The main departments and agencies involved in the whole-of-government approach to responding to external crises are primarily: Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Taoiseach, the Defence Forces, the Gardai (i.e. the police force) and Justice as well as any elements of these various sub-departments that might be needed (e.g. international security policy experts, members of the Conflict Resolution Unit, human rights experts, etc). While the overall scope of the WGA is broad – in the sense that it encompasses many different fields of expertise and gathers actors from politics, policy, economics, security, development and crisis response – the structure and form of Ireland’s government and WGA allow for many, if not all, of these actors to be a direct part of the response under the auspices of the committee formed to respond to external security crises and conflicts.
Cooperation and coordination is visible across many levels of the WGA response mechanism, which leads to better communication not merely vertically, but also horizontally as facilitated by the Interdepartmental Committee on Peacekeeping. Indeed, one of the most important elements highlighted by interviewees was the ability to communicate and coordinate with colleagues on the same level as oneself across a variety of government agencies and organisations. This was said to improve efficiency, to lead to better relationships among all actors, and to be critical when it comes to making important decisions that impact both civilians in the crisis area and the security forces being deployed to assist them.