Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 24
The government today announced the creation of an all-powerful post of Chief of Defence Staff aimed at revamping the functioning of the armed forces, including removal of “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 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, thus increasing the cost of procurement and day-to-day expenses.
The CDS will be in the rank of a four-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. This will be the first uniformed officer since 1950—when the armed forces were structured after Independence — to enjoy such powers.
The CDS will also be the permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, which has the three service chiefs as its members. The CDS will have no operational control over the services. However, the newly created tri-services divisions on cyber and space 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 on matters of his mandate — tri-service issues. The 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 be part of the Defence Acquisition Council and the Defence Planning Committee.
The government has tasked the CDS to ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure. Evaluation of “out of area” plans, enhancing use of indigenous equipment and prioritising weapon and equipment procurement of each service as per available budget, will be done by the CDS. The CDS will be barred from holding any government post after his retirement. And no private employment will be permitted for five years after demitting office.
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