[Answered]“The Chief of Defence Staff should not become another interposed level between the Government and the service chiefs.” Comment.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual Introduction.

Body. Why CDS post is needed? Why post of CDS can become another interposed level between government and agencies? Role of CDS.

Conclusion. Way forward.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is a high military office that will oversee and coordinates the working of the three defence Services in India. CDS would not only ensure coordination among various defence forces but will lead to enhanced security in the region.

Why Chief of defence staff is needed?

  1. The problem with the existing separate military headquarters is that there is a turf war between the three wings with each seeing things with its own perspective and requirement.
  2. CoSC arrangement is seen as unsatisfactory and the post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency.
  3. The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.
  4. It observed that Service Chiefs devote most of their time to their operational roles often resulting in negative results. Long-term defence planning suffers as day-to-day priorities.
  5. The defence Secretary represents India in all professional forums and act as the adviser to the defence minister. This deprive the political executive from the expert advice of the service Chiefs.
  6. The CDS is seen as vital in the integration of tri-service assets and personnel like in the US military.
  7. Most countries with advanced militaries have such a post with varying degrees of power and authority.
  8. The Armed Forces are still considered as attachedofficesof the Ministry of Defence and it is the Defence Secretary who is responsible for the defence of the country. This invariably leads to greater gap between the civilian and military bureaucracy.

Why post of CDS can become another interposed level between government and agencies?

  1. A CDS may not have the full experience of every force except his own in which he served. This may lead to friction between CDS and the head of other two forces and may prove counter-productive.
  2. Concentrating power, as well as responsibility, in one person may not produce desired result. A body like a Council headed by CDS can produce desired results.
  3. The position of service chiefs will become less important with coming of CDS leading to opposition from defence forces.
  4. The civil bureaucracy will lose its power and would lead to political and bureaucratic inaction.

Role a Chief of defenceneed to play:

  1. CDS need totakecontrol of newer organisations being set up for tackling future threats rather than merely becoming another interposed level between the Government and the service chiefs.
  2. Development of future technologies and means to face emerging threats in the cyber, space, missiles domain, nurturing of AI-based platforms, usage of drones for various roles and such modern conflict realities is indeed important.These advancements are extremely costly, and the CDS can facilitate optimal, cost-effective integrated development and deployment of such structures.
  3. The CDS can be the vital point to undertake prioritisation and rationalisation, and, therefore, can play a vital role in the perspective planning and development function.Considering the high cost of future technology, the CDS can also contribute towards the optimisation of existing structures.
  4. Future conflict situations would possibly need an integrated application of fighting formations and resources, with unitary operational control of deployed elements.The CDS would be better placed for integrated employment of war-fighting potential, and therefore logically needs to be part of the operational control chain.
  5. It is important provide effective leadership at the top level to the three wings of the armed forces.The CDS must lead to greater coordination and synergy among the tri-services.
  6. The CDS is important to help in the tackling of threats from cyber and space sector in an integrated manner and would help in optimal use of available resources.Policy-making on operations, procurement and joint logistics must be improved.
  7. It will provide a single, all-encompassing coherent and cohesive perspective, instead of disaggregated individual single service perspective.This will correct the anomaly of civic-military interface during the shaping/ deterrence phase, during operations, or after the occurrence of threatening situations.

It is important for national security that Chief of defence must take holistic management for optimised results and single point military advice on matters of national security including nuclear weapons.India is the only country with an MoD without military professionals, with bureaucrats lacking a military background and knowledge. As a result, we lack a cohesive national security strategy; national security objectives remain undefined. There is little synergy within the military and also the military-industrial complex remains in a pathetic state. A post of CDS will remove such issues.

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