For Oral Answer on : 24/11/2022
Question Number(s): 44 Question Reference(s): 57630/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Defence when he expects the Defence Forces’ office of reserve affairs to be established; the proposed structure of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Deputy will be aware that the Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces (CODF), published last February, contains many detailed recommendations, including on the future structure and role of the RDF. As the Deputy will also be aware, in July of this year, I announced that the Government has approved a move to ‘Level of Ambition 2’ (LOA2), as set out in the capability framework by the Commission.
This will result in the Defence budget rising from €1.1 billion to €1.5 billion, in 2022 prices, by 2028, the largest increase in Defence funding in the history of the State. This will allow for the required substantial transformation and investment in recruitment and equipment that were identified by the Commission.
A High Level Action Plan (HLAP) that sets out the Government’s response to the CODF was also approved which centres on Five Core Areas and Associated Strategic Objectives –
1. Transformational change to modernise the Organisational Culture, its Human Resources Strategy and practices;
2. Reform High-level Command and Control and creation of a Joint Strategic Headquarters;
3. Reform and Restructure the Services;
4. Revitalise the Reserve Defence Force;
5. Joint Capability Development.
A High-Level Steering Board has been established, chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach, to oversee the implementation. An independently chaired Implementation Oversight Group has also been established to monitor the implementation of the recommendations approved by Government, and has met on two occasions.
In addition, a Civil/Military Implementation Management Office has been established. This office will support the implementation of the overall programme, initially focusing on some 38 Early Actions to be completed within six months of the Government decision as set out in the High Level Action Plan.
Those Early Actions include the establishment of an Office of Reserve Affairs with the priority objective of developing a Regeneration Plan for the Reserve Defence Force. As the Deputy will be aware, taking forward these Actions is a significant body of work, not least in terms of ensuring adequate resources are in place and obtaining the appropriate sanctions. In this regard, I am aware that military management and the Department are working intensely to meet the ambitious targets set out in the Action Plan.
I wish to assure the Deputy that that the Government remains fully committed to the advancement of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) and the establishment of the Office of Reserve Affairs. The development of a Regeneration Plan will be a key step in this endeavour.