That is agreed.
Information not given on the floor of the House
I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 22 together.
Arising from the comprehensive review of expenditure which reported at end 2011, the Defence Forces must operate within a significantly reduced resource envelope. The Minister for Defence secured the agreement of the Government to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. However, at this strength ceiling, the organisational structures that had been in place for a strength ceiling of 11,500 personnel were no longer viable. Accordingly, the Minister initiated a major reorganisation of the Defence Forces.
A Green Paper on Defence is being prepared and is scheduled for completion at the end of this year. When published, the Green Paper will initiate and inform a broad consultative process as part of the development of a new White Paper on defence. The new White Paper on defence is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013 and will address defence policy and inform long-term capability requirements for implementation over and beyond the next decade. In the context of the immediate financial realities and in order to maintain the operational capabilities of the Permanent Defence Force to the greatest extent possible, it was neither prudent nor practical to delay the reorganisation of the Defence Forces until completion of the Green and White Paper process.
The Secretary General of the Department of Defence and the Chief of Staff brought forward reorganisation proposals and the Minister announced the details of the reorganisation in July of this year. This encompasses a reduction in the number of Army brigades from three to two larger brigades, a reduction in the number of headquarters, redeployment of personnel to operational units, the consolidation of under-strength units and the disestablishment of certain units. The re-organisation proposals were framed in the context of the most recent defence and security environment assessment, which was published earlier this year, in the Department of Defence and Defence Forces Strategy Statement 2011-2014.
The implementation of the re-organisation has commenced. All personnel in the Permanent Defence Force have now been briefed on the reorganisation proposals. They will receive further briefings and advice on the many options available to them as implementation of the reorganisation progresses. The Minister is committed to maintaining the capacity of the Permanent Defence Force to meet their operational requirements and the current reorganisation is part of that process. The reorganisation is being implemented in a manner which best addresses organisational needs and capability requirements.