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Thread: Defence Review 2011-20 & Joined Up Thinking

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    Default Defence Review 2011-20 & Joined Up Thinking

    The Defence Review of 2011 to 2020 is underway. Very little information is available online about it and I'm wondering if any other P.ie users have some knowledge about it that they are able to share.

    Heretofore, we've discussed Irish attitudes to Defence in various areas. We've had a range of views about what way Defence policy should be heading. There are the usual posters with uninformed "Armchair General" opinions who are best ignored. So here's a thread for the informed to make a comment.

    One thing that's clear is that it is going to be a radically different DF in 10 years time. This will be driven by financial concerns more than anything else.

    If we see an increase in the Defence budget I'd be extremely surprised. What we may see is amalgamation of state functions with more coming under the control of the Army, Naval Service & Air Corps. What we may also see is a change in allocation of the 10,500 establishment between the three organisations, with the Army suffering. With the huge availability of skills in the ranks of the unemployed due to the economic situation the RDF will be restructured to allow for more specialised units.

    Army to concentrate on Internal Security duties and expand on their Civil Defence capabilities. They will probably lose three PDF Battalions and these posts will be filled with RDF personnel. Cyberwarfare, SF, Intel & Medical Corp capabilities will be strengthened.

    Naval Service will gain the strength of two of those Army Battalions bringing Naval Strength to approx 2,500 from the current establishment of 1,144.
    The other "small navies" of the state will all come under Naval Service authority and there will be a more joined up approach to resources in the Maritime field. The assets of these small navies will be commissioned into the Naval fleet allowing for savings in procurement, running costs and manpower to the state. Two EPVs will be ordered for entry into service around 2015.

    The Air Corps will absorb the strength of one of the Army Battalions bringing its strength to around 1,500. They will acquire medium lift military helicopters and the Ministerial Air Transport service will be put out to tender.

    That's my prediction. But if you have better insider information I'd be keen to read it.
    Alexander Suvorov: "The bullet is a fool, the bayonet is a fine chap."

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    Politics.ie Member gijoe's Avatar
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    I reckon we should aim at an overall PDF of circa 6,000 from today's almost 10,000. The balance between services is a matter of debate. I cannot see us requiring a Navy of 2500, but I can see a need of moving away from corvette and line vessels to fast attack/interception craft deployed along the coast. For the Aer Corps I think it is time to sh1t or get off the potty - either give them a fleet of modern fighters or just fold the Aer Corps into the Army as a helicopter lift wing. Saab are coming out with a new generation of Grippens that would suit the Aer Corps down to the ground. Also the government taxi service role needs to be ditched.

    For the Army themselves that should mean a full-time army element of just 4-4,500. This should then be supplemented by a strong, well trained reserve of circa 10-15,000 whose members can be co-opted into the PDF on short-term contracts, mainly for domestic roles, as need arises if the PDF finds itself stretched in foreign deployments.

    That to my mind is the Defence Force I would envision Ireland being capable of supplying into the future.

    PS if the debate is left to a bunch of Colonels or Generals, as I suspect will happen, then there is no way that these people are going to vote for Christmas by talking themselves out of promotions that a streamlined Defence Force will entail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
    I reckon we should aim at an overall PDF of circa 6,000 from today's almost 10,000. The balance between services is a matter of debate. I cannot see us requiring a Navy of 2500, but I can see a need of moving away from corvette and line vessels to fast attack/interception craft deployed along the coast. For the Aer Corps I think it is time to sh1t or get off the potty - either give them a fleet of modern fighters or just fold the Aer Corps into the Army as a helicopter lift wing. Saab are coming out with a new generation of Grippens that would suit the Aer Corps down to the ground. Also the government taxi service role needs to be ditched.

    For the Army themselves that should mean a full-time army element of just 4-4,500. This should then be supplemented by a strong, well trained reserve of circa 10-15,000 whose members can be co-opted into the PDF on short-term contracts, mainly for domestic roles, as need arises if the PDF finds itself stretched in foreign deployments.

    That to my mind is the Defence Force I would envision Ireland being capable of supplying into the future.

    PS if the debate is left to a bunch of Colonels or Generals, as I suspect will happen, then there is no way that these people are going to vote for Christmas by talking themselves out of promotions that a streamlined Defence Force will entail.
    Sadly for the Army I think you are correct, they have shot themselves in the foot in the eyes of DOD in recent years regarding the difficulty in getting certain sections to serve overseas, most notably the Commandant rank of line Officers. By predicting that they only lose a Brigade I was being generous.

    The NS have consistantly maintained their high targets and have shown themselves to be very "can-do" under the current and previous FOCNS. The tight manpower numbers mean that with even the absence of a few personnel with key skills they are likely to have ships tied up. They require a larger establishment than exists to allow for key personnel in training. The absorbtion of the smaller navies of the state will also require more personnel. The EPVs will require a larger critical mass of personnel in advance of their arrival, and that's why I see the NS more than doubling in size as the Army slims down, but at no additional cost to the DOD while giving more value to the taxpayer. 2,500 would not be terribly high by international standards. The current 1,144 level is certainly too low.

    The AC with recent promotion of their GOC is seen as being set for expansion. But I doubt it will be with strike fighters. I see them expanding with helis to support the Army. Helicopters being a Force Multiplier type thing.

    I agree on the RDF expansion/enhancement.
    Alexander Suvorov: "The bullet is a fool, the bayonet is a fine chap."

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    Politics.ie Member gijoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by absconded View Post

    The AC with recent promotion of their GOC is seen as being set for expansion. But I doubt it will be with strike fighters. I see them expanding with helis to support the Army. Helicopters being a Force Multiplier type thing.
    In which case I do not think you can justify an independent AC as a separate service. If it becomes just a helicopter wing then merging into an integrated Army command as a support unit makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
    In which case I do not think you can justify an independent AC as a separate service. If it becomes just a helicopter wing then merging into an integrated Army command as a support unit makes sense.
    In this regard, the AC are no different to the RAF in the UK. They will always be a service provider to the Army. But so are the NS in some respects. There exists a requirement for a specialised military air wing in the DF. There are some things which a COS from an Army line background will never fully understand or appreciate. In my opinion the loss of heli SAR as an AC role was a huge and costly mistake. Spending hundreds of millions of euros on a commercial service that will provide no hardware or expertise legacy for the state was an error.

    Tne NS doesn't have a role for fast intercept craft anywhere other than maybe the Irish Sea. On the Atlantic coast whats really needed for most of the year is vessels of minimum 2,000 Tonnes and sprint speeds of c.25 knots. Small vessels will just end up weatherbound in Blacksod Bay and Lawrences Cove?
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    Politics.ie Member gijoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by absconded View Post
    In my opinion the loss of heli SAR as an AC role was a huge and costly mistake. Spending hundreds of millions of euros on a commercial service that will provide no hardware or expertise legacy for the state was an error.
    But it made financial sense. By privatising the SAR role the State can dramatically cut long-term costs because it is not paying the pensions for hundreds of people who can retire after 21/30 years service, depending on when they entered service. There was a lot of moaning on the radio about the 500million cost of the 10 year SAR contract awarded recently. In fact I heard a retired AC Comdt on Matt Cooper decrying it. During the interview we learned that he retired after 23 years service. So that Comdt probably retired in his mid-40's at half pay of circa 35k per annum which we will be paying for the next 30-40 years. And that Comdt was then wondering how it made financial sense to be spending 50million a year privatising the SAR service? Give me a break!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe View Post

    PS if the debate is left to a bunch of Colonels or Generals, as I suspect will happen, then there is no way that these people are going to vote for Christmas by talking themselves out of promotions that a streamlined Defence Force will entail.
    You have just summed up the entire public/civil service , army , navy , aer corps , gardai , fire service , county council , hse and every other state funded body you could care to mention.
    MANAGEMENT don't want change, cutting services or outsourcing at huge cost to the taxpayer is the only answer these people have. "Change , Change !! us change, My dear god never, my dear boy !"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
    But it made financial sense. By privatising the SAR role the State can dramatically cut long-term costs because it is not paying the pensions for hundreds of people who can retire after 21/30 years service, depending on when they entered service. There was a lot of moaning on the radio about the 500million cost of the 10 year SAR contract awarded recently. In fact I heard a retired AC Comdt on Matt Cooper decrying it. During the interview we learned that he retired after 23 years service. So that Comdt probably retired in his mid-40's at half pay of circa 35k per annum which we will be paying for the next 30-40 years. And that Comdt was then wondering how it made financial sense to be spending 50million a year privatising the SAR service? Give me a break!!
    That's all accepted, but it must be pointed out that that pension scheme doesn't apply to anyone inducted in the last 10 years. So new pilots and aircrews are not going to be retiring in their forties and drawing huge pensions forever. I didn't hear the interview but the Commandant was probably right in light of that fact.

    Spending 500 million on the AC would give the State a small fleet of exceptional aircraft and crews that would last well past the contract period of 10 years.

    When you see the expenditure on the States small navies you get the same picture.

    Genuinely there needs to be some joined up thinking in this Defence Review. It's ridiculous to look at Defence expenditure as being purely an Army affair. Funding from govt currently going to Coastguard & maritime duties needs to be allocated to the DF. And manpower within the DF needs to be focussed towards Coastguard functions. It's not a matter of spending more money. It's a matter of spending whats currently being spent in a more sensible way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
    I reckon we should aim at an overall PDF of circa 6,000 from today's almost 10,000. The balance between services is a matter of debate. I cannot see us requiring a Navy of 2500, but I can see a need of moving away from corvette and line vessels to fast attack/interception craft deployed along the coast. For the Aer Corps I think it is time to sh1t or get off the potty - either give them a fleet of modern fighters or just fold the Aer Corps into the Army as a helicopter lift wing. Saab are coming out with a new generation of Grippens that would suit the Aer Corps down to the ground. Also the government taxi service role needs to be ditched.

    For the Army themselves that should mean a full-time army element of just 4-4,500. This should then be supplemented by a strong, well trained reserve of circa 10-15,000 whose members can be co-opted into the PDF on short-term contracts, mainly for domestic roles, as need arises if the PDF finds itself stretched in foreign deployments.

    That to my mind is the Defence Force I would envision Ireland being capable of supplying into the future.

    PS if the debate is left to a bunch of Colonels or Generals, as I suspect will happen, then there is no way that these people are going to vote for Christmas by talking themselves out of promotions that a streamlined Defence Force will entail.
    I have to take issue with your post. It is clear you are unfamiliar with the role of the defence forces, you also appear unaware of things such as wind, waves and weather.
    • You suggest
      need of moving away from corvette and line vessels to fast attack/interception craft deployed along the coast..
      The opposite is the case. Fast attack/interceptor craft are useless on the west coast. Even more useless 200 miles off the west coast, where the NS does most of its work. You want larger vessels, that can stay out longer, in all weather. Fast attack are only useful in sheltered waters.
    • Secondly you mention the dreaded fighter jets for the air corps. For What? To fight who? More practical to provide the air corpse with aircraft capable of deploying overseas, or even being able to bring troops or equipment to overseas operations. And its a Gripen. We couldnt afford to buy one, never mind operate one. The priority is Maritime Patrol, and army transport. TP trainers are even a luxury we don't need. they train pilots to fly fast jets we dont have, or need.
    • The army/reserve combination you mention is fine in theory, but if the current army reserve cannot retain the 3000 or so it currently has, what hope is there to raise a strength of 15000. And what would you do with them then?


    The DF pulled a master stroke recently by appointing a Non Army general(air Corps) into a senior position of Deputy Chief of Staff. He can make cuts in all the army empires that were untouched by successive army generals, who were keen to look after their own. Hopefully they will continue this by appointing an army general to wake up the Clondalkin Flying club in Baldonnel.
    The Naval service, in contrast has been most progressive in being efficient with the resources the DoD provide for it. It will soon be under new leadership. Its management has pushed its members to provide the maximum availability of ships. With some of the ships over 30 years old, this has not been an easy task, but it has been achieved, and exceeded.

    The rest of the DF could learn from this example.

    We are an Island nation, whose only land border is with an economic ally. We do not need a large standing army. We are however surrounded by water, and have more territorial water than most european nations. The balance should be 5:3:3 and not 9:1:1 if you maintain current strength.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonpartyboy View Post
    You have just summed up the entire public/civil service , army , navy , aer corps , gardai , fire service , county council , hse and every other state funded body you could care to mention.
    MANAGEMENT don't want change, cutting services or outsourcing at huge cost to the taxpayer is the only answer these people have. "Change , Change !! us change, My dear god never, my dear boy !"
    I agree with you entirely, there has been entirely too much empire building. We've seen little fiefdoms springing up with little concern for the public purse or value for money. They are generally more concerned with nepotism and promotions than actually providing a service,

    This is why I see the Defence Review as being a golden opportunity to cut loads of fat throughout the public service and not just within the DF. It's time for somebody who cares about national expenditure on services to stop the duplication and multiplication which has taken root. Is there genuinely a need for all the agencies we've got currently providing the same service?

    Do we need the existing Coastguard?
    Do we need the C&E with their own fleet of vessels?
    Do we need the GS to have its own helis and boats?
    Does the DOT need to be hiring vessels?
    Do we need a fleet of narrow purpose research vessels?
    Do we need narrow purpose Irish lights vessels?
    Should we be contracting out Heli services?
    Do we need 8,500 fulltime (mainly infantry) soldiers?

    This is an opportunity for a grand cull and huge value for money benefits for the State.
    Alexander Suvorov: "The bullet is a fool, the bayonet is a fine chap."

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