The Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces is the President of Ireland. All Defence Forces officers hold their commission from the President, but in practice the Minister for Defence acts on the President's behalf and reports to the Government of Ireland. The Minister for Defence is advised by the Council of Defence on the business of the Department of Defence.
The Irish Defense Forces have a total of 72,300 active duty personnel. 28,000 are in the Irish Army, 17,500 are the Irish Navy, 15,800 are in the Irish Air Force, 6500 are the Irish Marine Corps, and 4,500 are the Irish Special Forces.