Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Commission on the Defence Forces - Reserve Discussion

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Commission on the Defence Forces - Reserve Discussion

    We have a Commission on the Defence Forces incoming and I thought I’d put my views to paper and see if I can illicit any opinion or discussion. I’m from the reserve and specifically NSR side of the house. That’s thus the focus of my commentary. This could get long winded!

    The points referring specifically to the reserve in announcement are as follows:

    • The Commission will consider and recommend the appropriate structure and size of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). This will encompass consideration of appropriate capabilities, structures and staffing for the Army, and its brigade structure, the Air Corps and the Naval Service along with the appropriate balance and disposition of personnel and structures across a joint force approach in the land, air, maritime, cyber, intelligence and space domains.
    • With regard to the RDF, the Commission will consider a wide range of options and will make recommendations to better leverage the capabilities of the RDF in their supports to the PDF and to make service in the RDF a more attractive option.

    At a high level, I can see any reorganisation of the RDF going two directions. Single force concept applying to both.
    - A reorganisation as occurred a decade ago which essentially just moves around the chess pieces with no additional resources.
    - A reorganisation that provides the reserve with significant additional resourcing. Increasing this by multiples would still result in only a very fractional increase in defence spending.

    What do we want from the Reserve?


    As things stand – the RDF lacks direction or a sense of purpose. Should we be focussed on aid to civil power tasks or should we be providing a structure which can be expanded upon in case of hostilities? I see two potential options here.
    We either become a source of local defence combat power which lines up well with the large number of infantry units within the AR and the port security role of the NSR. The other option is to move towards a role where the RDF could provide more ‘tail’ if the DF ever needed to increase in size. That would mean rerolling units into the support arms. Converting infantry and cavalry to transport, engineering and CIS. This could synergise nicely with reservists’ civilian skills.

    A key change would be providing these units over time with their own organic assets, so they supplement DF capabilities. An RDF transport company with light trucks could prove especially useful during any of the ACP taskings that seem to have become more prevalent recently – transport during Covid, storms or flooding. I say decide what we want from the reserve and equip it to complete the role.
    Reserve units could provide additional capability that wouldn’t be efficient to maintain on a full-time basis but would provide fantastic surge capability for the state.

    Training

    Training is key. This would need to be provided at least to the level that our nearest neighbours do in the UK with structured courses run on a well-resourced basis. Modularity could help but reservists would need to accept that 2–3-week FTT may be required to get some serious training done. People are busy and often it is easier just to book 2 weeks off (6 months in advance and not 6 weeks) rather than manage over 4-5 weekends. We all know how many drop outs you encounter running training on weekends.

    Courses to be organised and planned with a calendar available every January 1st with courses taking place in Q1 and into Q2 having time at least set aside before that. Example: Have two large Mod 2B driving courses each year for the reserve with one run as week long course and the other modular. If selected for the course, you can choose which suits depending on availability.

    Resourcing would be exceptionally important. More PDF staff once again allocated to facilitate greater support and training. I know the PDF has its own retention issues but I’m assuming that this Commission will hopefully largely remedy those.

    The RDF needs to get to a level where it is taken seriously by the public and the PDF. I know there are diligent and professional members on this board, but we know the organisation is very much a mixed bag when it comes to commitment and ability.

    Keeping joiners in and engaged

    We aren’t in the 80s or 90s anymore and there are far more outlets for young people. We must provide an excellent value proposition where the organisation retains joiners rather than the sliding door recruitment of the past where many just appeared for 2-3 Summers and disappeared. There will be always be those who just want to join for a short time but units need to be manned by more than just a small core of die hards with recruits and privates just being transient. We need to retain privates and JNCOs for years if possible.

    How do we do this? More and better structured and resourced training. Remuneration is also key here, however. I strongly believe that all activities need to be paid for once they are being performed in a planned and structured manner. Pay to be maintained at PDF level without MSA. Increments allowed but at far lower rate than PDF. One increment, every 4/5 years?

    Fitness Testing on a Sunday – One day’s pay.
    TOETs in advance of a range on a Saturday – One day’s pay.
    Parade night – One quarter day’s pay.

    It’s small money in the grand scheme of things and just adds that little added incentive that might keep a younger person 18-22 engaged.

    The gratuity needs to come back but it should have a high barrier to receive.
    - 19 days plus man days completed for year.
    - ALL KPIs up to date including fitness test. No exceptions.
    - Doesn’t include man days for attending parade nights.
    - Must include at least 7 days FTT unit training a or a course.
    - All other days can add to total.

    Final Points


    R5 to be either completely overhauled or just replaced. It’s not fit for purpose and lacks in far too many areas where it falls down especially with regards promotions and removal of those not contributing.
    We could provide for a proper merit-based promotion system which could be centralised and semi outside of local unit level. The RDF is full of dead wood that and we should be easily able to remove non performers whether they have 20 years behind them as an NCO or a commission. If they can’t pass a LIFE test or aren’t turning up, they should be gone. Maintaining numbers for appearances should stop and dealt with harshly when found to have occurred.

    Finally, we need to be equipped better at the personal level. My scale of issue is currently one set of GDR (Naval Service working dress). If I hadn’t ‘acquired’ a second set, I would have found myself on FTT on a patrol with only a single uniform. That’s ridiculous as I would have struggled to wash the set I had and maintain my availability. The same goes for other issued kit asides ordnance. I should have the same kit as a PDF sailor when I join a ship or go on a course. Concerns about issuing kit to those who will just leave the following year could be remedied by issuing this in a phased manner once they have proven their worth to the RDF with time served and KPIs etc met.

    I think we could and should look at the British Army Reserve and the RNR as potential models? I don’t see why we couldn’t achieve the level they are at (I know they also have flaws) with a lot of extra resourcing and a few years effort. Part of me thinks we would be as well off just to disband the RDF if we just receive some lip service and vague promises of more training time after this commission. We need to be a functioning reserve in our totality rather than mixed back of semi-professionals, hobbyists and those there for social reasons.

    There are my ramblings on the issue anyway and I would also like to strongly state that I believe the PDF should rightly dominate this Commission and their concerns are of the upmost priority. I just hope there is some space for the RDF in this review.

  • #2
    I have recently come to the conclusion that the local centres need to be brought back. Not necessarily as a full parade room, but at least a manned office of some sort.
    My opinion is that recruitment to the reserve and PDF has suffered because the organisation is only available to those who are IT savvy.
    A physical presence in the larger towns would act as a better point of contact to those who do not frequent social media, who are probably the people the DF needs more than the Facebook addicts.
    The guys working on building sites, feeding cattle, driving delivery vans, won't have the time to browse the Internet to see when the next recruitment drive is.
    However if there was a DF office open by day with simple things like notice boards telling how to apply or once a week operating a drop in office for anyone interested in a military career, whether permanent or reserve?
    I just think that the DF has become lost in social media, at the expense of traditional recruitment drives.

    Comment


    • #3
      Any proposals on the RDF need to be considered in relation to the overall ToR:

      Terms of Reference of the Commission on the Defence Forces

      In addressing the detailed tasks as provided for in its Terms of Reference, the Commission will have regard to immediate requirements while also seeking to develop a longer term vision for beyond 2030. This is against a backdrop of the high-level Defence goal which is to provide for the military defence of the State, contribute to national and international peace and security and fulfil all other roles assigned by Government. This fits within the broader context of the protection of Ireland’s defence and security interests nationally and internationally. The Commission’s approach should aim to ensure that the Defence Forces will remain agile, flexible and adaptive in responding to dynamic changes in the security environment, including new and emerging threats (such as from climate change) and technologies.

      It is understood that recommendations of the Commission may require legislative changes.

      In arriving at its findings and recommendations for arrangements for the effective defence of the country, the Commission will have regard to the level of funding provided by Government for Defence.

      The following Terms of Reference, and the Commission’s overall approach will be guided and informed by both the White Paper on Defence 2015 and the White Paper Update 2019, which set out Ireland’s extant Defence Policy, including the current Security Environment Assessment, as set out in the White Paper Update.

      • The Commission will take account of Ireland’s particular defence requirements, including its strong international commitment in the overseas domain as well as the particular roles of the Defence Forces in the domestic security environment which itself continues to evolve.

      • The Commission will consider and recommend the appropriate structure and size of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). This will encompass consideration of appropriate capabilities, structures and staffing for the Army, and its brigade structure, the Air Corps and the Naval Service along with the appropriate balance and disposition of personnel and structures across a joint force approach in the land, air, maritime, cyber, intelligence and space domains.

      • With regard to the RDF, the Commission will consider a wide range of options and will make recommendations to better leverage the capabilities of the RDF in their supports to the PDF and to make service in the RDF a more attractive option.

      • The Commission will examine the structures in the Defence Forces as well as the work of the White Paper Command and Control project to date. In that context, the Commission will consider the most appropriate governance and effective high-level command and control structures in the Defence Forces.

      • The Commission will examine the evolution of all remuneration systems and structures currently in place in the Defence Forces noting what the Programme for Government states in relation to a future Permanent Pay Review Body. Upon completion of the Commission’s work, the Minister for Defence will consult with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the establishment of a permanent pay review body, reflecting the unique nature of military service in the context of the public service. All recommendations by the Commission or the successor body and their implementation must be consistent with national public sector wage policy.

      • The Commission will set out a strategic perspective on HR policies, and associated strategies, including grievance processes and consideration of appropriate structural flexibility, to fulfil the requirements of military capabilities for a more agile and adaptive Defence Forces in a manner congruent with modern society, and in light of the prevailing dynamics of the labour market, while consistent with public sector pay and personnel policy.

      • The Commission will consider and recommend appropriate turnover and retention approaches, having regard to work undertaken to date, and international best practice, to deliver the capabilities required of a modern military force. In addition, it will recommend approaches to recruitment, including identifying military career options that could create a more diverse, gender-balanced, flexible and responsive force, with a system of career progression to meet the recommended force structures and disposition.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DeV View Post
        Any proposals on the RDF need to be considered in relation to the overall ToR:

        Terms of Reference of the Commission on the Defence Forces
        I don't see anything in the terms of reference that conflicts with what I stated. Sure we will see what gets delivered in the end.

        Just wanted to give a perspective from someone who's not in as long as most and without a memory of the last re-org.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
          I have recently come to the conclusion that the local centres need to be brought back. Not necessarily as a full parade room, but at least a manned office of some sort.
          My opinion is that recruitment to the reserve and PDF has suffered because the organisation is only available to those who are IT savvy.
          A physical presence in the larger towns would act as a better point of contact to those who do not frequent social media, who are probably the people the DF needs more than the Facebook addicts.
          The guys working on building sites, feeding cattle, driving delivery vans, won't have the time to browse the Internet to see when the next recruitment drive is.
          However if there was a DF office open by day with simple things like notice boards telling how to apply or once a week operating a drop in office for anyone interested in a military career, whether permanent or reserve?
          I just think that the DF has become lost in social media, at the expense of traditional recruitment drives.
          I agree and disagree with you on these points.

          I definitely think their needs to be manned offices at least for some period of the week. Just takes a notice on the door. We will be here at x time on these days.

          I do think you are underestimating the penetration of all forms of social media in the demographic the DF should be targetting. I'd wager the vast majority of those from their teens to mid twenties driving vans and working on building sites are well integrated in the social media ecosystem. I can't speak for the 22 yo feeding cattle though!

          Comment


          • #6
            look at the likes of Clonmel and other large town always had a PDF/RDF presence great recruitment into the PDF and now their proud military service to the state is no more, i think the DF shot them self in the foot by withdrawing into the larger barracks within the city's
            Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Auldsod View Post
              I don't see anything in the terms of reference that conflicts with what I stated. Sure we will see what gets delivered in the end.

              Just wanted to give a perspective from someone who's not in as long as most and without a memory of the last re-org.
              Wasn’t necessarily suggesting that they do

              But the question for the ToR Is what do you want the DF to do, then how and then the resources required

              Into every single aspect it needs to be asked how can the RDF contribute (eg will we make all artillery AR for arguments sake).

              Why? Unless the RDF contributes it won’t survive.

              The SFC concept is sound..... some of the implementation.....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DeV View Post
                Wasn’t necessarily suggesting that they do

                But the question for the ToR Is what do you want the DF to do, then how and then the resources required

                Into every single aspect it needs to be asked how can the RDF contribute (eg will we make all artillery AR for arguments sake).

                Why? Unless the RDF contributes it won’t survive.

                The SFC concept is sound..... some of the implementation.....
                It may not make sense to to move an entire capability to the reserve. Currency would need to be maintained within the PDF so as to be able to keep institutional knowledge, provide training schools as well as a career path for full timers.

                Would becoming a PDF artillery officer be an enticing prospect if your career path esentially revolves around training and maintaining a reserve component?

                It may be more logical to add additional capability to the RDF on top of what the PDF has. Say, three batteries of artillery with a reserve artillery regiment headquarters to co-ordinate training, etc. This begs the question though, do we need another 18 light guns? I'm no expert but I'd guess not.

                I'd be more thinking around the lines of signals, engineering and transport. I'm not saying rerole all RDF infantry, cavalry and artillery units - just rebalancing from less teeth to more tail.
                Last edited by Auldsod; 15 January 2021, 17:54.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Auldsod View Post
                  It may not make sense to to move an entire capability to the reserve. Currency would need to be maintained within the PDF so as to be able to keep institutional knowledge, provide training schools as well as a career path for full timers.

                  Would becoming a PDF artillery officer be an enticing prospect if your career path esentially revolves around training and maintaining a reserve component?

                  It may be more logical to add additional capability to the RDF on top of what the PDF has. Say, three batteries of artillery with a reserve artillery regiment headquarters to co-ordinate training, etc. This begs the question though, do we need another 18 light guns? I'm no expert but I'd guess not.

                  I'd be more thinking around the lines of signals, engineering and transport. I'm not saying rerole all RDF infantry, cavalry and artillery units - just rebalancing from less teeth to more tail.
                  Just a random example

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DeV View Post
                    Just a random example
                    Of course. Just wanted to fill it out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      2nd meeting today

                      And their Twitter feed https://twitter.com/irlcodf/status/1...179342342?s=21

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Auldsod View Post
                        We have a Commission on the Defence Forces incoming and I thought I’d put my views to paper and see if I can illicit any opinion or discussion. I’m from the reserve and specifically NSR side of the house. That’s thus the focus of my commentary. This could get long winded!

                        The points referring specifically to the reserve in announcement are as follows:

                        • The Commission will consider and recommend the appropriate structure and size of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) and the Reserve Defence Force (RDF). This will encompass consideration of appropriate capabilities, structures and staffing for the Army, and its brigade structure, the Air Corps and the Naval Service along with the appropriate balance and disposition of personnel and structures across a joint force approach in the land, air, maritime, cyber, intelligence and space domains.
                        • With regard to the RDF, the Commission will consider a wide range of options and will make recommendations to better leverage the capabilities of the RDF in their supports to the PDF and to make service in the RDF a more attractive option.

                        At a high level, I can see any reorganisation of the RDF going two directions. Single force concept applying to both.
                        - A reorganisation as occurred a decade ago which essentially just moves around the chess pieces with no additional resources.
                        - A reorganisation that provides the reserve with significant additional resourcing. Increasing this by multiples would still result in only a very fractional increase in defence spending.

                        What do we want from the Reserve?


                        As things stand – the RDF lacks direction or a sense of purpose. Should we be focussed on aid to civil power tasks or should we be providing a structure which can be expanded upon in case of hostilities? I see two potential options here.
                        We either become a source of local defence combat power which lines up well with the large number of infantry units within the AR and the port security role of the NSR. The other option is to move towards a role where the RDF could provide more ‘tail’ if the DF ever needed to increase in size. That would mean rerolling units into the support arms. Converting infantry and cavalry to transport, engineering and CIS. This could synergise nicely with reservists’ civilian skills.

                        A key change would be providing these units over time with their own organic assets, so they supplement DF capabilities. An RDF transport company with light trucks could prove especially useful during any of the ACP taskings that seem to have become more prevalent recently – transport during Covid, storms or flooding. I say decide what we want from the reserve and equip it to complete the role.
                        Reserve units could provide additional capability that wouldn’t be efficient to maintain on a full-time basis but would provide fantastic surge capability for the state.

                        Training

                        Training is key. This would need to be provided at least to the level that our nearest neighbours do in the UK with structured courses run on a well-resourced basis. Modularity could help but reservists would need to accept that 2–3-week FTT may be required to get some serious training done. People are busy and often it is easier just to book 2 weeks off (6 months in advance and not 6 weeks) rather than manage over 4-5 weekends. We all know how many drop outs you encounter running training on weekends.

                        Courses to be organised and planned with a calendar available every January 1st with courses taking place in Q1 and into Q2 having time at least set aside before that. Example: Have two large Mod 2B driving courses each year for the reserve with one run as week long course and the other modular. If selected for the course, you can choose which suits depending on availability.

                        Resourcing would be exceptionally important. More PDF staff once again allocated to facilitate greater support and training. I know the PDF has its own retention issues but I’m assuming that this Commission will hopefully largely remedy those.

                        The RDF needs to get to a level where it is taken seriously by the public and the PDF. I know there are diligent and professional members on this board, but we know the organisation is very much a mixed bag when it comes to commitment and ability.

                        Keeping joiners in and engaged

                        We aren’t in the 80s or 90s anymore and there are far more outlets for young people. We must provide an excellent value proposition where the organisation retains joiners rather than the sliding door recruitment of the past where many just appeared for 2-3 Summers and disappeared. There will be always be those who just want to join for a short time but units need to be manned by more than just a small core of die hards with recruits and privates just being transient. We need to retain privates and JNCOs for years if possible.

                        How do we do this? More and better structured and resourced training. Remuneration is also key here, however. I strongly believe that all activities need to be paid for once they are being performed in a planned and structured manner. Pay to be maintained at PDF level without MSA. Increments allowed but at far lower rate than PDF. One increment, every 4/5 years?

                        Fitness Testing on a Sunday – One day’s pay.
                        TOETs in advance of a range on a Saturday – One day’s pay.
                        Parade night – One quarter day’s pay.

                        It’s small money in the grand scheme of things and just adds that little added incentive that might keep a younger person 18-22 engaged.

                        The gratuity needs to come back but it should have a high barrier to receive.
                        - 19 days plus man days completed for year.
                        - ALL KPIs up to date including fitness test. No exceptions.
                        - Doesn’t include man days for attending parade nights.
                        - Must include at least 7 days FTT unit training a or a course.
                        - All other days can add to total.

                        Final Points


                        R5 to be either completely overhauled or just replaced. It’s not fit for purpose and lacks in far too many areas where it falls down especially with regards promotions and removal of those not contributing.
                        We could provide for a proper merit-based promotion system which could be centralised and semi outside of local unit level. The RDF is full of dead wood that and we should be easily able to remove non performers whether they have 20 years behind them as an NCO or a commission. If they can’t pass a LIFE test or aren’t turning up, they should be gone. Maintaining numbers for appearances should stop and dealt with harshly when found to have occurred.

                        Finally, we need to be equipped better at the personal level. My scale of issue is currently one set of GDR (Naval Service working dress). If I hadn’t ‘acquired’ a second set, I would have found myself on FTT on a patrol with only a single uniform. That’s ridiculous as I would have struggled to wash the set I had and maintain my availability. The same goes for other issued kit asides ordnance. I should have the same kit as a PDF sailor when I join a ship or go on a course. Concerns about issuing kit to those who will just leave the following year could be remedied by issuing this in a phased manner once they have proven their worth to the RDF with time served and KPIs etc met.

                        I think we could and should look at the British Army Reserve and the RNR as potential models? I don’t see why we couldn’t achieve the level they are at (I know they also have flaws) with a lot of extra resourcing and a few years effort. Part of me thinks we would be as well off just to disband the RDF if we just receive some lip service and vague promises of more training time after this commission. We need to be a functioning reserve in our totality rather than mixed back of semi-professionals, hobbyists and those there for social reasons.

                        There are my ramblings on the issue anyway and I would also like to strongly state that I believe the PDF should rightly dominate this Commission and their concerns are of the upmost priority. I just hope there is some space for the RDF in this review.
                        Excellent post
                        In answer to some of your points:

                        1. Rebalance from "teeth to tail"
                        Agree with this one. The BA Reserve strength is something like 40% CSS
                        In some roles, thess are provided solely by Reserve personnel, e.g. railway operators
                        Also agree that personnel could bring in valuable civvy skills to CSS appointments e.g IT

                        2. Having training plans in place by 1 Jan
                        At my calllsign at least, we have to have our plans for training on the ATED by Sept 30 of the previous training year. Dunno if this is across the board or unit specific

                        3. Revised DFR R5
                        Scuttlebut is that this is imminent...

                        4. Personnel being released for FTT from employment:
                        My personal.opinion is that employer tax breaks would help here.
                        Still wouldn't soften the blow of losing a key team member for the duration though


                        Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post
                        I have recently come to the conclusion that the local centres need to be brought back. Not necessarily as a full parade room, but at least a manned office of some sort.
                        My opinion is that recruitment to the reserve and PDF has suffered because the organisation is only available to those who are IT savvy.
                        A physical presence in the larger towns would act as a better point of contact to those who do not frequent social media....
                        Agree.
                        Most small towns have a parish hall, or sports club with a building of some kind.
                        As an example, in my home village, when the Garda Station (part time opening at that point) was waddied, a Garda from the next major town ran a clinic in the parish hall at least once weekly for all the stuff an average small town would need (signing passport forms, firearms licence applications, etc etc)

                        Available RDF personnel could get out in the community to try and pull in prospective candidates. In such a situation, for example
                        "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Generate an Air Corps reserve. There are plenty of tasks that could be achieved with an aviation-oriented Reserve unit.
                          Man one of the inactive NS ships with a 50% NSR crew, if you need to generate patrol days. Failing that, get the NSR in on maintenance duties on the inactive ships. painting,lubrication, cleaning,etc
                          Legalise the FTT situation, as a priority.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is no issues with Naval vessel paint. The reserve is not the army corps of skivvies. As former Air Corps, would you be happy letting a reservist do maintenance on a Casa? If not, why would you let one lube any part of a naval vessel?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How about if that reservist had served 10 years in the AC and was qualified to service it? Or whats wrong with NSR personnel knowing the ins and outs of every part of a ship, and having the working knowledge that intimate contact with machinery gives them.

                              There's a difference between the Core of Skivvies and personal learning new skills, or keeping old skills. A peacetime army (or indeed any army) has a long tail. Employing people sensibly in that tail is much more useful than just thinking of everyone in the reserve as PBI.
                              'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
                              'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
                              Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
                              He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
                              http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X