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A review of the Implementation of the White Paper on Defence 2000 – 2005
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Executive Summary

The White Paper on Defence was published in February 2000. This was the first-ever White Paper on Defence and it set out the policy framework and development strategy for the period to 2010. The overall Government objective was to achieve affordable and sustainable Defence Forces capable of fulfilling the roles laid down by the Government: “A major objective (of the White Paper)is to ensure that Ireland has a world-class military organisation”, (Minister for Defence, foreword to the White Paper, February 2000).

In addition to confirming the roles of the Defence Forces and providing a policy framework, the White Paper set out specific recommendations for change, re-organisation and investment throughout the Defence organisation. The programme for development and change was directed at “the provision of Defence Forces organised, maintained and equipped on conventional military lines to ensure a defence capacity suited to current and contingent needs”. Achieving the appropriate balance between pay and non-pay investment was a key factor. Building on progress already underway on the development of Defence Forces capabilities, the aim was to have a sustainable world-class organisation, trained and equipped to deliver the roles laid down by Government. The White Paper mapped the way ahead for the management of the Defence organisation, including reserves, and for Civil Defence.

The ongoing modernisation of defence has coincided with the evolution of significant challenges. While the security threat is assessed as low, the international defence and security environment has changed appreciably since September 11, 2001 and subsequent terrorist actions worldwide. The asymmetric threat posed by Islamist extremism presents new challenges, especially to intelligence organisations, including military intelligence. In peace support missions, the UN has revised its policy and approach. International peace support missions are now more robust in nature and more complex. More precise requests for the commitment of interoperable, sustainable and operationally effective contingents have arisen under European Security and Defence Policy. The Government has decided that Ireland will participate in the Nordic EU battlegroup. It is prudent to assume that the rate of change in the general defence environment will continue to challenge defence agencies in the coming years.

Substantial progress has been made in implementing the White Paper. As set out in this review, most of the recommendations for change have been implemented or are being implemented according to agreed timetables. These include reductions in numbers, investment in equipment and infrastructure, continuous recruitment, the re-organisation of the Reserve, Civil Defence, etc. Other recommendations, such as civilianisation, require further work in order that progress can be made.

Arising from the White Paper and the implementation of the report “Response to the Challenge of a Workplace”, particular progress has been made in Human Resources development and management, the key resource area of the Defence organisation.

The policy framework set out by Government in the White Paper covers the period to 2010. Implementation of the White Paper recommendations is continuing. Capability is being evolved to meet known and emerging demands. The need to attract and retain suitable personnel as well as the delivery of modernisation and value for money, central issues in the Framework Partnership Agreement, are informing this process. In addition, the Defence organisation is responding to the changes in the defence and security environment and in the workplace. In doing so, it is drawing on the improvements in capability and effectiveness delivered by implementation of the White Paper.

Appropriate resources are crucial to successfully achieving the overall goals set by Government for defence. At a minimum, that requires a continuation of Government policy on the re-investment of payroll savings and the proceeds of property sales in the Defence Forces.

Related Publications
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The goal of this Green Paper (2013) is to initiate and inform a broad consultative process, which will in turn inform the development of a new White Paper on Defence. This new White Paper on Defence will set out Ireland’s Defence policy framework for the next decade.
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The Second Report of the Independent Monitoring Group

The Report is a review of progress made by the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) since the publication, in September 2004, of Response to the Challenge of a Workplace. This Report in 2008 represents the unanimous views of the IMG and includes observations and recommendations for future consideration and implementation.
5 April 2007
White Paper Review

A review of the Implementation of the White Paper on Defence 2000 – 2005

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