Chief of Defence Staff and top-level military reforms

  • IASbaba
  • May 18, 2022
  • 0
Security Issues
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Context: The Government is yet to announce a successor to the country’s top military post, post death of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat.

  • The reason for the delay: The Government is reassessing the concept of the post as well as the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and is looking to streamline the setup.

Role of the Chief of Defence Staff

The Government’s decision in 2019 to create the post of a CDS, a long-pending demand to bring in tri-service synergy and integration, is the biggest top-level military reform since independence.

  • The Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC). However, the three Chiefs will continue to advise the Defence Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services
  • In addition, the Department of Military Affairs was created as the fifth department in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the CDS functioning as its Secretary.
  • Broad mandate of the CDS: includes bringing about jointness in “operations, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.”
  • Bring about synergy and optimise procurements, training and logistics and facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/ theatre commands.
  • Evaluate plans “for ‘Out of Area Contingencies’, as well other contingencies such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)”.
  • The specialised tri-service divisions — special operations, defence cyber and defence space — were also brought under the ambit of the CDS.

Why the rethink?

  • Dichotomy in the roles and responsibilities with the several hats worn by the CDS and also overlap in responsibilities between the DMA and DoD.
  • On the ambitious timelines set for the creation of theatre commands and also the number of commands and their envisaged format.

The Way Forward:

  • To have a CDS with operational powers who will after due legislative changes have theatre commanders report to him while the Service Chiefs will look after the raise, train and sustain functions of respective Services.
  • In this direction, it is being looked at if the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) can function as the Secretary DMA reporting directly to the CDS.

Source: The Hindu

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