The Gleeson Commission which has been established by the Government to review conditions of service in the Defence Forces recommended in 1990 that "the selection of officers for promotion should change from a system based almost exclusively on seniority to a system based on merit".
The commission outlined a new system of promotion, the principal feature of which was the establishment of promotion boards to assess and interview candidates for promotion up to the level of brigadier-general. The boards would comprise senior military officers and in the case of certain ranks a civilian member appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission.
Promotion boards are required to certify that an officer recommended for promotion is considered best fitted for promotion having regard to a number of criteria as regards suitability. These criteria include: (a) leadership qualities and capacity for personnel management; (b) performance in appointments held; (c) innovative and initiative demonstrated; (d) qualities of reliability, devotion to duty, zeal, industry and ability; (e) recommendations in Annual Confidential Reports or equivalent certifications; (f) performance at various courses of training, and (g) length of service in the Defence Forces.
These criteria are based on the recommendations of the Gleeson Commission and, following consultation with the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers, were set down in Defence Force Regulations which are Statutory Instruments made by the Minister for Defence under the Defence Act, 1954, as amended.