Deffence & Security News


Written by Talent KAS

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Techology [Paper-II]: Technology in Space and Defence


  • Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force.
  • He will serve a full three-year term till December 2022.

What is the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)?

  • The CDS is meant to be a single-point military advisor to the government, and to coordinate long-term planning, procurements, training and logistics of the three services.
  • As future wars become short, swift and network-centric, coordination among the three services is crucial.
  • As the stress on resources increases and defence budgets remain flat, the way forward is optimisation of resources by joint planning and training.
  • The CDS, being above the three Service Chiefs, is expected to play this role by optimising procurement, avoiding duplication among the services and streamlining the process.

Mandate of CDS

  • The CDS will also be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the defence minister and Defence Planning Committee chaired by the NSA.
  • CDS will be a four-star General, at par in military rank, salary and perquisites with the three services chiefs.
  • He will head the newly created Department of Military Affairs in the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
  • The tri-service agencies, organisations and commands relating to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS, and he will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • He will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on all tri-services matters.
  • A key mandate of the CDS will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.
  • He will Bringing about jointness in logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services within three years will also be another major mandate of the CDS.

Dual-Hatted Role

  • The dual-hatted role refers to the two hats the CDS wears: one of the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee which has the three service chiefs as members, and the other of the head of the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the ministry.
  • The former is a military role while the latter is a role in the government.

Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC)

  • Earlier, in the absence of a CDS, the seniormost of the three Chiefs functioned as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).
  • But it was an additional role and the tenures have been very short.

Why CDS over CoSC?

  • CoSC arrangement was “unsatisfactory”, and its Chairman was seen as a “figurehead”.
  • The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of asset.
  • The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.

International Scenario

  • All major countries, especially the nuclear weapon states, have a CDS.
  • The U.K. from which the Indian armed forces and the Defence Ministry are modelled on has a Permanent Secretary, equivalent to the Defence Secretary, and also a CDS.
  • K. Government guidelines state that the CDS is the professional head of the British armed forces and, as military strategic commander, is responsible for how operations are carried out.

[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express]


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