Written Answers. - Defence Forces Review.

Bernard Allen

Question:

244 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Defence the relationship between the joint military steering group and the military board established by the Chief of Staff in relation to the review of reserve forces; if any reports of the board have been forwarded to the steering group; if any directions have been issued as a result; and if the board is operating under the direction of the steering group or if the steering group will produce a separate report for him. [28427/98]

Provision is made in the Defence Forces Review Implementation Plan (1996-1998) – which was approved by Government in March, 1996 – for a special study of the Reserve Forces to be undertaken during the lifetime of the plan. Accordingly, in November, 1997 I announced ths setting up of a joint civilian-military steering group to carry out this examination. As part of the examination process the Chief of Staff had already established a military board to conduct a study of the reserve. The joint civilian-military steering group, as part of its work, oversees and guides the military board in its task.

From the onset there has been ongoing liaison and exchange of views between the steering group and the military board. The military board submitted an interim report early last year and subsequently the steering group submitted an interim report to me on 30 July, 1998.

In December, 1998 the military board forwarded an initial, incomplete draft of its final report to the steering group for consideration. The steering group is at present examining this draft. On completion of its examination of the draft report the steering group will convey its views and recommendations to the military board which will, in due course, submit its final report. On conclusion of its deliberations the steering group will submit a final report to me.

In October, 1997 the Chief of Staff established a military board to conduct a study of the Reserve Defence Force as recommended in the Defence Forces Review Implementation Plan. Subsequently, I set up a joint civilian-military steering group to oversee and guide the military board study to the Chief of Staff at the end of January, 1998 and subsequently forwarded a copy of that report to the steering group and sent copies to the Chief of Staff and to the President of the military board.