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Defence | Defence Forces future role

To ask the Minister for Defence the anticipated future role of the Defence Forces, Army, Naval Service and Air Corps in future national and or European defence measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The White Paper on Defence, approved by Government in July 2015, resulted from a comprehensive examination of Defence requirements.  It provides the defence policy framework for the period up to 2025.  This policy framework is designed to be flexible and responsive given the dynamic nature of the security environment and enables the Defence Organisation to be adaptive to changing circumstances and to use resources as efficiently as possible.

Within this context, the White Paper contains the Government’s decision to put in place a fixed cycle of defence reviews.  The first such review, the White Paper Update, was completed in 2019.  While the Update acknowledged that there are challenges in certain areas, it affirmed the fundamentals of our approach to defence policy that were settled when the White Paper was approved in 2015.  The next step in the fixed cycle review process is a Strategic Defence Review (SDR).

The establishment of a Commission on the Defence Forces was set out in the Programme for Government and was a key priority for me as Minister for Defence.  In July Government approved funding increases to reach a defence budget of €1.5Bn by 2028 at 2022 prices and a High Level Action Plan for the Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces.  

One of the early actions identified in the The High Level Action Plan is the commencement of the Strategic Defence Review and officials in my Department are working with the Military Authorities with a view to progressing this action.

Any decisions on the future roles of the Defence Forces will be made in the context of the prevailing security environment and Defence policy as currently outlined in the White Paper and the White Paper Update, and the outcome of this upcoming review.

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