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38 (Irish) Brigade

Based in Lisburn, the Brigade is made up almost entirely of Army Reserve units and personnel. The Brigade also provides the support network known as the 'Firm Base', for all Defence assets based in the Northern Ireland. It's also responsible for the provision of military capability to the Civil Authority, be it in bomb disposal or specialist engineer support.

Army Reserve units provide specialist skills such as Medical, Transport, Communications and Engineering as well as combat capabilities to support operations around the world. Many of these skills are equally relevant in the civilian workplace.

Training for deployment

The total number of Regular personnel currently under command in Northern Ireland will fluctuate because of operational and training commitments but will not exceed 5,000, as determined in the Joint Declaration of 2003. The majority are Army, but there are also Royal Navy and RAF personnel.

The Army here must be fully trained for the most likely conflict, whilst being prepared at lesser readiness for less likely tasks. Training now takes a higher priority than has sometimes been the case. Where possible, it will take advantage of the developments in technology and simulation for greater efficiency. Realism in training will continue to mean field deployments for personnel and equipment.

Main training areas are at Ballykinler and Magilligan, although personnel regularly make use of other sites in the UK and overseas. This year, personnel based in Northern Ireland have trained in Germany, Kenya, the Middle East and Uganda.

A wide-ranging diversity of terrain and climate are required in order to train both personnel and equipment to the highest standards. Soldiers adhere to stringent environmental controls and take great pride in their custodianship of the countryside, wherever they are in the world.

19 Light Brigade is the regular deployable Brigade based in Northern Ireland. It comprises combat and support units that are ready to deploy around the world. The Brigade returns to Afghanistan later this year.

Military personnel can deploy in support of the Civil Authorities in times of need. For example, during the fire fighters strike of 2003, soldiers and military fire tenders were used to fight fires across Northern Ireland. More recently the military helped recover personnel and aircraft following the Mourne Helicopter crashes.

Joint Helicopter Command is responsible for military air support within the Province delivering aircraft to Afghanistan on an enduring basis.

Our Reserves and Cadets are supported by the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, which also provides a bridge between the latter and the local community.