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 seven officers; the President who has a casting vote, and the elected Chairs of the respective constituencies. These come from 1 Brigade, 2 Brigade, the Defence Forces Training Centre (Curragh), Defence Forces Headquarters, the Air Corps, the Naval Service and a Lieutenant's representative (replaced the former USAC's rep). Each of these constituencies has 5 elected representatives including the Chair. If there is no Lieutenant voted on to a committee then one may co-opted on.
Membership of the Association is voluntary and open to all serving officers; from 2nd Lieutenant and Naval Ensigns to Colonel and Naval Captains. Almost 97% of all officers of the Permanent Defence Forces are members of the Association.
- Defence Force Regulation S6