The 2000 White Paper on Defence and the earlier Defence Forces Review Implementation Plan both identified the requirement to address the age profile in the Defence Forces. A key element in military life is the need for personnel to maintain a level of fitness for combat readiness. This requirement must be balanced with the need to retain experience and expertise, particularly at managerial level in the Defence Forces.
The upper age limit for enlistment in the Army is under 25 years of age on the date of enlistment and for the Naval Service it is under 27 years of age on the date of enlistment. These limits are determined on the basis that the essential functions of the Permanent Defence Force requires that its members be composed of able-bodied personnel of an age which is commensurate with the functional requirements of the organisation.
The Military Authorities have advised that these upper age limits have proven suitable for the requirements for a modern Defence Forces which is actively involved in operations at home and on Peace Support Operations overseas. It is their view that an upper age limit for enlistment of 30 years of age would not be suitable to Defence Forces requirements.
I am satisfied that the existing upper age requirements for recruitment to the Permanent Defence Force are appropriate.