The Army's most senior soldier in Ulster says he is "convinced" that the police alone can now deal with Ulster's security.
Lieutenant General Nick Parker was speaking as the Army moves closer to ending its longest-ever military operation.
Operation Banner - its decades-long support role to the RUC and PSNI - will end in just over a fortnight's time.
Five thousand soldiers will remain in a peacetime garrison but not for duties here.
The Army will retain responsibility for specialist support such as bomb disposal.
"The idea of patrolling - finito," he said.
"Our job becomes to prepare people based in Northern Ireland for operations worldwide, train our people to go away - send them away to some pretty challenging areas."
On the security threat, the General added: "I'm convinced as Operation Banner ends, that the Chief Constable no longer requires my routine support - that he is perfectly capable of doing his business. And I am reassured that if he wants me, he will get on the phone, and I don't think he's going to need me.
"Militarily things have changed dramatically. Politically, presumably, there's still a great deal more to be done."
He also spoke of a "sea change". Asked about Martin McGuinness being in government, he refused to be drawn on personalities.
"The specific individual to me is not relevant," he said.
But he added: "The point of your question, does this represent a sea change, I mean, you know it does.
"The fact that we have now moved where we are back with elected representatives in an Assembly who are going to be responsible for their destiny, surely that must fill us all with a sense of achievement."
The General refused to join the debate on winners and losers in the "war ", "because I think it's a tool by those who wish to aggravate rather than a responsible way of looking at what's been going on, which has been a highly complex process".
He said the Army's role had been to help stabilise the security situation - an "enabler" to allow for political developments.
"You produce a carpet, which other people can then move the furniture around on," he told this newspaper.
l See Monday's Belfast Telegraph for an interview with the General on Army life after the ending of Operation Banner on July 31.