In a major military reform, Chief of Defence Staff post to be created

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 15

In a major military reform, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will ensure synergy in training, logistics, planning and procurements among the the Army, Navy and the IAF.

The CDS is likely to be above the chiefs of the three services and will be tasked to ensure that British-time structures of three forces that make them work separately are merged in a manner to ensure operational togetherness.

After the announcement, the MoD is likely to issue what are called ‘implementation instructions’ on how to go about it and lay down the powers of the CDS and his duties. “The entire thing could take up to two to three months to enforce and implement,” a senior official told The Tribune.

Modi made the announcement from the ramparts of the Red fort during his speech to mark the 73rd Independence Day celebrations.

The CDS was suggested by the Kargil Review Committee (KRC). Since then the matter had taken several twists and turns with the services getting involved in a turf war of sorts. At present, the senior-most among the service chiefs is made the Chairman the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).

Tenures are very short. The present Chairman Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa started his tenure on June 1 and it will end on September 30 when he retires. Then, Gen Bipin Rawat, will be the CoSC chairman for three months till his retirement on December 31.

Modi in the past few years has stressed on joint operations. The reason is the cost factor. The Ministry of Defence spends some 16 per cent of the country’s budget and still needs more. Of this spending, some can be reduced by merging the logistics, training and procurement. Major countries like the US, the UK and China have already taken this route.

A CDS is likely to be followed up by re-organising single-service commands into integrated theatre commands for better synergy in joint operations. At present, there are 19 commands, including the Strategic Forces Command and the Andaman and Nicobar Command, spread across the three services.

This year, new divisions have been raised for aerospace, cyber and special force.

In the longer run, the country will have theatre commands to integrate its air, land and sea assets under single operational commanders for a greater military thrust from limited budgets.

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