An important part of overseas service is the training that the Defence Forces give to all its personnel prior to Departure to the Mission area. Each leading Brigade will carry out Mission Readiness Exercices for its Battalion. The United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI) also has a part to play in the preparation of personnel to serve overseas.
The purpose of pre-deployment training conducted by the the overseas battalion is to raise its level of preparedness in order to allow deployment on Peace Support Operations in the mission area.
As part of its pre-deployment training the overseas battalion will spend two months training that follows a Director of Defence Forces Training Circular which outlines what training must be completed and at what stage. The training is divided into four phases with different levels of intensity and responsibility.
Phases of Pre-Deployment Training Phases
Is focused on the preparation of the individual and is the responsibility of the Parent Unit Commander focusing on administrative and logistical processing in preparation for phase 2 training. Topics covered include:
- Fitness Tests
- Weapons Training
- Personal Administration
- Logistical Administration
This Phase is focused on the preparation of the Overseas Companies deploying and is focused on Platoon/Troop and Company level skills. It is the responsibility of the lead brigade to oversee this phase of training coordinated by a Task Force chaired by the Executive Officer of the Brigade. Most likely several companies will be training concurrently to develop and fine tune skills that will be required for overseas deployment. Topics covered in this phase are wide and varied including but not limited to:
- Helicopter Drills
- Medical Training
- Map Reading.
Training is focused on the Overseas Battalion and is designed to build on the training in Phase 2 with a view to building a cohesive Unit capable of carrying out its tasks to the standard required for deployment to its operational environment. It involves modules on particular skills for the mission which are then evaluated by means of the Mission Readiness Exercise.
This training is conducted whilst deployed in the operational environment and is focused on In-Theatre situational and environmental training to compliment prior training.
Mission Readiness Exercises
The Mission Readiness Exercise itself comprises of five elements each evaluating different aspects of the pre-deployment training conducted by the unit deploying overseas. This training includes computer aided exercises , situational training exercises, field training exercises, battle innoculation and support weapons shoot.
The exercise is planned and coordinated by a board convened by the Chief Instructor of the Infantry School. Its members comprise of a Military College Officer, SSO OPS/INT/TRG of the DFTC, a representative from the unit to be deployed and a representative from the Lead Brigade for the mission. It is their role to ensue the exercise meets the requirements of the issued Training Circular and to ensure the unit meets the standards required to deploy overseas. As part of this exercise there will be a party of "actors" as well as a panel of umpires who will all contribute to the conduct and evaluation of this exercise.
How the exercise is Conducted
Computer Aided Exercise
This is designed to evaluate the Battalion Commander and his Staff in the Military Decision Making Process and to help gel the staff in a close working environment similar to what they will experience overseas.
Situational Training Exercises
These are focused evaluation strands designed to evaluate each platoon in specific skills that will be required on deployment including Communications, Medical, Mine Awareness, Vehicle Recovery, Heli drills and navigation. All personnel in the Manoeuvre companies will be evaluated by instructors from the relevant Defence Forces Schools on their proficiency in these skills.
This exercise is designed to expose the members to live fire exercises to familiarise the troops with live fire and its effects.
Support Weapons Shoot
This exercise is to practise the crews of all the Battalions support weapons in the Drills and skills associated with firing the various support weapons being deployed to the area of operations.
Field Training Exercise
This is designed to evaluate the Battalion at all levels in mission specific incidents that may occur whilst the Battalion is deployed. Skills being assessed are troop leadership and battle procedure, command and control, use of organic assets, and unit tactics. All these skills are assessed under the umbrella of the UN Security Council Resolution that the Battalion will be operating under placing particular emphasis on the Rules of Engagement available to the troops.
United Nations Training School Ireland
The school’s establishment was a natural consequence of Defence Forces involvement with peacekeeping activities and our contribution to UN operations in particular. UNTSI’s primary focus is on the training and preparation of Irish Defence Forces personnel for participation in a wide range of Peace Support Operations (PSO).