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  • Another giggle from the Sunday Indo


    Defence Forces have become 'Dad's Army'

    As new brigadier general,57, appointed, concerns expressed that average age of senior officers now reaches 50-plus

    By JOHN DRENNAN and JEROME REILLY
    Sunday December 23 2007


    The Irish army's top ranks have become a "Dad's Army" with the average age of Ireland's senior officers above 50 and rising.

    The figures reveal the average age of lieutenant generals is 60.88 years
    Our major generals come in at 60.11 years while brigadier generals come in at 57.49 years.
    Colonels, lieutenant colonels, sergeant majors and brigade quartermasters also came in above the 50-year age barrier.
    When it comes to Ireland's officer class you have to reach the rank of company sergeant (48.9) and company quartermaster (49.39) before the 50-year barrier isn't reached.
    However, even our sergeants are 43.01 years old while the average age at which troops get the two stripes of the rank of corporal is 36.81 years, Deputy Barry Andrews has learned.
    Though Defence Minister Willie O'Dea noted that "age and experience" should play a critical role in any armed forces Mr Andrews told the Sunday Independent he was "concerned about the age profile".
    He noted that whilst experience "should be respected; there was a bit of a Dads Army hue about all of this and that perhaps people should recall that Napoleon was not even 40 by the time he conquered Europe".
    In its latest senior appointment the Army's director of operations has been promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
    General Sean McCann (57) will immediately take up his new post as officer commanding the Defence Forces training centre at the Curragh, replacing Major General Dave Ashe.
    A native of Cork, General McCann, has also served as director of cavalry and personal staff officer to the chief of staff. He has served five times overseas, including two trips to Lebanon.
    His appointment came as the Government announced that Irish peacekeeping troops are to remain in Bosnia for another year.
    The Cabinet last week approved a proposal by Mr O'Dea to extend the involvement of a contingent from the Defence Forces in the EU-led mission until at least December 2008.
    There are 40 Irish personnel serving in Bosnia.
    But the mission to Chad continues to be delayed. Defence Forces engineers are buying new equipment to cope with more than 40-centigrade heat in Chad, but no date has yet been set for the deployment.
    The EU's 4,000-strong force, led by Irish General Pat Nash, is still waiting for EU nations to pledge sufficient helicopters and aircraft to support the peacekeepers.
    The lack of resources has meant the deployment of up to 450 Irish soldiers to Chad and the Central African Republic has been delayed.
    "Our troops were ready to go in December but the delay is due to the lack of other strategic enablers (helicopters) outside Ireland's control," a Defence Forces spokesman said.
    Army Rangers will lead the way to Chad and a transport aircraft for them and their heavily armed Ford F-350 4x4 vehicles has already been arranged.
    The Rangers will carry out reconnaissance and act as force protection for Irish Army engineers building the Irish camp in Chad.
    "The helicopters which are needed are Puma-type transports as well as tactical airlifters like the C-130 Hercules," the Defence Forces spokesman said.
    The UN's planned 25,000-strong force in neighbouring Darfur is also seeking transport and attack helicopters before it can deploy, reports said this week.
    The Army is seeking tenders for the supply of a soft terrain 20-tonne fork truck, able to lift 20ft containers in rough terrain and soft ground, in an accelerated procedure because of imminent deployment overseas.
    - JOHN DRENNAN and JEROME REILLY

    Would it be possible for Independent Newspapers to send it's employees on a military familiarisation course.


    The Irish army's top ranks have become a "Dad's Army" with the average age of Ireland's senior officers above 50 and rising.
    This is not news. There hasn't been a senior officer under age 50 since the Civil War.

    sergeant majors and brigade quartermasters
    If one wanted to be grammatically pedantic, and one does, it's Sergeants-Major and there is no such animal as a "brigade quartermaster".

    When it comes to Ireland's officer class you have to reach the rank of company sergeant (48.9) and company quartermaster (49.39) before the 50-year barrier isn't reached.
    Company Sergeants and Company Quartermaster Sergeants are not "officer class". They work for a living.

    while the average age at which troops get the two stripes of the rank of corporal is 36.81 years
    No it isn't. The average age of a Corporal might be 36.81 years but very few soldiers of that age would be on a Potential NCO's course.

    He noted that whilst experience "should be respected; there was a bit of a Dads Army hue about all of this and that perhaps people should recall that Napoleon was not even 40 by the time he conquered Europe".
    Yes, Mr Andrews but in the Napoleonic Wars the high attrition rate created vast opportunities for promotion so your analogy is bullsh!t. Any person of reasonable intelligence would have worked out that the delay in promotion in a peacetime army is caused by a glut as large numbers of career officers strive for fewer and fewer vacancies as they advance through the rank structure. This problem was supposed to have been solved two decades ago by the introduction of short service commissions. But the DF refused to implement the idea.
    Groundhog
    Chief of the Diet Tribe
    Last edited by Groundhog; 23 December 2007, 21:59.
    sigpic
    Say NO to violence against Women

    Originally posted by hedgehog
    My favourite moment was when the
    Originally posted by hedgehog
    red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

  • #2
    it took 2 of them to write it too...
    You're even dumber than I tell people

    You might have been infected but you never were a bore

    Comment


    • #3
      Ideal ages (according to Price Waterhouse):

      Private: 19 - 25
      SNCO: 33 - 50 (depending on rank)

      Commandant rank achievable at age 36, max 40
      Lt Colonel rank acheivable after 23 to max 28 years service

      Various reports & studies recommended the introduction of short service commissions (as more junior officers are required than senior officers and not everyone will get promoted.)

      Retiring Ages for officers (and capping (max period in rank) is as follows):
      Capt - 53
      Comdt - 55
      Lt Col - 57 (8 yrs in rank)
      Col - 59 (5 yrs in rank)
      Brig Gen - 60 (5 yrs in rank)
      Maj Gen - 61 (5 yrs in rank)
      Lt Gen - 62 (5 yrs in rank)
      Last edited by DeV; 23 December 2007, 23:38.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DeV View Post
        Ideal ages (according to Price Waterhouse):

        Private: 19 - 25
        SNCO: 33 - 50 (depending on rank)
        What about JNCOs? Cpls should be in the same age bracket as Ptes more or less and they are starting to get promoted to Sgt about the age of 30 now which is great. After that it's dead stop because the SNCOs are gonna be there for 20 years or so. Also the plan to discharge Ptes after 5 years was abandoned so now the age profile is starting to creep up again as people who don't want to be NCOs are getting signed on again and again.

        Originally posted by DeV View Post
        Commandant rank achievable at age 36, max 40
        Lt Colonel rank acheivable after 23 to max 28 years service

        Various reports & studies recommended the introduction of short service commissions (as more junior officers are required than senior officers and not everyone will get promoted.)
        Won't happen because of below...

        Originally posted by DeV View Post
        Retiring Ages for officers (and capping (max period in rank) is as follows):
        Capt - 53
        Comdt - 55
        Lt Col - 57 (8 yrs in rank)
        Col - 59 (5 yrs in rank)
        Brig Gen - 60 (5 yrs in rank)
        Maj Gen - 61 (5 yrs in rank)
        Lt Gen - 62 (5 yrs in rank)
        This is more or less the existing situation. Mandatory retirement for Captain at 53 by which time he will have held the rank for 30 years. Right.
        sigpic
        Say NO to violence against Women

        Originally posted by hedgehog
        My favourite moment was when the
        Originally posted by hedgehog
        red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Big Al View Post
          it took 2 of them to write it too...
          I'm not surprised. It reads like it was composed in a taxi on the way home from the office party.

          By the way why are the FF backbenchers tabling nuisance MQs about the DF. This is the second in recent weeks. There's easier ways to get your names in the papers boys.
          sigpic
          Say NO to violence against Women

          Originally posted by hedgehog
          My favourite moment was when the
          Originally posted by hedgehog
          red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Groundhog View Post
            What about JNCOs?
            It didn't give the ages so I can't say.


            Cpls should be in the same age bracket as Ptes more or less and they are starting to get promoted to Sgt about the age of 30 now which is great. After that it's dead stop because the SNCOs are gonna be there for 20 years or so.
            Hence part of the reason for CFR / Pot Officers Cse or what they are calling it.

            Also the plan to discharge Ptes after 5 years was abandoned so now the age profile is starting to creep up again as people who don't want to be NCOs are getting signed on again and again.
            Because PDFORRA kicked up a fuss. Max a private can serve is 12 years (the one exception to the 5 year contract is apprentices who sign on to complete 9 years not 5).

            In comparsion, British Army privates sign on to complete 4.5 years (untill age 22 for those under 18 on enlistment). They have to decide a year in advance if you want to leave. If they want to stay they can stay up to 22 years!
            Last edited by DeV; 24 December 2007, 01:31.

            Comment


            • #7
              Max a private can serve is 12 years (the one exception to the 5 year contract is apprentices who sign on to complete 9 years not 5).
              Wrong.Both Jncos AND ptes can serve to 21 years once they fulfill all the criteria.To get past that you must be qualified for promotion to sgt.Sgt's on the post 94 contract retire at 50.SNCO's retire at 56
              "Let us be clear about three facts. First, all battles and all wars are won in the end by the infantryman. Secondly, the infantryman always bears the brunt. His casualties are heavier, he suffers greater extremes of discomfort and fatigue than the other arms. Thirdly, the art of the infantryman is less stereotyped and far harder to acquire in modern war than that of any other arm." ------- Field Marshall Wavell, April 1945.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DeV View Post
                Hence part of the reason for CFR / Pot Officers Cse or what they are calling it.
                Not a very good plan either. The Pot Officer's course has a max age limit of 45 and I know of at least one Cpl on it.

                Originally posted by DeV View Post
                Because PDFORRA kicked up a fuss. Max a private can serve is 12 years...
                No a Pte can go all the way to 21 years and a lot of them are doing so.
                sigpic
                Say NO to violence against Women

                Originally posted by hedgehog
                My favourite moment was when the
                Originally posted by hedgehog
                red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

                Comment


                • #9
                  This was because there was a recent PQ outlining the ages by year creeping up [ go search, it's fun ]

                  I was thinking about posting this when it came out, but the OP and the posts have raised my own anxieties.... Are we not on a slippery slope that VER and the PWC report took ages to even try and make inroads on...
                  "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

                  "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by trellheim View Post
                    This was because there was a recent PQ outlining the ages by year creeping up [ go search, it's fun ]

                    I was thinking about posting this when it came out, but the OP and the posts have raised my own anxieties.... Are we not on a slippery slope that VER and the PWC report took ages to even try and make inroads on...
                    The original post was supposed to take the piss out of Drennan and Reilly pontificating in their blasted ignorance.

                    The VER did a good job of clearing the upper decks of the NCO ranks. God bless it, only for the VER, I'd probably still be a Cpl. However the VER wasn't entirely successful because it wasn't availed of by lots of lads who have now become oldish soldiers and who can serve until age 60. Somebody joining the DF now is elected because in 15 to 20 years time the last of the Old Brigade will be reaching mandatory retirement, creating SNCO vacancies. Unfortunately today's young Sgts have reached a block in their career path.

                    On the otehr side of the coin the VER did nothing to sort out the problems in commissioned ranks. And the DF has done nothing about it either. All Lts spend their time in University and Company and Battalion Commanders are still too old to lead troops in battle.
                    sigpic
                    Say NO to violence against Women

                    Originally posted by hedgehog
                    My favourite moment was when the
                    Originally posted by hedgehog
                    red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It strikes me that there is a very long wait for a captain to become a commandant. Compare this to them across the water, where one can expect to be a major in your early 30s, or even over the big pond, where a certain IMO member who only got commissioned earlier this decade, is soon to become Captain.

                      You'll only get the right people for the job if their ambition can be satisfied. There are a lot of very successful ex captains doing very well in Civvy street.


                      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That is because both those armies have an "up-or-out" policy all the way to Lt-Gen as far as I know

                        i.e. if you're not promoted to the next rank on merit within 4-5 years then yer out to make room for the next man [ or woman ].

                        Yes it's a balance to lose the experience or keep the force young.

                        Colin Powell's autobiog discusses some of this
                        "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

                        "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What is the wait between promotions for Officers - I understand its about 2 years as a 2/Lt and 5 years as a Lt, is that correct?
                          "Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper"
                          Gen. Robert E. Lee

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                          • #14
                            it is fixed term usually.

                            Capt->Comdt is the first big 'on merit' hurdle.
                            "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

                            "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As the old joke goes, what do you call a PDF Captain that can't find a job on civvy street?

                              Commandant.

                              (Odds that the content of this post will be reproduced in the Sunday Indeperdant, even though none of them would understand it?)
                              Barry
                              Lt General
                              Last edited by Barry; 24 December 2007, 13:50.

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