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DF Commission Report

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    What He said!

    Ballinasloe is the Actual midpoint of the country. Build a Military HQ there instead, its on the Motorway, and only a short hop from the N18/M17 junction too for those coming from the North/South.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    If you built a new base there fo Army HQ is there then a need for Athlone & Galway?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Strategically, NO. But was there ever a need for both when Limerick was just down the road and Finner was to the North?

    I'm all for using the facility because you have it, but don't keep it and throw money at it in attempts to make it fit for purpose.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,593 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Custume and Renmore are perfectly good as Barracks and would hopefully have a positive future, particularly with investment in a renewed Reserve etc.

    But what is being forgotten here, is that Army HQ, as envisioned in the force structure adopted in the Commission report, is NOT a Barracks. It is to be a command office for the Army nationwide, so its main features will be offices for Departments ranging from Intelligence to Logistics, IT facilities, secure communications suites, signal intelligence analysis, chart rooms, secure conference facilities, perhaps Training suites for academic study, duty sleeping accommodation etc etc.

    It will remove these functions from their scattered venues like McKee, the Curragh, Newbridge and put the command and staff officers under one roof.

    Needless to say, this is a long way from a typical Irish Army Barracks with its dorms and stores and workshops and garages.

    Take a look at British Army HQ in Hampshire, its just a big office park, with very few outward signs of it being a military facility at all.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Yep. All you need is a secure office block.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭Grassy Knoll


    Build it on or near the Curragh ….



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭jonnybigwallet


    Good idea. No point in dispersing people all over the place.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,129 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    I have to say, I don't see any reason why that should not be the case. Still plenty close enough to Dublin and main roads. The UK's HQs for Navy and Army are both located near the major concentrations of military training and basing areas, near Portsmouth and Warminster/Salisbury/Aldershot. I see little reason for geographic centrality over military concentration.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    The Commission spend enoght time on the report they must have a good valid reason why they have recommend that the New Army HQ should be geographically located centreally in the country



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,593 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34




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  • Registered Users Posts: 3 sopley


    Custume Barracks is the oldest working barracks in Europe. Many of the buildings date from the late 17th / early 18th century and are of significant architectural and historical importance. They need to be preserved no matter what the long term plan is for the site



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭Grassy Knoll


    There is nearly an argument the DF should be in receipt of heritage grants given so much of their real estate is of the historic variety… for conservation and upkeep …



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    So have they forgot to publish the detailed implementation plan that was due at the end of Q2?



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


    Ah sure, it’s not like there’s any global instability to worry about…



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,593 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Custume would make a wonderful school in this growing town, or maybe a graduate school for the IT. It could be an hotel or a top class hostel type accommodation for people exploring Ireland on a budget, by bike or on foot. It could be an enterprise hub or a specialist health facility or private clinic. People could even pay to sleep in the Cold War government nuclear bunker!

    It could be anything really, save for high security bespoke 21st Century standard land component Headquarters, which is what is needed.

    In any case, to retain the buildings of historical importance would still mean that most the site could be sold off and/or opened up as new amenity and public realm space.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    That makes it an even less suitable HQ for a 21st century Defence Force, don't you think? It would make a fine Museum though.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    So if the implementation plan is released in the coming weeks do we expect actual action or more delays?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    More delays mean the last remaining few who have patiently believed the promises and waited for the actions, will leave.

    An OF2 in any of the 3 services can walk away from the DF tomorrow into one of the German retail chains as a manager and double their pay, with company car. Of course they'll work 60+ hours a week including weekends, but they'll be used to it from their time in the DF.

    Meanwhile the few remaining NS techs will either take their trades to civvy street where money is no object, or jump into the emerging offshore wind industry, which is just starting to kick off. Even the ABs without trades will be sought after in the maritime sector. Irish Lights were looking for ABs recenty and it was clear they were targeting NS seamans branch. Customs too have started recruiting externally for their little fleet.



  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭RavenP


    What do you believe is the government’s intention here? Do they not want any meaningful defence, even at current level, are they just incompetent or are there disagreements between government parties, departments? This crisis is not new, little seems to be happening, at least on the face of it.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    DPER is a huge problem, it doesn't want to expend anything on the public sector unless absolutely necessary, and as the DF generates no revenue for the state (Unlike AGS or Revenue) they are at the bottom of the pile.

    The Army is also a huge problem, as recent FOI has demonstrated. They actively resist any progress in the Air Corps and Naval service lest it reduces their standing in the pecking order. I understand they have their finger in the primary radar pie now also. 2 decades ago when the Air Corps failed to get S92 helis, the funding set aside went to buy extra APCs instead, not more helicopters.

    The DoD gets much of the blame, but much of it is unfounded. They chase paper to the best of their abilities and do not understand why someone looking for something at 3pm on a friday evening would want it the same day and not 12pm the following Monday. They are advised by DFHQ, but DFHQ is loaded with army colonels and their staff who serve no obvious purpose in the DF Orbat, except to hold posts in DFHQ, Their appointments, though not specific to the army, are not open to non army members of the DF. CoDF seeks to change this, DFHQ is actively resisting. That said you also get the bureaucrats who like to delay progress on urgent DF purchases, just because. The recent purchase of the IPVs was a prime example. Interference in the DoD delayed the purchase being signed off by 3 months, meaning we were into Southern Hemisphere winter by the time they were being prepared for transfer to us. We were lucky they weren't damaged by a Cyclone that passed through the North Island and devastated their East coast. Had the original timeline been followed without interference, they would have been arriving in Cork when the Cyclone hit NZ and the required works would have been completed during the Southern Hemisphere spring and summer.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Maybe its time for a shake up and dismand the army and form a Marine Corps under the navy to act as a fully mechanized infantry unit. With ATCP leaving the defence forces the armys primary role will be overseas



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    No, the DEFENCE FORCES primary role will be overseas. Navy And Air corps can deploy overseas as a unit too, In EUFOR Med, with a CASA or even with UNIFIL, taking over from ITALAIR with some AW139s.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,593 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    The table of organisation of the Defence Forces going forward, has been decided.

    There will be three components of equal status, with a separate Chief of Defence and his staff. There will be a larger special operations force across the Army and Navy and no doubt significant cooperation across the services, but the structure is essentially a settled argument.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,129 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran



    In fairness, there is hopefully more to come out than just that. The Army is configured as if it is a pair of mid cold-war light infantry brigades with a few newer systems like Javelin and a few dozen MOWAGs (and apparently no divisional assets to allow the two to work together). The ability for one of those brigades to fight and win in the modern era is... limited. If it is going to retain a proper infantry brigade role, there needs to be a massive re-think of how the units are organized, trained and equipped. (When was the last time there was a Brigade exercise, out of interest? Even just Bde staff level). Otherwise, the units are going to be merely administrative and a lot of the combat support features such as artillery or air defense should be retained at only a token level for familiarisation purposes.

    I've been gently prodding Irish field grades I've encountered the last while on the matter, and it's a question they seem to be discussing in closed circles as well. "What's the desired end-state?"



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Last Brigade exercises of any significance were pre 2012. They were only possible with an active reserve who either acted as opfor, or covered duties at the brigades home locations. Can't see it possible post 2012. Back then there was also still a semblance of an ORBAT. Cavalry had armoured and light elements, with a defined role for dismounts as route recce. Artillery had both ground fire support, Air defence and ISTAR. Reserve units for both Combat support corps used and trained on the exact same equipment as (and with) their permanent comrades. Infantry was a mix of light role and armoured. Support weapons existed and exercised as part of the Batallion. Logs for above was well equipped. My last ex in 2008 was a Cavalry Corps concentration where all Cav units carried out close, medium and deep recce. At the same time the Artillery Corps were carrying out a tactical shoot. Black magic to us, but it seemed a bit more practically effective than just doing gun drills on the gun line. There was a doctrine. We knew what we "should" have had, and trained with soft skin vehicles on the assumption that the correct light armoured vehicles were in the pipeline.

    What happened since? Well the reduction to 2 brigades, the deletion of all but light air defence from Artillery, the withdrawal of all armoured recce vehicles without replacement. (A mowag 8x8 APC with an RWS mounting a 50cal is no replacement for a Panhard 4x4 with a 20mm. A mowag 8x8 mounting a 30mm is no replacement for an AML90, ignoring completely the small numbers of each mowag procured). 2 brigades struggling to fulfil duties in their larger geographic spread. Considerable drift as to who's responsibility ISTAR is now, and what vehicles are for it, now that the promised LTAVs never materialised. No realistic doctrine. Nobody has time for that. Too busy covering the appointments of those 1 or 2 ranks above them. Young Lts fresh from the Cadet school going overseas holding captains appointments.

    No significant reserve to fill the gaps anywhere. Essential equipment not serviceable with no plans for replacement. Everything on hold awaiting decisions from the Commission at hand.

    But it appears Govt thought CoDF would be another white paper/green paper of nice words and great platitudes Some Vague notions about aspirations in a benign security environment.. Instead CoDF gave them a shopping list, and a roadmap and told them "come back when its done".

    CoDF has become the trusted mechanic you bring your car to after you bounced it off a wall. Its given the 3 options. 1 to get you home, knowing doing so may cause more damage in the long run. 2 Lowest cost fix which will still cost you, but essential if you want to get the car through the NCT. 3. Full fix & respray because you have fully comp insurance for just such an event, and may want to sell the car at some point in the future.

    Govt & DoD instead have hired a taxi & gone to Halfords to see if maybe more duct tape and filler may get us through...



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle




  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭mupper2


    As I said over on Twitter I think the NS is terminal at this stage, what needs to be done is too hard and too contentious. The gov won't give the needed budget to up tech etc pay and benefits to give the NS a hope in hell of being competitive to private industry. that would open up the PS unions wanting their slice of the cake.

    So from a gov perspective better to let the NS wither to a point of complete inoperability, they can then turn to the country and say its gone to far to salvage in any economically viable way, not long after that some subsidiary of KBR or whomever will get a nice lengthy contract to run a service with crews from wherever.

    The AC might survive slightly better if only and the army has the ceremonial duties, the horsy club and the bands the politicians like.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,129 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Let's see what the government actually does, shall we? They do seem to have been awoken from their blinkered state that perhaps they actually should do something about DF personnel recruiting and retention.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,161 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    As a former PS union rep, I have to disagree with you there. These are technical posts with no equivalent in the Public sector. The nearest equivalent in Mar Inst or Customs get paid more for their days at sea, and they might not have the same trades or qualification those at sea in the NS would have.. It would be an easy move for Govt to Match PDA to reflect this.

    The NS is far from terminal, there are still in excess of 700 serving the state within it daily. Enough on paper to keep 4 OPVs and an IPV operational. Unfortunately it is the key posts where the shortages lie. Watchkeeping officers, engineers, technicians. The ones that are known as "shipstoppers". DoD & DFHQ have been warned this was coming down the tracks maybe 10 years ago and did nothing. The Air Corps is in a similar state but you don't hear about it because so few of their aircraft are 24/7/365 operational apart from GASU. Nobody can drive past Bal and see all the idle aircraft in the hangars the same way everyone on the ferry from Ringaskiddy, or visiting Cobh Cathedral can count the ships tied up at the naval base.

    The solutions have been well flagged by the DF Rep Orgs. Same as permitting Rep Orgs association with ICTU, it just takes the stroke of a ministerial pen.

    Otherwise we are looking at bringing civvy maintenance contractors aboard naval vessels to keep them at sea, and that's a big can of worms. Particularly given most of them would be ex navy anyway.



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