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DF Commission Report

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,646 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Its time to get Macron on the phone theres a bulk discount deal that can be done on aircraft and ships



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,076 ✭✭✭jonnybigwallet


    Good idea to have most of the conversation about the report on the one page.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,891 ✭✭✭sparky42


    Not just Macron, if we were looking for transport capability, aren't the German's still looking to offload some of their A400 order? We could leverage off of the other EU/UK user base for maintenance perhaps as up our capacity (or just keep deep maintenance with them given our small demand?). For ships the priority should be getting the MRV finally fecking ordered to replace Eithne, after that if the IPV's have been bought for the Peacocks, look at one of the new gen ships being designed (ie EPC) for the next fleet buy.

    Not sure what the best call for the Army vehicles would be.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,264 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    OK, so as I'm clicking through things...

    Firstly, is the EDP referenced a few times available anywhere? It seems to discuss the planned replacement of current equipment?

    A recurring theme throughout much of this engagement has been a widespread concern about the paucity of real debate on defence and security matters in this country. The Commission concurs with this view and hopes that this report may help to fuel a more informed and grounded debate on these matters

    Ha. Well, that's the big thing, isn't it? What's going to happen in the Oireacthtas or Dept of Finance as a result of this report? Will there be anything at all, or will this report generate a couple of days' worth of buzz, tut-tutting, and then be buried again?

    The RDF is tasked:

    ‐ To augment the PDF in crisis situations. This could include conventional military operations, ATCP and ATCA support, and barrack security or other duties that release members of the PDF.

    ‐ To contribute to state ceremonial events.

    So in non-crisis situations (eg peacekeeping operations) the RDF can expect to continue to be unused with no chance of actually putting skills and training to the field? I'm sure nobody joined the Field Artillery reserve unit to guard the barracks. Granted, this commission indicates that this seems to be an underutilisation and that the RDF needs to be used by the PDF as a matter of routine.


    When we come up with courses of action in the US, we shouldn't, but always do, have three Cs of A of which one is always a 'throwaway', so we don't need to work on it. That's obviously LOA1 here, but I have a feeling that although they really think LOA3 is the correct answer, they put forward the 'realistic' one as the one in the middle, to look like a compromise yet be the bare minimum the country can get away with.

    The PC-9s are due for replacement in 2025? Why am I suspicious that will happen?

    So why are Naval Service ships chronically understaffed anyway? Is there a lack of applicants? I thought the DF normally had more folks trying to get in than not. Are the Naval Reserve not being commonly used to help the current ship manning shortfall? Maybe this line has something to do with it: "In addition, the Naval Service Reserve has no presence in areas with significant maritime activities and large coastal communities such as Galway, Louth, and the North West.". Wait, so the Naval Reserve isn't located where people who understand the sea live? They patrol inland lakes?

    What is a Super-Medium helicopter? Cougar? Mi-17?

    In addition to the need to close this personnel gap in the current strength of the Air Corps, the Commission in Chapter 9 of this report recommends the urgent re‐establishment of both a first and second line Air Corps’ Reserve with a particular focus on recruiting specialists such as trained pilots, technicians and air traffic controllers

    Is there a provision for ex-IAC pilots now flying for Ryanair or whoever to be retained in an Air Corps flying role as a pilot in the reserve? I mean, they're already trained in military flying, and people keep complaining about how they keep getting lost to the civilian side.

    The Defence Forces would need to radically alter the way it sources personnel to work in this domain. Traditional approaches to recruiting military service personnel first, and then training selected serving personnel as specialists, must be set aside, or supplemented, as should customary fitness standards and conventional requirements for military training. The Commission would envisage that large numbers of personnel directly recruited to work in this area would be civilian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) employees and contractors, as well as members of Reserve, and CIS personnel from across all services.

    Cyber is probably the most difficult domain for a military to get its head around, it's probably in reality the most important 'real-world warfighting' thing the DF will be doing, probably is doing right now, and like every other military, will have to balance the fact that good people (the only useful ones) are very highly paid compared to their military counterparts. The use of civilians to fill the role whilst under the 'command' of military personnel is not unprecedented. It's worth noting, for example, that the US Army's Corps of Engineers is almost entirely a civilian workforce earning a Dept of the Army Civilian pay cheque. The British already have IT reservists exempt from grooming/appearance standards. Of course, in the event of actual hostilities, these folks have to be dependent upon to show up when ordered to, and are likely to be 'valid targets' in themselves.

    Was interested to note that the Bde commanders report directly to the MoD, a bit like the US field commanders don't have the Chiefs of Staff in their chain of command. I guess it makes sense as long as the Bde HQs are, in reality, just administrative organisations. How often does a Bde HQ conduct a Bde-level CPX/TEWT/Whatever-you-call-it? Not quite sure I understand the proposed replacement chain, though, would the Bdes report to Joint Force Command?

    Develop specialised air manoeuvre and amphibious infantry battalion groups habitually associated with the proposed Air Force and Navy in Dublin and Cork.

    Wait, what?

    I'm not sure renaming the ARW will be well received. There's something to be said for tradition, and I don't know if the renaming will help much. This probably means it will be the first part of the report to be carried out. Just requires repainting a few signs.

    The section on military police seems to consider them purely as a criminal/garrison type police service. Whilst I understand the point that the commission is making, to include bringing an ex-senior-Garda on as an advisor, I'm not convinced that will work for field MPs. US MP units come in two very different categories as a result. Some units drive in white patrol cars around bases with blue flashing lights, others drive HMMWVs and trucks in a battlefield role.

    International training is a force enabler and should continue to form part of the professional military development for Defence Forces personnel of all ranks, including reservists

    I can't wait to see the first Irish reservist to attend Leavenworth.... I'll probably be long dead and buried by the time that happens. Maybe I'm just cynical.

    RDF personnel should be required to complete joint training courses and the RDF should have full access to the training facilities provided throughout the Defence Forces.

    Hear, hear. Not only for capabilities reasons, but joint courses also breaks down the 'them vs us' attitude often found between regulars and reservists.

    Remaining conscious of the decision to phase out married quarters, the challenges in the current housing market, and the need for Defence Forces’ personnel to move frequently, the Commission believes that solutions to this organisational issue must be found in part within the scope of general housing policy, while recognising the specific locations and needs of the Defence Forces.

    It's an interesting problem. For personnel who are living on the local economy, is there a housing allowance which varies by region? (Eg you get more extra to rent a place in Dublin than Tralee)

    Opinions on the Lance Corporal position? The commission states that one of the problems is that the privates don't want to take an infantry-centric PNCO course. Why don't the trades have their own NCO course then? Too few promotees to make it worthwhile?

    RDF is being allowed to die on its feet. This belief is strengthened by the fact that, of the 13 projects related to the RDF arising out of the White Paper on Defence 2015, not one had been commenced when the Commission began its work in December 2020.

    See my initial question of whether this paper will go anywhere.

    Changing 50:50 combat/CS to CSS I don't think will work well. The US has certainly found out that reservists care a lot about what they do as their job, and people inclined to be Army Reservists are the sort who are inclined to gravitate towards the shooty jobs. You'll end up seeing the combat units well manned, and the CSS units much less so, unless the RDF benefits shoot up.


    I think that's the high-points from my scan.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,326 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    It looks as if the minister is going to bury it until 4-5 months time.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,891 ✭✭✭sparky42


    And guess what that lines up with? The Budget, getting Finance and the Cabinet to sign off on budget increases will take time, hopefully smaller things like the Union issue can be dealt with sooner, but was it ever reasonable for Coveney to come out today and announce a supplementary budget?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,646 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    I think i read also it suggested transfering coastguard roles to the air corps? Which roles are they thinking off?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,326 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Looks more like from a management point of view. i.e, they are under the DoD instead of DoT. From an emergency planning POV, it makes sense.



  • Registered Users Posts: 665 ✭✭✭ricimaki


    I found it interesting that LOA 2 calls for 2 "medium lift rotary wing aircraft".

    In terms of rotary wing capabilities, the Commission has observed the increasing demand on Air Corps’ helicopters in providing ATCA supports to government departments and agencies, particularly in the provision of air ambulance services to the HSE (through both the dedicated EAS service and the ‘as available’ inter‐hospital transfer service) and the provision of assistance to local authorities in dealing with wildland fires. As outlined in Chapter 4, it makes eminent sense to maintain Defence Forces’ capabilities that can also deliver non‐military outputs using dual‐use capabilities and, in this context, the Commission recommends that, within LOA 2, two additional medium lift rotary wing aircraft should be acquired, increasing the current medium lift fleet to eight helicopters. This will ensure the Air Corps’ helicopter fleet can continue to deliver Defence Forces’ supports and will also enhance its capacity to, for example,support local authorities when dealing with wildland fires and othersuch climate related emergencies that are evidently becoming more frequent. When the helicopter fleet is being replaced this should be on the basis of a step up to eight super‐medium helicopters which will enhance Defence Forces’ on‐island troop transport capability, provide joint force support to the Army, Navy and SOF, and provide additional capacity in the ATCA role.

    These would be V-22 Ospreys, right?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,891 ✭✭✭sparky42


    No it would two medium class helicopters, at least adding two more 139s, maybe even get the mil spec ones instead of the green civvies we have. Ospreys are an entirely different animals.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 665 ✭✭✭ricimaki


    Thanks for clarifying, that makes a lot more sense.

    I was taking "rotary wing" up incorrectly, and trying to figure out how Ospreys would work here.



  • Registered Users Posts: 243 ✭✭ancientmariner


    Glad that at least we seem to have a complete report with sufficient historical analysis to realise that the continuing Defence attrition is down to those with a laissez-faire attitude towards required capability. The Ministers and Secretaries Act of 1924 gives the duty of train, equip, and maintain the PDF to the MOD, his Council on Defence, and the Secretary as Chairman. It seems to me that the non-military members broke the mould and packed the other Council members out of the department to further afield and over time pruned structures, real estate, personnel, and capability to tighten Budgets. The whole Nature and capability of Service units has to some extent been neutered with visually pleasing hardware but with very little military purpose.

    The upsetting realisation is that we once were near LOA 3 up to 1960's but failed to bring on board advancing military technology and opted for a system that used the hope of International Defence coverage from neighbours and powers far afield. If we don't make some effort we may find that nature abhorring a vacuum may replace our myopia with unwanted intrusions.

    The starting point should be a Defence Budget that is separate from historic continuing payments to pensioners . Each year the budget should be fully spent across all subheads or used as a down payment for vital hardware or structures or systems.



  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭arsebiscuits82


    I can see the reserve just being binned at this stage. There is zero interest in it in reality, and the age profile of the organisation at the minute is heading the wrong direction. The pdf are overtasked as it is and let's be honest the rdf goes to the end of the list of things to do.

    It would be an easy thing to do, as all they would be doing is telling volunteers they are no longer required, as they aren't classed as employees.

    Or if keeping it, call a muster parade for every unit in the country for a saturday morning, check off who is there, bin who isn't and start from that base line. The days of keeping people on the books to look good on returns should be gone.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,326 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    I disagree. The current active participants are a core element who need to be there to build the organisation up again. But we need to reverse the last few reorgs and widen the Geographical spread. If you lived in mayo would you be arsed travelling to Galway or Donegal for training?

    While there is some logic to co-locating all permanent units centrally, the same can not be said for a reserve force. Geographic spread is its strength, when needed most. There used to be a very active reserve unit in Castletownbere, at the edge of Ireland. It had access to a firing range and tactical training area on Bere Island. You just needed someone to bring the weapons from (at the time ) Ballincollig. Now the potential recruits from that community in west cork all have to make the 2 hour drive to Collins Barracks, Cork, even for a bit of foot drill.



  • Registered Users Posts: 243 ✭✭ancientmariner


    Recruitment to any organisation needs continuous visibility and ease of entry. Shutting down drill halls without a clear easy non-cost alternative for aspiring reservists is heading for extinction. Reservist enlistments need to be more targeted to Unit requirements such as technicians, Drivers, maritime personnel, medical staffs, airline staffs, former military personnel. I know at least one Sergeant line who is a Master Mariner.

    To get to any ambition level we may have to consider external oversight that may be more focussed on Defence requirements and who will do what. For instance Primary radar needs a 24/7 input and other countries often have that as a combined task for Defence and Civilian ATC side by side. As far as UW surveillance goes some state assets are mapping seabed wrecks for many years and producing well illustrated Volumes of such wrecks. They are also mapping underwater areas many miles offshore, yet outfitting our Navy with a military version of such equipment doesn't seem to be relevant for a modern naval vessel.

    Coupled with Primary radar is the consideration of Air Defence for land Units and ships at sea, all of which require detection at Unit and appropriate response. Short Range Air Defence on land is usually a mobile unit however at sea it will need some reconfiguration of ships masts and gun-mounts.



  • Registered Users Posts: 243 ✭✭ancientmariner


    The Report advises many changes to implement and add reality to achieve both White paper intentions and their own Levels of Ambitions proposals. We need, it seems, a partnership with a mentoring entity, perhaps a country or agency. In addition we need to formulise or re-establish training facilities at apprenticeship level and for the Navy a full range Diving Academy/School. In that regard we should include a training Tower to allow for divers to be deployed from depths and cover a future option for submarine training. I noticed recently that the City area of Singapore has 4 AIP Submarines and we own the submarine play grounds in the western Approaches to Europe.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,076 ✭✭✭jonnybigwallet


    I think that buying a submarine should be the last piece of the jig saw as far as new ships are concerned. I would like one of those U BOOT KLASSE 212A jobbies meself. But those can wait until we have a couple of frigates and possibly a MRV in the arsenal first. I note that BULGARIA has just ordered 2 submarines off a german shipbuilder. If they can afford a couple then we could manage one at least. Ideal for puttin the fear of God into Jonny Russian if he comes prowlin around. A silent killer capable of unleashing destruction unseen and undetected.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,264 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    The reality is that though a submarine is a fantastic military capability, Ireland is far more interested in dual-role (Warfighting and civilian duties like SAR and Fisheries) capabilities, which subs aren't great at. Though I do wonder if illegal fishing might stop if trawlers observed doing it suddenly exploded without warning.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,076 ✭✭✭jonnybigwallet


    I was thinkin that it might be useful in tandem with the potential new frigate if used on overseas deployment, also to prevent any interference with data cables in the Atlantic...

    ..



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,891 ✭✭✭sparky42


    They also have a conscript military of 70k active members and a budget several times the most ambitious of what is proposed so I’m not sure the relevancy of even using them as an example? In an ideal world where the state had paid anything more than lip service to defence at any point in the history of the state submarines might be something that Ireland might be willing and able to support. When our immediate goal is to have enough crews to use the hulls we have and our stretch goal is to have a few actual combat capable vessels in service, talking about submarines is fantasy fleet nonsense.

    off the top of my head the smallest population wise nation to support subs in Europe is Norway with a population 5.4 million, a military of 20+k and a budget of over 7 billion dollars, so again twice the most optimistic budget, so how do you suggest we go from the most optimistic LoA to adding in a significant extra capital and manpower issue like generating subs, since one alone isn’t a worthwhile investment.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 243 ✭✭ancientmariner


    What I'm proposing is to include in the School of diving a training tower to cover combat diver deployment and train future submariners escape techniques. While we are credited with inventing the first submarine via Holland and the FENIANS, we need not rush out and buy one. However it is the ultimate maritime weapon and should remain an ambition for LOA 3 onwards after the Jet Fighters.

    There are also other considerations to be dealt with in order to deal with certain realities such as the need to plan for the berthage and accommodation for a 12 ship Navy. Right now with 9 ships we have at most three ready berths on the west side of the Basin and one at the Oil Wharf. All other ships occupy Dockyard Support Berths. The Base is just not big enough for a functioning Navy. The proposed west Coast Base needs to be dedicated and available 24/7 for exclusive naval use with at least 400metres of berthage for three or four ships. Provision there would be needed to supply Fuel, lubricants, water, waste disposal, shore power etc.

    If we opt for two crews for each ship we must also factor in Seagoing replacements to fill gaps in both Port and Starboard crews Twelve ships would need the person equivalent of 24 crews to run continually on operations 220+ days per year. Those directly engaged with the ships would be 1080 personnel plus a portion of Seagoing replacements to cover sickness, courses, special leave etc. on the assumption of at least 45 personnel in each crew. In the old days we had an allowance of a spare crew equivalent for each ship which could mean the need for 1620 personnel to keep 12 ships at sea. After that you provide personnel for all shore based activities at the Base and Dockyard.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,891 ✭✭✭sparky42


    From the IT

    Findings of the Commission on the Defence Forces which were criticised by Russia this week had been cleared by Government ahead of publication.

    The commission’s report, which was published on Wednesday, cited instability on Europe’s borders as being a major threat to Irish security and quoted EU reports which were strongly critical of Russia.

    This drew a sharp response from Russian ambassador to IrelandYuriy Filatov the next day who said the EU reports were “totally unfounded”.

    “Any unbiased observer would be hard put to find any evidence of such a ‘threat’. Attempts to portray Russia as a boogie [sic] are misplaced and regrettable,” said the ambassador in a statement released by the Russian embassy.

    It is understood members of the commission and Government officials were surprised by the ambassador’s comments as they had taken care only to cite official comments from EU reports, rather than introducing their own criticism

    The section of the report dealing with potential external threats to Irish security, including from Russia, China and far-right and Islamic extremists, was vetted by Department of Foreign Affairs officials to avoid drawing Ireland into a dispute with other nations. The section was cleared by officials with no amendments.

    Upgrading

    The commission has recommended an overhaul and upgrading of almost all sections of the military to enable it to meet the tasks laid out for it by Government. This will cost, at a minimum, €500 million a year in the short term, and, if the most ambitious proposals are accepted, up to €3 billion a year.

    It has also recommended wide-ranging cultural changes to increase the representation of women and minorities and to improve military working life. Many of these can be implemented at little to no extra cost

    Over the coming months, the Department of Defence, in consultation with the Defence Forces, will refine the options laid out in the report to a series of proposals for which it will seek funding. That requires decisions about what the department and the Defence Forces want to do first.

    “In order to get money from [the Department of Public Expenditure],” says one official, “we have to decide what we want the money for.”

    It is understood the Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, will spend some time consulting with officials and more extensively with all ranks in the Defence Forces to get their views on the priorities, and the realistic timescales for their implementation. In parallel with this, Mr Coveney will seek the backing of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, and the agreement of the Green Party, where concerns about neutrality abound.

    Obvious difficulty

    It is likely to be July before this process crystallises into a proposal to be put by Mr Coveney to the Department of Public Expenditure as part of the normal budgetary process. One obvious difficulty is that the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces will then have to compete with other departments, who also have their own asks, their own priorities, their own reform plans.

    The report has recommended the establishment of an implementation oversight group, with an independent office and chair.

    Someone tell me one thing in the LoA2 that would/could cause issues about neutrality outside of the insane version certain Irish politicians and parties have?



  • Registered Users Posts: 243 ✭✭ancientmariner


    The massing of Troops , Armoured Units, and Strike Missile systems on the borders of a neighbour has to be construed as an Act with a purpose. The Russian Ambassador has to explain what that purpose is , and why it was initiated with such daily publicity.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,326 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    I guess we should know in the next 48 hours, if some reports are accurate.



  • Registered Users Posts: 282 ✭✭Grassy Knoll


    I think Covneys approach is sensible - absorption capacity does not exist for huge immediate investment. The Human Resources piece needs fixing - pay, terms and conditions etc. Retention will organically build up the capacity to manage new hardware programmes some of which have a lead in time in terms of order, delivery and so on. The ‘pinnacle’ I suppose is an air policing ability - it would take a number of years to have the skills etc to manage that - assuming this is where we end up.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,326 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    On a scale of 1 to 100 where each recommendation of the CoDF is listed in order of importance, Air Policing is a firm 100, yet it is being discussed by many who should know better as if it was item 1, do not progress to 2 until 1 is complete.

    LOA1 is just asking to improve systems and logistics continue the current capability. The CoDF have been emphatic in stating this is not sustainable, and to continue doing so does not provide for the basic level of security an Island state on the fringes of Europe (no longer having a land border to the EU, who's nearest neighbour isn't in the EU either) requires.

    LOA2 seeks improvement in systems and equipment in order to deliver the MINIMUM capability a nation like us requires. In effect it's just Asking us to return defence spending to what it was in the 1980s, as a % of GDP, but still much lower that most of the EU. Increase staff numbers to levels where they aren't all double jobbing and working 70 hrs a week. To pay them a wage appropriate to the effort they make. (PBP says we should do this but not spend on Defence).

    LOA 3 is flawed because it seeks to adequately equip the defence forces to the level expected by our own defence policy and overseas commitments.

    There should have been an LOA 4 which requested the best available, at a % of spending expected of all other Neutrals in Europe, whether achieved by Joining NATO or remaining Neutral, which politically Ireland would never achieve..

    Because in reality LOA3 is the minimum.



  • Registered Users Posts: 243 ✭✭ancientmariner


    When you have been through the system and dealt with the ritualistic Budget preparations and vain efforts to procure basic capabilities, you ask why we were not more successful and why are we in fact regressing.

    Perhaps it lies in our training at higher levels where we constantly use paper capabilities and perform Exercises Without Troops (TEWTS). All this imparts knowledge of what to do if you had the assets on-call. Engaging in Fantasy can be enjoyable but preventing an incursion at sea, in the air, or a beach landing is beyond saying "BANG" with paper assets.

    The only way forward is continual submission of essential needs year after year despite fiscal refusals. Build up case work and keep submitting.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,076 ✭✭✭jonnybigwallet


    Exactly!



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,646 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Hard know where to put this , but i see the Air Corps have launched a big internal drive for trainnie helicopter crew within in the DF. Is this not a bit like robbing peter to pay paul?

    I also see a lot of the trainning is EMT releated does this maybe mean a AC112 expansion in mind?



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,891 ✭✭✭sparky42


    Well if the sun is right (and doesn’t that feel strange to type) Coveney might be pushing the cabinet for doubling the budget, so who knows.



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