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Value for Money (VFM) Review of the Reserve Defence Force

and Reorganisation of the Reserve Defence Force.

Press Release by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence

Mr. Alan Shatter T.D.

20 November 2012

The Minister for Defence has accepted the recommendations of A Value for Money (VFM) Review of the Reserve Defence Force The Reserve Defence Force is comprised of the First Line Reserve, the Army Reserve (formerly an FCÁ) and the Naval Service Reserve (formerly an Slua Muirí).. The Minister has also accepted the proposed re-organisation of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) arising in response to the VFM Review.

The Minister said: “The measures announced today set out a clear, realistic and viable direction for the future of the Reserve. A “Single Force” concept is at the heart of the new organisation. Permanent and Reserve Units will have closer working relations with Permanent Defence Force Units now having dedicated Reserve components, This will facilitate more effective training and improve capability into the future. Reservists will also have more opportunities to give practical assistance, in a voluntary unpaid capacity. Consolidation in a smaller number of locations has facilitated the retention of a countrywide presence. While the closure of many RDF locations is regrettable, the findings of the VFM and the reality of the resources available demanded reform. The Government values and appreciates the voluntary service of active members of the Reserve. The steps now being taken aim to ensure a viable Reserve that is appropriate for our requirements.

Commenting on the recommendations of the report, Lieutenant General Sean Mc Cann Chief of Staff said:

“I am acutely aware of the key strengths of the Reserve Defence Forces and the exceptional calibre and dedication of its members. Their contribution in terms of community volunteerism and military support to the State is significant. In order to guarantee the future viability of the Reserve, a radical and fundamental re-organisation is required in line with what is being implemented for the Permanent Defence Forces. When fully implemented, this plan will deliver a more effective Force who’s Permanent Soldiers are supported as appropriate by a credible and fit for purpose Reserve, as a single force.”

Note for Editors:

The VFM Review of the Reserve Defence Force was undertaken by an independently chaired Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The full text of the Value for Money Review of the Reserve Defence Force can be viewed on the Department of Defence website

Revised organisational structures for the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve were prepared by a joint Civil-Military Group that had previously prepared the re-organisation proposals for the Permanent Defence Force. These were agreed by the Secretary General and Chief of Staff and approved by the Minister for Defence.

The key findings and response to the recommendations relating to a re-organisation of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve are set out below.

Key Issues identified in the VFM

The estimated costs associated with the Reserve Defence Force for 2012 stands at €22m. The annual cost of the Reserve peaked at €35.9 million in 2008 and had been reduced to €23.4 million in 2011. Implementation of the VFM will not only result in a more capable and better trained RDF, but will also effect an annual saving estimated at €11m.

The VFM Review concluded that retaining the existing organisational structures of the RDF was no longer sustainable or viable.

At 4,554 personnel, the number of members of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve deemed effective at the end of 2011 was less than half that for which the organisation was designed. In October 2005 new organisational structures were introduced for the RDF based on a strength of 9,692 personnel. However, at no time from 2006 onwards has this strength level been attainable.

Of these 4,554 in turn, the review found that approximately half were not undertaking the training necessary to maintain required capability. In 2011, only 2,010 members of the Reserve participated in the unpaid and 7 days paid training required to maintain necessary capabilities and these members were also paid a gratuity at an average cost of €352 per individual.

These factors led the Steering Committee to recommend that the Reserve be re-organised with a smaller number of full strength Units.

Recommendation regarding re-organisation

The Steering Committee recommended an Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve based on a total strength ceiling of 4,000 personnel, (3,800 personnel Army Reserve and 200 personnel Naval Service Reserve), subject to existing organisational structures being revised.

In order to provide sufficient paid training days to sustain this strength, the Steering Committee recommended the withdrawal of gratuities from members of the Reserve and a re-allocation of the budgetary provision for gratuities of €0.9 million to provide sufficient paid training days for members of the Reserve.

Key points are:

· A new “Single Force” concept will see PDF Units having Reserve components, rather than a separate stand-alone Reserve.

· A geographic spread for the Reserve will be achieved between existing Permanent Defence Force locations and the retention of 16 external locations. The locations of the new Reserve Units are set out on the attached map. This consolidation into an effective organisation will entail the amalgamation and closure of Units throughout the country. Recruitment is also envisaged where this is necessary to achieve the numbers required in particular locations.

· The strength of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve will be reduced from its current 4,500 personnel to 4,069 personnel. This will be achieved through natural turnover. Implementation of the new organisational structures will require participation and flexibility from existing Reserve personnel.

· The Naval Service Reserve of 200 personnel and be based in four locations. The locations of the new Reserve Units are set out on the attached map.

· The number of PDF personnel available to work full-time with the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve is being reduced from the current 261 PDF personnel to 57 full time PDF personnel. Additional support will be provided from PDF Units.

· Implementation of the re-organisation, including regulatory provision for the new Reserve organisation, will be progressed in tandem with the broader re-organisation of the PDF. As with the PDF, there will be an implementation process to achieve the transition from current structures to the new structures. In the intervening period, the military authorities will ensure the continuity of Reserve training.


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