The Department of Defence has civil and military elements, with Defence Forces headquarters being the military element. The Chief of Staff who is head of Defence Forces headquarters is my principal military adviser, while the Secretary General of the Department of Defence is my principal defence policy adviser. Whilst command is vested directly in the General Officers commanding Army brigades, the Defence Forces Training Centre, the Air Corps and the Flag Officer commanding the Naval Service, the Chief of Staff is the appropriate source of military advice for matters relating to the overall management of the Defence Forces, including organisation of the Defence Forces. As the previous Minister for Defence outlined in his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 1 of 7 May 2014, the decision to undertake a major reorganisation of the Defence Forces, within a two brigade structure, was progressed within this well established overall management framework.
The Deputy will appreciate that the Minister for Defence is not privy to all discussions that take place between the Chief of Staff and the General Officers commanding the Brigades, Defence Forces Training Centre, Air Corps and the Flag Officer commanding the Naval Service. It is a matter for the Chief of Staff to seek or to utilise relevant advice, as he sees fit, from within the Defence Forces.
I can confirm that following the former Minister for Defence’s decision to initiate a major re-organisation within a two Brigade structure that the detailed proposals relating to the re-organisation were subsequently prepared by the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence.
These revised structures have facilitated the Defence Forces in continuing to meet all operational requirements within the reduced resource envelope and this remains my key priority as Minister for Defence.