Chief of Defence staff offers hope as the good first step in a long road of defence reforms. Discuss. (250 Words)

Mentors Comments:
1. Discuss the idea of CDS
2. How does it benefit
3. What else remains to be done in defence reforms

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 (in India’s case, to the Prime Minister) on long-term defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “jointsmanship” in operations.

Most countries with advanced militaries have such a post, albeit with varying degrees of power and authority. The United States Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), for example, is extremely powerful, with a legislated mandate and sharply delineated powers.

The Need for Chief of Defence Staff are as follows-
 Incoherency: In general, the policy formulation is done by Defense Secretary, who is a bureaucrat, while its execution rests with Chiefs of armed forces. This makes defence policy incoherent.
 Modern Warfare: The emergence of modern warfare domains like Space, Cyber etc, requires a more integrated approach to defense strategy.
 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.
 This is expected to save money by avoiding duplication between the Services, at a time of shrinking capital expenditure within the defence budget.
 It will help India in Defense diplomacy.

The task ahead for the CDS are as follows-
 Achieving Inter-services Synergy.
 Strategic Challenge:
o India currently faces multiple security challenges. Because of frequent conflicts on the land frontiers, both internal and external, India’s security landscape has been naturally dominated by the Indian Army.
o Balancing this reality with a realisation that both maritime and air power are going to play an increasingly important role in India’s rise as a leading power will be among the initial strategic challenges the CDS faces.
 Balancing the Competing Interests:
o Balancing national interests, shedding his own service affiliations, and looking after the interests of all the three services will always be a tough act.
 The CDS is also seen as being vital to the creation of “theatre commands”, integrating tri-service assets and personnel like that in the US military.

Way Forward
 Formulate a comprehensive National Security Strategy (NSS).
 Enhance defence budget to 3.0 per cent of the GDP for defence modernisation. Priorities long-pending defence procurement plans, such as C4I2SR, artillery modernisation, acquisition of modern fighter aircraft and aircraft carriers and submarines.
 Use of artificial Intelligence to combat modern warfare.
 Government has established a task force under N Chandrasekhar committee
 Optimizing military performance in joint operations

From an operational perspective, the concept of military conflict today extends beyond land, air and sea, into the domains of space, cyber, electronic and information. In his announcement on the CDS, the Prime Minister mentioned past reports on defence reforms, the transforming nature of military conflict, the impact of technology and the need for modernisation, coordination and jointness. This leads to hope that the GoM recommendations of 2001 will be implemented. If carried out objectively, undistorted by turf considerations, this long-awaited reform would soothe frictions in civil-military relations and bring greater efficiency, transparency and accountability into decision-making on defence matters.

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well explained….

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Very well written

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