All-powerful CDS given three-year target for jointness of services

All-powerful CDS given three-year target for jointness of services

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Tuesday approved the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS).

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24

The government on Wednesday announced the creation of an all-powerful post of Chief of Defence Staff aimed at re-vamping the functioning of the armed forces, including removal of any ‘obsolete practices’, augmenting combat capabilities and rationalisation of facilities.

Mandate for the CDS includes creation of theatre commands which will be tri-services joint commands.

The US and China — two countries with large forces like India, follow such a pattern.

The CDS has been given a tight three-year schedule to show results in creating jointness among the three services in operations, training, logistics, maintenance, repair, communications and support services.

At present, the three services have their own separate streams for all such matters increasing the cost of procurement and day-to-day expenses. 

The CDS will be in the rank of a 4-Star General with salary equivalent to Service Chiefs, and will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), created today under the Ministry of Defence. The three armed forces will be under the DMA, making the CDS the top-boss to decide on military affairs.

Importantly, the CDS will function as Secretary DMA, indicating that the post will enjoy financial powers to use the budget. This will be the first uniformed officer since 1950 -- when the Armed forces were structured post independence --- to enjoy such powers.

The Department of Defence and Department of Defence Production are headed by IAS officers. 

The CDS will also be the permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, which has the three service chiefs as its members. 

It would have no operational control over the services, however, the newly created tri-services divisions on cyber, space and special operations will be under the CDS. In other tri-services units the Chief of the lead force will hold operational charge. 

The CDS will be the principal military adviser to the Defence Minister only on the matters of his mandate ---tri-service issues. The three Chiefs of the Army, IAF and the Navy will continue to brief the Defence Minister on operational matters of their respective service. The CDS will part of the Defence Acquisition Council and the Defence planning committee.

The Government has tasked the CDS to ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure and ‘rationalise’ it. Evaluation of out of area plans, enhancing use of indigenous equipment and prioritising the weapon and equipment procurement of each service as per the available budget, is to be done by the CDS.

This removes the major irritant in budget allocation to each service, now a military man will decide. 

The CDS will be barred from holding any government post his retirement. And no private employment will be permitted for five years after demitting office.


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