As part of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) process, my Department engaged in a systematic examination of all elements of Defence expenditure. Following engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the ceilings for expenditure within the Defence Sector were set out for the 2012-2014 period. These ceilings were based on a rigorous assessment of pay, non-pay and pension elements of the Defence Sector Votes (Defence and Army Pensions). The Current expenditure provision for the Defence Sector in 2014 is €890m.
This represents a reduction of €2m on the 2013 CRE ceiling, after adjustments, and follows on from significant reductions achieved over previous years. These reductions were achieved through a series of measures, which included a stabilisation of the strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) at 9,500, a re-organisation of the Defence Forces into a two Brigade structure and a rationalisation and consolidation of my Department's property portfolio. Achieving the required savings in 2014 will be a challenge; however, it is envisaged that cost containment and control measures across the Defence Vote, together with careful evaluation and management of Defence Forces procurement, will deliver current expenditure savings of €2m in 2014. As set out in the 2013 Expenditure Report the Capital Envelope for 2014 will be €8m. This is a reduction of €1m, which will be achieved through prioritisation of building works to improve accommodation and facilities for the Defence Forces.
I have been assured by the Chief of Staff that despite reductions in funding, the Defence Forces continue to have the capability to deliver on all roles assigned by Government.