This article provides an overview of the training process for Irish Army officer cadets wishing to join the Irish Defence Forces (IDF).
2.0 Purpose of Officer Cadet Training
The purpose of officer cadet training (aka boot camp, basic training, or Phase 1 initial training) is to:
- Develop character;
- Develop competence;
- Develop leadership skills; and
- Instil a sense of duty and responsibility.
As training is conducted in an environment of strict discipline, officer cadets will need mental acuity and physical agility.
3.0 Outline of Basic Training
Officer Cadet training is divided into three distinct stages of training:
- Stage 1: Induction lasting three months.
- Stage 2: Foundation lasting six months.
- Stage 3: Core Stage lasting six months.
3.1 Stage 1: Induction
The purpose of Stage 1 is to master the basic skills required of a member of the IDF, with training being instructional in nature. Officer Cadets will be trained in small groups, Infantry squads and sections, concentrating on character development and personal competencies. At the end of Stage 1, officer cadets will:
- Understand the Defence Forces Values.
- Understand the principles of leadership.
- Accept personal responsibility.
- Have developed their discipline, esprit de corps and physical fitness.
- Be proficient in personal weapons, map reading, foot drill, arms drill, field-craft and other relevant competencies.
- Have successfully completed Semester 1 of their academic studies.
3.2 Stage 2: Foundation
The purpose of Stage 2 is to develop the leadership skills of the officer cadet and master fundamental collective military skills. The Infantry Section and Platoon in conventional operations are utilised as the mechanisms for development, concentrating on increasing character development and developing small group competencies. Training is instructional/directional in nature. At the end of Stage 2, officer cadets will have retained the skills from Stage 1 and will also:
- Appreciate the Defence Forces Values.
- Have advanced their leadership skills.
- Accept responsibility for unit(s) under their command.
- Have further developed their discipline, esprit de corps and combat fitness.
- Have completed fundamental adventure training.
- Be proficient in section weapons, section conventional tactics, communications, methods of instruction and other competencies.
- Have successfully completed Year 1 of their academic studies.
3.3 Stage 3: Core Stage
The purpose of this stage is to expand the leadership skills of the student and to master core collective military skills. The Infantry Platoon and Company, in both conventional operations and in operations other than war, will be used as the vehicles for this expansion. Reinforcing character development and increasing group competencies will be paramount. The training will be directional in nature with students empowered increasingly during this stage. At the end of this Stage, students will have retained the skills from Stage 1 and 2 and will:
- Embrace the Defence Forces Values.
- Have developed their leadership.
- Seek responsibility for unit/s under their command.
- Be disciplined, physically and combat fit.
- Have pursued Adventure Training in their own time.
- Possess a high esprit de corps in the Defence Forces.
- Be proficient in:
- Platoon conventional tactics;
- Fighting in Built Up Areas (FIBUA);
- Operations Other Than War (e.g. Peace Support Operations, Internal Security, and Public Order);
- Ceremonial drill; and
- Other competencies.
- Have successfully completed Semester 3 of their academic studies.
4.0 Assignment to First Unit
Officer Cadets who are deemed to have successfully completed the training programme will receive their Unit assignment in the last week of their Cadetship.
They will be informed of which formation they have been assigned to and which Service Corps they have appointed:
- Supply and Transport (aka Logistics); or
- Communications Information Systems (CIS).
5.0 Commissioning Ceremony
The Officer Cadet training programme concludes with a commissioning ceremony where Officer Cadets receive their new ranks:
- 2nd Lieutenant in the case of school leavers; and
- Lieutenant in the case of graduates.
The ceremony takes place within the Military College and families are invited to view the newly commissioned officers retaking their oath of enlistment and receiving their Presidential Commissions from the Minister of Defence.
6.0 Recruitment Statistics
In 2016, the Army recruited (or inducted) 73 cadets from a total applicant pool of “4,807” (DOD, 2016, p.39).
DOD (Department of Defence). (2016) Department of Defence and Defence Forces Annual Report 2016. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.military.ie/fileadmin/user_upload/images/Info_Centre/documents/Annual_Reports/Annual_Report_2016__English_.pdf. [Accessed: 08 January, 2019].