From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
Mains level : Office of the CDS
Setting the stage for appointment of the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the government has amended Service Rules of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The post of CDS has also been lying vacant since the demise of Late. Gen. Bipin Rawat.
What is the update in rules?
- The govt has allowed retired Service Chiefs and three-star officers eligible for consideration for the country’s top military post.
- However, with an age limit that the retired officer should not have attained 62 years on the date of appointment.
- Retired Service chiefs are largely ruled out, especially so for the present consideration.
Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
- The CDS is a high military office that oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services, and offers seamless tri-service views and single-point advice to the Executive.
- On long-term it provides for defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “joint manship” in operations.
- In most democracies, the CDS is seen as being above inter-Service rivalries and the immediate operational preoccupations of the individual military chiefs.
- The role of the CDS becomes critical in times of conflict.
Duties and Functions of the CDS
The Ministry of Defence has outlined various functions and duties for the post of CDS:
- To head the Department of Military Affairs in Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
- To act as the Principal Military Advisor to Raksha Mantri on all Tri-Service matters.
- To function as the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
- To administer the Tri-Service organizations/agencies/commands.
- To be a member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Raksha Mantri.
- To function as the Military Advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority.
- To bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc of the three Services.
- To implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans, as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan.
- To bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services with the aim to augment combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.
Why need CDS?
- Tri-services coordination: The creation of the CDS will eventually lead to the formation of tri-service theatre commands intended to create vertical integration of the three forces.
- Single-point military advisory: The CDS will be a single-point military adviser to the government and synergise long term planning, procurements, training and logistics of the three Services.
- Efforts saving: This is expected to save money by avoiding duplication between the Services, at a time of shrinking capital expenditure within the defence budget.
- Military diplomacy: This is today supporting conventional diplomacy. That can’t be done by different Services.