Kerala PSC - What is Chief of Defence Staff?

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been named as India's first Chief of Defence Staff. He has been named as the CDS just a day before he was to retire from service after completing a full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff. The recommendation for creating of CDS was mooted 20 years back.

It was on August 15, 2019, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort. Making the far-reaching announcement for India's defense forces, the prime minister had said: "Our forces are India's pride. To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort: India will have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). This is going to make the forces even more effective. India should not have a fragmented approach. Our entire military power will have to work in unison and move forward. All three (Services) should move simultaneously at the same pace. There should be good coordination and it should be relevant to the hope and aspirations of our people. It should be in line with the changing war and security environment with the world. After the formation of this post (CDS), all three forces will get effective leadership at the top level."

Govt amends rules: CDS can serve up to maximum age of 65 years
On December 29, the Defence Ministry amended rules to allow the Chief of Defence Staff to serve up to a maximum age limit of 65 years. The changes were made in the service rules of the Army, Navy and the Indian Air Force for extension of retirement age of the Chief of Defence Staff to a maximum of 65 years if a service chief is appointed to the post.

What is Chief of Defence Staff - CDS

In simple terms, Chief of Defence Staff or CDS is a post that acts as the single-point advisor to the Government of India in the matters of India's military. The Chief of Defence Staff is the head of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The CDS is a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. The Chief of Defence Staff will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.

What comes under the ambit of CDS

The following areas will be dealt with by the Department of Military Affairs headed by CDS:

1.The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
2. Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
3. The Territorial Army.
4. Works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
5. Procurement exclusive to the Services except capital acquisitions, as per prevalent rules and procedures.

Apart from the above, the mandate of the Department of Military Affairs will include the following areas:

1. Promoting jointness in procurement, training, and staffing for the Services through joint planning and integration of their requirements.
2. Facilitation of restructuring of Military Commands for optimal utilization of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through the establishment of joint/theatre commands.
3. Promoting the use of indigenous equipment by the Services.

The Chief of Defence Staff, apart from being the head of the Department of Military Affairs, will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to Raksha Mantri on all tri-Services matters. The three Chiefs will continue to advise Defence Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services. CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.

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

1. CDS will administer tri-services organisations. Tri-service agencies/ organisations/ commands related to Cyber and Space will be under the command of the CDS.
2. CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Raksha Mantri and Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA.
3. Function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
4. Bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.
5. Ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure and rationalise it through jointness among the services.
6. Implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP), and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans (AAP), as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP).
7. Assign inter-Services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget.
8. Bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure. It is expected that this reform in the Higher Defence Management would enable the Armed Forces to implement coordinated defence doctrines and procedures and go a long way in fostering jointmanship among the three Services. The country would be benefitted by coordinated action on greater jointmanship in training, logistics and operations as well as for prioritisation of procurements.

The need for CDS

It was after the 1999 Kargil War that a recommendation for creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was first made. A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country's security system had suggested that the three services should have a Chief of Defence Staff. The committee said the CDS should be a five-star military officer who would act as thesingle-point military adviser to the Defence Minister. In 2001, a group of ministers formed to explore necessary reforms required to improve India's national security, had also favoured creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Then in 2012, the Naresh Chandra Task Force recommended a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC). The CoSC comprises chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force. The senior-most would act as the chairman.

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