RACO is an acronym for the Representative Association of Commissioned (military) Officers (of Ireland's Defence Forces). RACO was formally established in 1991 by statute under the Defence Amendment Act. Defence Forces Regulation S.6 is the Statutory Instrument that gives effect to the Act and governs, inter alia, the establishment, funding and operation of representative associations in the Defence Forces. The scope of representation of the Association, as set out in DFR S.6 includes the pay and conditions of its members.
The Association has two full time officials the General Secretary and the Deputy General Secretary.
The National Executive consists of ten officers; the President who has a casting vote only, the General Secretary in a non-voting capacity and the elected Chairs of the respective constituencies. These are the 1st Southern Brigade, the 2nd Eastern Brigade, the 4th Western Brigade, the Defence Forces Training Centre (Curragh), Defence Forces Headquarters, the Air Corps, the Naval Service and USAC [the university training element in Galway]. Each of these constituencies has 5 elected representatives including the Chair.
Membership of the Association is voluntary and open to all serving officers; from 2nd Lieutenant and Naval Ensigns to Colonel and Naval Captains. Almost 99% of all officers of the Permanent Defence Forces are members of the Association.
- Defence Force Regulation S6