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            Partnership for Peace (PfP) Individual Partnership Programme

Ireland 2002-2003

1. Introduction

1.1 The priority areas for cooperation in PfP are set out in Ireland’s Presentation Document as follows: I. Cooperation in Peacekeeping; II. Humanitarian Operations; III. Search and Rescue; IV. Cooperation in the protection of the Environment. V. Cooperation in Marine matters.

1.2 Ireland’s first Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) covered the period up to 31 December 2001. This second IPP seeks to give practical content to the overall priorities identified in the Presentation Document, while taking account of the Partnership Goals chosen by Ireland for participation in PARP. In accordance with the fundamental principle of self-differentiation, all decisions regarding the content and form of this IPP for 2002-2003 have been made by the Irish authorities.

 2. Ireland’s security and defence policy

2.1 The White Paper on Defence, published in February 2000, provides a medium term policy framework within which Defence policy can evolve to set out a clear strategy for the next ten years. It sets out the strategy for the management and organisation of defence for the next decade with a view to ensuring an appropriate level of defence capability having regard to the changing defence and security environment both at home and abroad.


2.2 Ireland’s commitment to collective security is pursued through the United Nations which has the primary role to play in the maintenance of international peace and security. European security architecture is in a process of transition in which all of the organisations involved, including the European Union (EU), are adapting themselves to the new realities and are engaging in detailed co-operation.


2.3 The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) under the Treaty of Amsterdam encompasses a new role for the EU in the areas of humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking, known as Petersberg Tasks. Participation in Petersberg Tasks will not affect Ireland’s long-standing policy of military neutrality. The challenges which the EU is seeking to address in its European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) relate essentially to peacekeeping and crisis management. PfP and its Planning and Review Process (PARP) is of importance in facilitating planning and co-operation for Petersberg Tasks. From Ireland’s perspective, participation in any EU level response would only arise where a UN mandate is in place.


2.4 The participation by the Defence Forces in this emerging environment is an important element of Ireland’s capacity to influence events in a way which is sensitive to this country’s needs and consonant with its policy of military neutrality. Ireland does not intend to become a member of NATO. Ireland’s decision to participate in PfP is in full accordance with Ireland’s policy of military neutrality which has always been pursued in tandem with full and active support for collective security, based on international law.


2.5 Ireland agrees with the basic concept of PfP: that stability and security in the Euro- Atlantic area can be achieved only through cooperation and common action. Ireland shares the stated values fundamental to PfP, set out in the Framework Document including protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and human rights, and safeguarding of freedom, justice and peace through democracy. In joining PfP, Ireland, in common with other PfP nations, reaffirms its commitment to fulfil in good faith the obligations of the United Nations Charter, and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Equally, Ireland reaffirms its commitment to the Helsinki Final Act and all subsequent documents of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


3. Planning and Review Process (PARP)

Ireland joined the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) in 2001. An interim package of 34 Partnership Goals has been chosen with a view to enhancing interoperability with our PfP Partners in such areas as tactics, operational cohesion, logistics and communications. The aim is to create the conditions in which different contingents can work together efficiently and effectively in multinational peace support operations. Ireland wishes to contribute its UN peacekeeping experience by playing an active part in humanitarian, rescue, peacekeeping and crisis management tasks - the Petersberg Tasks - in support of the European Union’s CFSP. Ireland sees PfP in general, and the PARP in particular, as having a significant role to play in cooperation and planning for participation in such tasks.


4. PfP Management Arrangements

Ireland has established a Liaison Office based at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and has assigned a number of officials both civilian and military to that office. In addition, officials across a number of Government Departments have been specifically involved in developing a response to the PfP agenda. PfP management arrangements, including for PARP, will be reviewed on an ongoing basis in the light of experience.


5. Democratic Control of the Defence Forces

5.1 The Constitution of Ireland vests supreme command of the Defence Forces in the President and also provides that the exercise of such command shall be regulated by law. The governing legislation is contained in the Defence Acts 1954-98 which provide that military command of, and all executive and administrative powers in relation to, the Defence Forces, including the power to delegate command and authority, shall be exercisable by the Government and through and by the Minister for Defence.

5.2 Under the Defence Acts, 1954-98, the Department has civil and military elements. The civil element is headed by the Secretary General and the military element by the Chief of Staff. Both elements are critical to the management of defence. Under the Ministers and Secretaries Act, the Minister is head of the Department and the Secretary General is the "principal officer" of the Department. As such, the Secretary General is the Minister's principal policy adviser. Accounting procedures in relation to the expenditure of public funds, including expenditure on Defence, are governed by the Exchequer and Audit Department Act, 1866 and the Comptroller and Auditor General Act, 1993. The Secretary General is the Accounting Officer for the Vote for Defence (which includes all military expenditure) and is accountable to the Committee of Public Accounts of the Parliament for expenditure from the Vote.

5.3 Military command is delegated by the Minister directly to the General Officers Commanding each of the three territorial brigades, the Defence Forces Training Centre and the Air Corps and to the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service. Each of these officers is responsible to the Minister for the exercise of the command delegated to him. In practice, matters in relation to command are normally channelled through the Chief of Staff and this position will be maintained. In effect this means that day to day operational control of the Defence Forces rests with the Chief of Staff for which he is directly responsible to the Minister.

5.4 The present top management structure of the Defence Forces is of relatively recent origin. It is based on legislation enacted in 1998 arising from the Defence Forces Review Implementation Plan (1996-98). Previously, the military element of the Department of Defence comprised three military branches, the heads of which had a direct reporting relationship with the Minister. This arrangement was replaced by a unified Defence Forces Headquarters headed by the Chief of Staff. Certain statutory duties in connection with the business of the Defence Forces are assigned to the Chief of Staff, the performance of which he is directly responsible to the Minister for Defence. The Chief of Staff is the principal military adviser to the Minister. His assigned duties emphasise his responsibility for the effectiveness, efficiency and military organisation and economy of the Defence Forces. The focus of the Chief of Staff is also directed towards the overall planning of the development of the Defence Forces and to decisions on major strategic issues affecting the organisation. Subject to the approval of the Minister, the Chief of Staff, in turn, delegates duties to the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) and Deputy Chief of Staff (Support).


6. Bilateral Education and Training Opportunities

6.1 In relation to bilateral education and training opportunities, Ireland has developed a flexible and effective working relationship between the Defence Forces and foreign military academies which accommodates requirements for officer and non commissioned officer (nco) education and training. A formal exchange programme exists with the United States in relation to senior officer education at Command and Staff Course level and senior officers have undertaken senior staff courses in France, Germany and the UK. On a case by case basis Irish Defence Forces personnel will continue to attend selected courses in military establishments abroad. Places have been made available at the Irish Defence Forces Training Centre to facilitate officer and other command and staff training for other countries. Located at the Defence Forces Training Centre, the United Nations Training School Ireland was developed to attain best standards in officer, nco and private soldier training and education in peacekeeping and peace support doctrine, tactics and operations. In addition to meeting a Defence Forces need, it shares its expertise with many nations. This takes the form of conducting United Nations Military Observers and Staff Officers Courses.


6.2 Civil Defence will work actively with partners to share information and training in relevant topics. Civil Defence has developed links with Emergency Planning authorities in other states including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, UK and USA. These ongoing links will continue.


7. Objectives of Ireland’s participation in PfP

Ireland’s approach to participation in PfP was set out in the Presentation Document of 1December 1999 and the five priority areas of Cooperation on International Peacekeeping; Humanitarian operations; Search and Rescue; Cooperation in the protection of the Environment and Cooperation in Marine Matters. Ireland’s objectives for participation in PfP include:


To promote the development of a just and peaceful international society based on the rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

To foster democratic control of armed forces internationally

To contribute to development of best practice in the areas of international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

To enhance the capabilities of military officers, civil servants and diplomats engaged in the shaping and executing of security and defence policies.

To enhance the capabilities, including the area of interoperability, of Ireland’s Defence Forces for peacekeeping, preventative and crisis management operations under UN mandates.

To enhance the capabilities of Ireland’s Defence Forces, Civil Defence and other relevant organisations to contribute to the areas of civil emergency planning.

To share information and expertise particularly in the area of international peacekeeping, arms control, civil emergency planning, humanitarian operations, search and rescue, scientific and environmental issues.


8. Policy Parameters

8.1 This is Ireland’s second IPP which has been drawn up on the basis of experience gained with the initial IPP in 2001 and takes account of the 34 Partnership Goals chosen as part of the PARP process. Ireland’s policy approach will continue to be developed in the light of ongoing experience.

8.2 The broad approach and the associated list of proposed activities represent an indicative list which allow for adjustment based on policy development and the availability of financial and other resources.

9. International Peacekeeping

Overall approach

9.1 The main focus for Ireland’s participation in PfP derives from our considerable experience in the area of international peacekeeping.

9.2 The White Paper on Defence details Ireland’s overall approach to contributing to international peace support operations. Ireland has a practical as well as a principled interest in the maintenance of international peace and security in Europe and further afield. Ireland’s defence policy will seek to reflect this strategic interest.

9.3 The roles of the Defence Forces give specific recognition to participation in international peace support operations. In this regard, Ireland is committed to the provision of Defence Forces organised, maintained and equipped on conventional military lines.

9.4 Since 1958, Irish peacekeepers and military observers have participated in some 51,000 individual tours of duty involving 64 different missions. Based on this experience, Ireland is prepared to participate in and contribute to cooperation in the PfP framework in such areas as generic planning for peacekeeping and peace support, communications, command and control, operational procedures, logistics and training.

9.5 At present Ireland subscribes to the United Nations Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS) under which the State offers to provide up to 850 personnel on overseas service at any given time. This is an expression of policy intent and not a binding commitment. There is no obligation to participate in any particular mission and the approval of Ireland’s parliament (Dáil Éireann) is required for the dispatch of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to specific operations.

9.6 In the context of the PfP Planning and Review Process, Ireland has indicated that it can make available, on a case-by-case basis, one infantry company group, increasing to a battalion group, for PfP activities once the unit meets NATO standards by the end of 2003. Ireland has also offered a voluntary contribution towards the EU ‘Headline Goal’, including a light infantry battalion and other elements.

9.7 The White Paper on Defence indicates that the aim will be to maintain the overall UNSAS commitment of 850 for the present. A pragmatic approach is required having regard to the broad range of operational demands, and the availability of personnel and the appropriateness of Ireland participating in missions. It will always be the case that domestic national security needs will come first in relation to the deployment of troops and overseas commitments must be kept at a level which is consistent with the domestic situation.

9.8 As the White Paper on Defence also makes clear, humanitarian activities represent an important continuing element of the Defence Forces contribution overseas. Humanitarian tasks go hand-in-hand with military tasks in many crisis situations. The multi-functional nature of UN peacekeeping in recent years calls for a considerable degree of co-operation in the humanitarian aspects of peacekeeping. Ireland is of the view that PfP can provide a framework in which practice in this area can be further developed.


Multinational formations

9.9 The location and number of personnel involved in international peace support operations is as set out in Table 1 below.

9.10 The provision of assets which could be made available for PfP activities, subject to national decisions in each case, will be *based on the accompanying indicative Partnership Work Programme of this IPP. The Presentation Document indicated that Defence Forces assets for training, education and exercise purposes could include an infantry company group - leading to an infantry battalion group, battalion staff elements, specialist detachments, for example, engineers, logisticians and exchange personnel; and that facilities available for peacekeeping cooperation in the PfP context could include the UN Training School Ireland at the Curragh and a limited training area. The overall provision of assets, based on the indicative work programme, will be kept under review having regard to developments generally in relation to overseas peace support operations particularly at the European level and Ireland’s participation in PARP.


10. Collaboration on Civil Emergency Planning and related areas

The main area of civil defence interest is that of Civil Emergency Planning, but certain topics in Crisis Management, Medical Services, Nuclear Biological and Chemical issues, Humanitarian Mine Action, etc., will be of interest.



Table 1

Defence Forces Peace Support Commitments - October 2001


No. Deployed
UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon)

KFOR (United Nations Security Force in Kosovo)

SFOR (Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina)

UNTAET (United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor)

OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe)

EUMM (European Union Monitor Mission)

UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) Israel, Syria, Lebanon.

MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in the Western Sahara)

UNFICYP (United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus)

UNIKOM (United Nations Iraq Kuwait Observer Mission)

UNMIK (United Nations Mission Interim Administration in Kosovo)

UNNY (United Nations Headquarters New York)

UNMOP (United Nations Military Observer Mission - Prevlaka)

UNMEE (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea

MONUC (United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Number of Personnel


Related Publications
13 September 2002
Individual Partnership Program

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