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DF Commission Report



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    So are we looking at big progress in the next two weeks on the commission?

    “The development of a detailed implementation plan is at an advanced stage and is expected to be published in Q2 of 2023," he said. "When published, it will set out the approach to implementation for each of the 130 recommendations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,808 ✭✭✭sparky42

    Sneaking things out before the summer recess like last year?

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Not really. When it's ready, it's ready.

    I think a good read of Tony Connelly's excellent article on the undersea infrastructure issue, is just one of many indicators that the Government is no longer pissing around with progress on some of these vital defence issues and there is little doubt that they are coming under significant pressure from fellow European and Western States to do so.

    And also, I can't see the average Irish person disagreeing that another cyber attack, of the gravity of the one on the HSE must be avoided, at all costs. Even the tankies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,808 ✭✭✭sparky42

    Have you seen the President's Front page on the Sunday Business Post?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    One thing i noted in the article it will mainly be civilian staff which will result in defence forces fighting AGS and NCSC for these staff.

    Maybe with the size of our country would we better of having better intergation between all 3 agencies rather than fighting for staff

    Post edited by roadmaster on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    I see your point, but all three will have quite different missions. It's important to have separation between the civil police, military activity and intelligence and community and business support from the State.

    I'm sure NCSC will coordinate at a high level on appropriate policies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    So I see that the opening day of the security and foreign policy fora, in UCC, was interrupted by so-called anti-war protestors and dissident Green party members, trying to shout down the Tánaiste during his opening remarks and during the contribution of others.

    Who could have guessed that an open ticket policy would have resulted in a circus?

    I have a ticket for Dublin Castle on Tuesday myself, but I may not bother my ass as I think this process has been hijacked too much now to be of much value.

    In my opinion, the first thing Varadkar and Martin should have done on Monday morning was to commit to a Citizen's Assembly in 2024 to examine the issues raised and summarised at these fora, which would have shut down most complaints of this exercise being an echo chamber.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    I have to disagree.

    I knew something was afoot when I saw a few career protesters mingling outside the lecture hall. They made their little scene for the press, were removed and the event continued.

    Throughout the day everyone who had a question to ask (or a speech to make) were facilitated. That included 2 from Shannonwatch, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, A few TDs and councillos from Sinn Fein etc.

    These arseholes at the start had no interest in engagement, they issued a video after saying as much. You'd forgive the lads with the banner. College Clubs & Socs are a great place to rent a mob. O Cadhla is a career protester, it was him who attempt to board visiting naval vessels to inspect them. Lorna Bogue is basically "Continuity Green Party". Nobody could hear what she was saying, as she read out her social studies essay over the Speaker. She claimed the process was undemocratic, but her fellow Greens sitting nearby didn't think so as they remained for the day.

    This was the first step, an exchange of information.

    The Minister did not rule out a Citizens assembly would be held at a later stage, but it has been shown that these tend to agree with the view of the government of the day, so make what you will of that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 226 ✭✭Grassy Knoll

    I must see if some the debate is online, I assume it is well informed and from an expert position- which I’m all about. The problem for the likes of me is issues such as neutrality, as we practice it, are illogical, riddled with inconsistencies and based more on emotional sentiments than any logic. However, I accept I’m in a minority and get on with it unlike some of the element there today.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    Today's event can be followed online here. Hopefully less bullshit than yesterday morning.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    So we are now in the 3rd quarter of the year. Mr Martin or his minions said a few weeks a go a full plan on how they would get the CoDF LOA2 in place would be publised by the end of the 2nd quarter. So will we see a plan this week??

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    If you set your watch by the deadlines set by Government Departments for anything, then you'll likely be late for your own funeral.

    In fairness the Head of Transformation is only coming into post around now.

    The Dáil is in recess from July 13th and Departments tend to go into hibernation for about 6 weeks after that. If there isn't some sort of update by the end next week then it'll be September.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    You ain't wrong there. Its school holiday time, all departments will be short staffed till late august, the more senior the appointment, the longer leave being taken.

    I had cause to go into my (govt) building last week. Went from car park to top floor, met one person, spotted a cluster of 4 gathered around a desk, otherwise the building that normally holds 300 staff was empty at 9AM on a friday.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    Cathal Berry had said recently that an easy thing the government could do is appoint the 3 new service chiefs on an interm basis. So we could maybe see something like that and even the New Army HQ put in motion

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    You could do that.. unless you were waiting till certain people were closer to retirement and no longer eligible to the expected promotions this would bring, otherwise being stuck with them in the post for another 3-5 years.

    Hypothetically, of course.

  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭mupper2

    A clearing of the decks as it were...

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    I am sure there are plenty of the senior ranks that would do 12/18 months as a interim service boss for there CV and more important the extra points on the pension

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    I'm sure there is, but in the DF senior promotions system, points are given for posts held.

    Recent FOI have demonstrated all those qualified for these appointments may not have the best interest of the organisation in mind, instead more keen on keeping their masters in the DoD happy.

    RACO, with the best of intentions has also weighed the promotion process so that anyone who feels they did not get a fair shot at the title can delay any appointment from taking place until their gripe is heard.

    Better off to clean out the dead weight on top first, and tread carefully to fill the position..

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    I was thinking more about poor project management in the State sector, manifesting as political over-promising not being reconcileable with the actual time it would take to do something. Especially something as big as this step-change plan in Defence.

    And I would suggest Government offices are deserted more because of the 60/40 working-from-home mandate to aid 'green' targets.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    CR2_20230711_Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence |

    This is excruciating to watch.

    to think it takes 12 months to induct a potential recruit to the Reserve! When I joined, waiting 2 months was bad enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    Fu@k me that was a depressing watch. I presume everything the DOD has done to the RDF as being due to advice from the PDF.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,127 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran

    Yeah, that was fairly depressing, all right. It looks like a fairly serious restructuring is required (Again). There's enough wrong that we can probably have an RDF-specific thread.

    Some observations, though.

    1) They are making most of the right noises. The existential question of "Why do we have a reserve?" was brought up several times. There needs to be some purpose for it, for two reasons. Firstly the morale purpose of folks training to do a job they never get to do, and secondly, so that the taxpayer gets some practical return on the investment that they are putting into the organisation. Whilst having a surge capacity for WW3 may have its own merits, it's silly to not use reservists on the operations currently being conducted. The 100-day-limit referenced for activation is silly when tours tend to be six months. If the PDF suddenly realises that they are in a position that the RDF can actually help them, then the RDF concerns will be thrown to the bottom of the priority list less frequently since helping the RDF will then help the PDF.

    2) You can't get something for nothing. There seems to be some idea going around, not exactly voiced in committee, but I think the undertones are there, that the answers for the reserve are primarily regulatory. "Let PDF come in at their prior rank. Outsource medicals to private doctors. Add employment protections". That's all well and good, but Euros need to be thrown at it as well. Reservists will give you more 'value for your dollar' than equivalent PDF personnel, but even if EUR 3 is less than EUR 5, you still need to fork out the 3.

    3) Very briefly mentioned towards the end, but soldiers have one standard. The bullet coming at you doesn't care if you're a reservist or not. No particular discussion directed towards how to achieve that standard. Granted, you need to have the people first.

    4) Distances to reserve training centers. Sure, if you can have a training hall in every town of 50,000 people or more (or whatever), then great, but as alluded to in the discussion, modern training requires more than just the church parish hall. It requires some solid infrastructure which may cost more money than practicable to install in every town. If this means you need to drive a whiles to a place where meaningful training can be conducted, then so be it. In my 23 years in the Guard, I have never been less than a 90 minute drive from my unit. My current unit of assignment is over 750km from my house. US regulation defines "Not in the local area" for reservists as over 150 miles, or 2 hours. Yes, it costs me money to get there. However, yes, I get paid to train. Bottom line, though, if people are motivated by the idea of training in whatever unit they selected, they'll make it there as long as they are not actively penalised by it. It may mean changing to a 'weekends' model instead of a 'weekday evenings' model.

    5) Matching RDF training schedules with PDF training. I get it, I'm an augmentee to an active duty unit. I spent two weeks in February on an exercise, and then three in April on the next one. It was the major training exercise for the Division, and it wasn't done with folks' university schedules in mind. The idea that reservists should only be asked to train in the summer and on weekends can't stand if you're going to be assigned to a PDF unit. We can get away with it because we go on paid orders, and have employment protection. And if some folks really couldn't get away because of their final exams the next month, we didn't force them to. Courses, however, often can be taken with a prioritisation on Summer dates.

    6) Entry physicals. I disagree a bit with the idea that folks shouldn't have to pass fitness tests or medicals to be in the Army. I mean, we're talking basic fitness levels here. If they're going to be in the military, then the organisation will take responsibility for taking care of their health and there is a certain level of reliability required. Fit people are less likely to suffer from ailment or disease, have greater resilience to infection. Even if they're not running up a hill with a GPMG, they may well find themselves in austere environments, sitting behind a computer keyboard in a non-air-conditioned building in Lebanon, for example. If the government wants a team of part-timers who can leap into action at the next cyber-attack, I'm sure there is some form of civilian contractor position which could be created in the Dept of Defense to keep them on retainer for emergency use.

    7) Matching units with the local environment. There was a comment made such as 'put a signals unit next to an IT school, a medical unit next to a doctor school.' The commission made a similar comment, and I fear they might go a bit too far. People don't always want to join to do on the weekend what they do during the week. I worked in IT when I enlisted in the US, the recruiter immediately wanted to slot me into signals as it was my civilian job. No, I wanted to blow things up. I sat behind a computer Monday to Friday, why on Earth would I voluntarily do it more? Give recruits a reasonable choice of options. The guy mentioned who was studying to be an astrophysicist may well have just wanted to do nothing more than charge up hills with a machinegun.

    8) Presumably when new PDF recruits turn up, they get assessed by a medical. Since the doctors and facilities etc are already there, why don't they just add the reservist applicants to the end of the queue? We run a similar structure here in the US, when you show up at MEPS, you're thrown in with recruits from every branch, active and reserve.

    9) I was surprised that the committee weren't actually sure of their purpose and authorities. But it'll be interesting to see how far they get at attempting to gain accountability for their questions.

    Please continue to link any other such videos.

    As an aside, what was the end result, if any, of the consultative forum?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    Re the consultative forum, the chairperson will produce a report which will summarise the points raised over the 4 days. Its the first step in a long road, regardless of what those on the far left may suggest.

    For most TDs, the committee serves only as someplace to get their name in the paper. All the attention is focused on PAC this week (due to the drama around Tubridy's earnings) and some are realising it's not just somewhere to go when you have nothing better to do, its someplace where you should be driving change.

    for 8 & 7,the problem is the potential recruit had to first at their own expense get a cert from their doc to say they are fit to progress (this has been replaced with self certification). Average doc visit is €60-80 for anything these days. Then they waited for medical proper. As for doctors & facilities, my last medical in the DF was done in the back of a TEU, where the medical corps had been evicted to, when the Army Hospital was repurposed as Brigade Headquarters. I understand the TEU are gone also, having been left overseas to save costs. There are ongoing issues with medical officer availability

    For 6 I think the point was prioritisation. Do you really need to use resources for the full level of fitness tests when the reservist involved will NEVER require that level of fitness in their military service.

    5 We still don't have employment protection, and it seems the special leave that used to be available to the members who worked in the civil service had been lost. It used to be if you had 1 weeks training you got 2 days special leave, 2 weeks you got 5 days etc. meaning you weren't eating into your normal annual leave to attend full time training.

    4 The members of the Committee are under it all parish pump politicians and every one of them wants a training centre in their local town. This pays no regard to what the organisation needs, or is cognisant of the fact their local barracks closed 10 years ago and is now owned by a different government department or developer.

    3 Agreed

    2 Some of the bigger issues are regulatory. People leaving the PDF with no means to access the reserve at their previous rank or with any of their old qualifications. I served with 2 former members of the ARW in different units. Both had to join as recruits, and it took quite a lot of convincing to have their old AF154 recognised by D/Transport, even if the same Colonels name was on the old 154.

    1 This is exactly where we are. Nobody in authority has designated a proper role for the reserve other than to "support" the PDF or to do ceremonial, which is hardly a good use of resources. There was a point in the early 2000s where we had a purpose, which was barrack duties during Brigade exercise season. But then the Army Downsized, and brigade exercises were no longer practical, so there was no longer need for the Reserve to mind the house while their permanent colleagues were away on ex. During the same period, Reserve drivers and Air Defence units were also a vital cog in certain exercises, but rarely operationally.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    To coin a phrase or two:

    1. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

    2. Life is something that happens while you are busy making plans.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    This Article is a few weeks old but The Taniste well not be a welcomed man in Mullingar

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    I'm sure he couldn't give a flying shyte.

    Its about time we got real about the prospects for some of these ancient barracks to serve as modern force command headquarters.

    And I don't just mean the age of the built infrastructure, I mean a secure zone around the base, the space to expand in future if necessary, the space to operate 24/7, with aircraft movements and live firing, in such a way that pain in the hole local Councillors won't be up in arms over noise.

    Personally I think these new command HQs should be on green field sites, near to big towns and motorways, but very much on their own.

    Let Athlone and Mullingar and the rest go for urban regeneration.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,160 ✭✭✭Dohvolle

    Costume Barracks is a prime site that would be ideal for an open air event centre.

    Its a terrible location for a modern barracks. We aren't trying to stop Cromwell crossing the Shannon any more.

    The Defence Forces closed 2 fine barracks in Cork, both on the outskirts of satellite towns. One had its own pistol and SMG range, the other its own grass airstrip. Everyone within was moved into a hemmed in barracks in Cork's city centre with possibly the worst access of any in the country.

    We locate there because thats where the brits built them, centuries before, to keep us under control.

    Army HQ should remain in Dublin because that is where the motorway system leads to. Try to get to Athlone from Cork or Finner and its a whole other issue.

    We need to send our elected officials to modern military bases around Europe. They do it very differently. Nieuwe Haven in Den Helder is a prime example. HQ Of Kon Marine, everything at the other side of the bridge (access to the island is unsurprisingly controlled by a single bridge). As well as quays for the ships, you have a dockyard to carry out repairs to their fleet of subs out on land and under cover from elements. A gallery range designed to control both escape of noise and or miss-aimed ordnance. Airstrip for fixed and rotary wing and a dummy ships helideck to practice approaches and landing on. Plenty of trees and green spaces for physical activity, any traffic within the perimeter is your own.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,468 ✭✭✭roadmaster

    Its the Commission that said the new Army HQ should be located in the center of the country. They didnt come up with that idea for local votes

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Aye, but they didn't specify Custume Barracks did they? Or anywhere for that matter.

    There are more places in the centre of the Country than a square mile on the shabby side of the River in Athlone.

    A green field site is the ideal for this.