/not being allowed to unionize and less about the larger policy issues. This allows the govt of the day to had out some pay raises/allowances and say "see, we gave yous something, even had a commission", say "we support the troops" and ignore the larger strategic/policy issues which will continue to linger. (like the CoS not reporting to the Minister or controlling the budget).

    Don't get me wrong, the pay scales are atrocious, more so given the hatchet the DF took in the recession and must be addressed. I just hope the troops arn't fobbed off with some short term gains and miss the opportunity to tackle larger issues. I don't agree that a deployment is a promotion requirement, but if I'm looking at candidates one one has real operational experience, and the other hasn't, it makes a simple choice all things being equal.

    As said above, it's fairer to start at the bottom of the list and send those guys/gals, but if its a list which keeps getting shorter, then its part of the larger resource & policy problem.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe


    some of the overseas tours make sense, an officer or NCO getting time on an actual operational deployment can only be good but when an AC techie or a pilot is taken out of his environment and finds himself manning a bar in a UNIFIL mess or sitting in a container for four months in Western Sahara and when they get home, their hierarchy complains about unavailability of aircraft or pilots for domestic tasks. Well,you can't have it both ways. The AC complains about lack of manpower yet the system insist that they go abroad.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe


    A friend of mine is one of the top medical doctors in the DF and he is routinely asked to deploy overseas, despite being well over the age limit, but there have been times when he has to go as the DF is finding it very hard to recruit medical staff of all trades and grades. The Dod is simply going to have to dig deep, to sustain even a basic medical standard.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,686 ✭✭✭Signore Fancy Pants


    irishrgr wrote: »
    Good responses all right, and I'll agree, a short paper article rarely can get the nuance. And like Moran above, I too ended up on one of those extensions, being the fortunate company commander who got to tell the team "I know we're mostly packed and ready to go, but, we're unpacking and we're staying, we've been extended". Less than four weeks to go.....the troops were not impressed. I get it.

    And I've done the back to back tours, I think it's something like for the 20 years we've ben married, between one thing and another with the Army, Mrs Irishrgr and I have been apart a cumulative total of something like 8 years. It sucks, and I'm a reservist too!!! Many of my active duty friends were deploying every none months for a year for nearly five years, it's exhausting and we lost a lot of talented leaders who just left post contract, just worn out.
    And our specialty units are in the same boat (SF, EOD, Tech, Pilots) are worn out too, its never ending for them.

    I'll grant ya, the US is NOT Ireland with the level of global commitments, and that is a fair point.

    My fear is the various representative organizations (to me at least) are coming across as "whiny" about pay/European working time thing/not being allowed to unionize and less about the larger policy issues. This allows the govt of the day to had out some pay raises/allowances and say "see, we gave yous something, even had a commission", say "we support the troops" and ignore the larger strategic/policy issues which will continue to linger. (like the CoS not reporting to the Minister or controlling the budget).

    Don't get me wrong, the pay scales are atrocious, more so given the hatchet the DF took in the recession and must be addressed. I just hope the troops arn't fobbed off with some short term gains and miss the opportunity to tackle larger issues. I don't agree that a deployment is a promotion requirement, but if I'm looking at candidates one one has real operational experience, and the other hasn't, it makes a simple choice all things being equal.

    As said above, it's fairer to start at the bottom of the list and send those guys/gals, but if its a list which keeps getting shorter, then its part of the larger resource & policy problem.

    Yeah I agree with everything you say and it may seem whiny when the representative associations are campaigning for better pay and allowances.

    However, they are only a voice and have almost zero sway and no power behind them. The issue is the disconnect and risk aversion by the DOD which severely limits DF leadership, organisational change and forward progression. The representative associations have no say in policy issues, the only drum the can realistically bang, is the pay drum.

    If the pay and pension disparity was resolved, people would stay in the service and there would be less issues with mandatory selection etc. There's a reason people are only aware of it now. Although, staffing would also solve the issues. If troops were not doing the job of 4 troops for the pay of 1, that would ease discontent.

    Irish soldiers want to soldier (as much as Ireland Inc will allow) but the social contract between the DF and the soldier has been damaged over the last 10-15 years. To be honest, giving someone and extra €2,000 a year is not going to solve it.

    There has been numerous independent reports, white papers, recommendations etc without tangible outcomes. The troops are always fobbed off. For what its worth, I do my bit and the hand is always up and I'm not a fan of the EU WTD.

    Strategic leadership are good at promotional rhetoric but fall flat when words don't translate to change.

    There is no incentive for new soldiers to stay, there's almost zero long term future for them. Older soldiers (me included) are eyeing up exit strategies. Some due to malcontent with the organisation, some for better financial prospects.

    On the tie between deployments and promotion, yeah its a thing here.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,284 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    Did you complete those deployments in a 36 month period? Was your return delayed by up to 6 weeks for reasons outside your command's control?
    If 25% of our organisation are overseas at any one time, this being the case another 25% are just back, while 25% are being asked to deploy in the next trip. The Other 25% are merely waiting to be told/volunteer. Somewhere in between that you must fit in time for career courses, regimental duties and normal day to day admin. Doing so in the knowledge you are doing the job of 3 or 4 people due to the ongoing staffing issues, which have yet to be resolved substantially.


    No, we had it a bit worse.

    For about four or five years, the US was running 15 months deployed, 12 months at home for its full-timers, and that was the general force. Speciality units (particularly SOF and MPs) were far more likely to be on deployment than not. There were also some poor unfortunate sods who completed a deployment in one unit, then rotated (routinely) to another unit, which it turned out was just about to go out the door. And, yes, career courses, family time, admin stuff, all had to be done in the small amount of time available at home station.

    Perhaps you remember this event from 2006? https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2318989&page=1
    Then came word from the Pentagon that they would not be going home and that their tour had been extended by at least four more months.

    The most wrenching part: that some of the soldiers had already gone home.

    More than 300 of the 4,000 in the brigade were already home with their families. Now the Army says those soldiers will be flown back to Baghdad later this week to rejoin the rest of their unit.


    The solution which they came up with was the ARFORGEN cycle, from 2009. the goal was to try to get the troops deployed only one year out of three. It was expected that they might achieve that by 2011.
    https://www.army.mil/article/30668/arforgen_armys_deployment_cycle_aims_for_predictability

    We actually have a working cycle now.

    The gist is that when you get home, you enter a reset cycle, where you are less tasked, can do your career/skill courses, and the like, get new equipment. Then you get a trainup cycle, preparing you and the unit for the next deployment. Then you're on a mission cycle. If the Army needs you, you deploy. If the army doesn't need you, congratulations, you just did a lot of training, go back into the reset cycle. For the record, I'm currently just in a mission cycle, but the deployment was cancelled, so either they redirect us somewhere else, or I am sitting pretty for the next couple of years.

    Everyone benefits. The senior leadership have a reliable basis to know what their capabilities are and how many people can be sent overseas, and the soldiers have the time and predictability to manage their lives and careers.

    I'm in the same boat as Irishrgr. After 20 years, I've racked up about 7 away from home. As a reservist. It's not what was in the recruiting pitch back in 2000. but it's the job. If I don't like it, I can quit.

    Frankly, I've always considered the Irish policy of forming units specifically for deployment to be a bit odd, and it seems to me it destroys a lot of the cohesion which comes from being in a unit in the first place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    They started sending full units (non composite) to UNTAET and it worked very well. You were sending a platoon sized deployment which suited our size.
    The only reason composite units have worked so well in Ireland, is that the majority of appointments at home are either empty or held by someone holding 4 different other appointments. Initially also, in the 1960s many of the soldiers would have been fine for home duties but generally unsuitable for anything outside the barrack gate, let alone overseas. Our army was quite old at that stage, having grown stagnant following the Emergency. My mother, from a garrison town remembers when the local judge used to give troublemakers the choice of "Jail or the army" so many would "throw themselves into the army".
    Thankfully the sudden operational shift scared away many of the barrack rats.
    The tempo of rotations continued almost unchanged up to the present day, leaving little opportunity for a standing unit to train with its full compliment, as there was always a large contingent overseas.
    Congo rolled into Cyprus(we still have some there), which rolled into Sinai, which was followed quickly by Lebanon, where we still find ourselves, over 40 years since we first arrived, granted with a short break in between. Along the way we also managed to fit in Iran and Iraq before it was cool, Somalia, Eritrea, Liberia, Chad, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan all the while spending the period from 1970 to the late 1990s protecting our own border from the insurgents up north. In 1970 most frontline units moved en masse to the border. They remained there for some time, filled out with members of the FCA. It was the 80s before the Defence Forces had the numbers to form dedicated border units (all since disbanded).
    In short, we couldn't send a full unit overseas because during the early 70s, the full unit was already deployed north within our own borders, or rotating to one of the many locations the defence forces were required to provide 24 hr protection, such as Portlaoise and Limerick Prison.
    The Composite units for the most part, kept Brigades together. The 12th, 4th, 30th, all in one Coy, while the 2nd, 5th and the 27th would be in another. The Lads from the west too were kept as one, while the Cav Transport and FAR lads all went to Support coy or later the BMR/FMR, for the most part.
    Those from the Navy and Air Corps could find a staff position too in UNIFIL HQ.

    There was another paywalled article the same day as the one in question which discussed how the DF tempo of operations will see another change, with more Africa missions on the cards, and the hope that there will be a force of sufficient strength capable of fulfilling these new overseas commitments, while our current ones show no sign of an end date.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Extract below from the State of the European Union address given by President Von der Leyen to the Parliament today.

    Its quite clear that Defence policy is going to be a live issue in this Country for the foreseeable future, driven by both internal and external factors.


    "Witnessing events unfold in Afghanistan was profoundly painful for all the families of fallen servicemen and servicewomen.

    We bow to the sacrifice of those soldiers, diplomats and aid workers who laid down their lives.

    To make sure that their service will never be in vain, we have to reflect on how this mission could end so abruptly.

    There are deeply troubling questions that allies will have to tackle within NATO.

    But there is simply no security and defence issue where less cooperation is the answer. We need to invest in our joint partnership and to draw on each side's unique strength.

    This is why we are working with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on a new EU-NATO Joint Declaration to be presented before the end of the year.

    But this is only one part of the equation.

    Europe can – and clearly should – be able and willing to do more on its own. But if we are to do more, we first need to explain why. I see three broad categories.

    First, we need to provide stability in our neighbourhood and across different regions.

    We are connected to the world by narrow straits, stormy seas and vast land borders. Because of that geography, Europe knows better than anyone that if you don't deal in time with the crisis abroad, the crisis comes to you.

    Secondly, the nature of the threats we face is evolving rapidly: from hybrid or cyber-attacks to the growing arms race in space.

    Disruptive technology has been a great equaliser in the way power can be used today by rogue states or non-state groups. 

    You no longer need armies and missiles to cause mass damage. You can paralyse industrial plants, city administrations and hospitals – all you need is your laptop. You can disrupt entire elections with a smartphone and an internet connection.

    The third reason is that the European Union is a unique security provider. There will be missions where NATO or the UN will not be present, but where the EU should be.

    On the ground, our soldiers work side-by-side with police officers, lawyers and doctors, with humanitarian workers and human rights defenders, with teachers and engineers.

    We can combine military and civilian, along with diplomacy and development – and we have a long history in building and protecting peace.

    The good news is that over the past years, we have started to develop a European defence ecosystem.

    But what we need is the European Defence Union.

    In the last weeks, there have been many discussions on expeditionary forces. On what type and how many we need: battlegroups or EU entry forces.

    This is no doubt part of the debate – and I believe it will be part of the solution.

    But the more fundamental issue is why this has not worked in the past.

    You can have the most advanced forces in the world – but if you are never prepared to use them - of what use are they? 

    What has held us back until now is not just a shortfall of capacity – it is the lack of political will.

    And if we develop this political will, there is a lot that we can do at EU level.

    Allow me to give you three concrete examples:

    First, we need to build the foundation for collective decision-making – this is what I call situational awareness.

    We fall short if Member States active in the same region, do not share their information on the European level. It is vital that we improve intelligence cooperation.

    But this is not just about intelligence in the narrow sense.

    It is about bringing together the knowledge from all services and all sources. From space to police trainers, from open source to development agencies. Their work gives us a unique scope and depth of knowledge.

    It is out there!

    But we can only use that, to make informed decisions if we have the full picture. And this is currently not the case. We have the knowledge, but it is disjoined. Information is fragmented.

    This is why the EU could consider its own Joint Situational Awareness Centre to fuse all the different pieces of information. 

    And to be better prepared, to be fully informed and to be able to decide.

    Secondly, we need to improve interoperability. This is why we are already investing in common European platforms, from fighter jets, to drones and cyber.

    But we have to keep thinking of new ways to use all possible synergies. One example could be to consider waiving VAT when buying defence equipment developed and produced in Europe.

    This would not only increase our interoperability, but also decrease our dependencies of today.

    Third, we cannot talk about defence without talking about cyber. If everything is connected, everything can be hacked. Given that resources are scarce, we have to bundle our forces. And we should not just be satisfied to address the cyber threat, but also strive to become a leader in cyber security.

    It should be here in Europe where cyber defence tools are developed. This is why we need a European Cyber Defence Policy, including legislation on common standards under a new European Cyber Resilience Act.

    So, we can do a lot at EU level. But Member States need to do more too.

    This starts with a common assessment of the threats we face and a common approach to dealing with them. The upcoming Strategic Compass is a key process of this discussion.  

    And we need to decide how we can use all of the possibilities that are already in the Treaty.

    This is why, under the French Presidency, President Macron and I will convene a Summit on European defence.

    It is time for Europe to step up to the next level."



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,695 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    In the article below it notes that Defence Forces are taking Javlins with them overseas. How will they be deployed. Will they be mounted to the roof of an apc or fixed to an outpost?

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/pauliddon/2021/10/19/better-safe-than-sorry-irish-peacekeepers-are-bringing-javelin-missiles-on-lebanon-deployment/amp/



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    While making no assumption as to the use of a weapon of this type overseas for security reasons, in the past UNIFIL Irishbatt were equipped with 84mm and 90mm Anti Tank RCLs, as well as 120mm mortar.

    Since the withdrawal of the AML 90 from service (as well as the retirement of the 90mm RCL some years before) overseas deployments lacked integral support weapons, relying on other contingents.

    Nothing wrong with having a few extra cards up your sleeve, as Lebanon slowly descends back into chaos. We may be glad we had them, whether just as a deterrent or if fired in anger.

    The author pays too much attention to the opinion of the type of crank who writes letters to the times. These are people who have not yet found the internet. If they did they would be aware of the Battle of At Tiri, and the need at that time to by UNIFIL forces to fire Missiles and anti tank guns at SLA armoured vehicles,(and destroying 2 Israeli backed SLA vehicles) during a battle where two UNIFIL soldiers were killed, one Irish, one Fijian.

    Indeed since 1978 to date 314 soldiers of all nationalities from UNIFIL have been killed in Lebanon, Ireland taking the highest casualty rate, at 47. For a period in the 80s it was unusual for a deployment not to suffer at least one fatality, whether from small arms fire or artillery shelling.

    I'm sure if we had anything heavier that a Javelin,we'd be bringing it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,695 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Its wonder we never bring the 105 overseas, it would pack a goid punch and as a last resort a good anti tank weapon



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    It's hard to justify as a defensive weapon though. When we brought the 120 Brandt, it only fired ILLUM.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Makes sense to bring the javelin system. When even local paramilitaries are well tooled up with standoff weapons, theres no point trying to take them on without the best gear. Field guns are just too cumbersome for a highly mobile peace keeping force, dealing with scattered and sporadic situations.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,695 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Which begs the question do we need the 105 and should we even bother replacing it when its time up. We would be better of with a 105 mounted on a mowag if anything



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,374 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Exactly, either a 105 or a 120 mortar mounted on a Mowag. Should have been the case as soon as the Panhards retired.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    I agree. With the missions the Irish Defence Forces are going to be tasked with, towed artillery pieces are largely redundant if you have a decent cavalry and mechanised infantry. Can't see us laying siege to any towns anytime soon.

    Its also becoming increasingly dangerous to operate big field guns. With even subversives and rebel type groups acquiring guided weapons, the ability to scoot and shoot becomes more important, especially for peace enforcement and force protection.

    A few of these would be a nice addition to the artillery locker all the same. Modern German 155mm panzer howitzer




  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    No print article available to post yet, but Sky News are reporting that an F-35 off of HMS Queen Elizabeth crashed into the Mediterranean this morning. The pilot ejected, though it doesn't say safely or otherwise.

    Presumably this is a US Marine Corps aircraft because AFAIK they are the only airwing embarked on said Carrier to date.

    At $80 million a pop, the operators of F-35 aren't going to be thrilled if such losses start mounting up.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,909 ✭✭✭sparky42


    Nah, the U.K. jets have been onboard as well, it was one of them that went down.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,909 ✭✭✭sparky42


    Some more info on what happened (take off issues) and the current steps being taken to find an secure the wreck:

    https://twitter.com/NavyLookout/status/1461640897079226378



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Yeah the worry is that the Russians might have just the gear to go after it.

    Just the one wing of the RN Fleet Air Arm embarked at the time apparently, 8 aircraft.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34




  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Mick Malone going on something of a solo-run, asserting that the NS will have a minimum of 12 ships and a Surface to Air, Surface to Surface and Surface to Subsurface capability.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,695 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    In Regards to the below article about the 139's door falling off. Not blaming the normal guards but why had they not the landing area in the park secure or where they even requested to secure the area?

    https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/news/door-falls-off-air-corps-helicopter-after-public-distract-crew-41049137.html



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