India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff: Jointness and integration of services and commands will be the focus of the CDS

By: |
December 25, 2019 4:10 PM

The government has given approval for the country’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff, who will be in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief.

The Chief of Defence Staff will be the Single point of Advisor to the government on “all matters military” and for that, he will have to take along all the three services. (Representational)

The government has given approval for the country’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff, who will be in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. CDS is an important way forward for jointness and integration and the cyber and defence space agencies, says Ministry of Defence (MoD). Once in the office also heads the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the MoD and he will function as its Secretary.

And has major challenges ahead and as the first CDS will have to work towards re-energising and optimising the resources of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS).

This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, this year.

He will be the Single point of Advisor to the government on “all matters military” and for that, he will have to take along all the three services. “Since the Services follow a very strict hierarchical line, it will expected that an individual who is senior to all three service chiefs is appointed as it will help in streamlining the functioning,” observed a senior officer.

Apart from being the head of the DMA, the new CDS will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and will be acting as the Principal Military Adviser to the defence minister on all tri-Services matters.

In an official statement from the MoD, the three service chiefs will continue to advise the defence minister on matters which are exclusively concerning their respective Services. Also, to provide impartial advice to the political leadership, he will not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs.

“It is expected that this reform would enable the Armed Forces to implement coordinated defence doctrines and procedures and go a long way in fostering joint manship among the three Services.”

The mandate of the DMA

Promoting jointness in procurement.

Also, training and staffing for the Services through joint planning and integration of their requirements.

Restructuring of Military Commands which will help in the optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, through establishment of joint/theatre commands.

And will help promote the use of indigenous equipment by the Services.

As the Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, CDS will perform the following functions:

He will administer tri-services organisations. As well as commands related to Cyber and Space.

Will be a member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the defence minister and Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA.

Will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.

Within three years of the first CDS assuming office to bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, of the three Services.

He will ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure and rationalise it through jointness among the services.

According to MoD will implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP).

To implement Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans (AAP), as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP).

Inter-Services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget.

Reform the functioning of three Services which are aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.

Expert View

“The Kargil Review Committee had tried to draw a distinction between the Principal Military Adviser and Principal Defence Adviser in the context of drawing distinction between responsibilities and powers of CDS and Defence Secretary. The current christening of Department of Military Affairs seems an exercise in redefining HQ IDS,” says Gen (retd) Rakesh Sharma.

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