Air Marshal NS Dhillon appointed as new chief of Strategic Forces Command
New Delhi, Mar 30: Air Marshal Navkaranjit Singh Dhillon has been appointed as the new commander-in-chief of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) which is responsible for the management of India's tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.
Air Marshal Dhillon would replace Air Marshal Jasbir Walia who was the head of the SFC since 1 August 2016.
The SFC manages and administers all strategic forces by exercising complete command and control over nuclear assets, and producing all contingency plans as needed to fulfill the required tasks.
Dhillon, born on January 2, 1961, joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) as fighter pilot in 1981. He has a total 3,700 flying hrs to his credit of which 3,100 hrs are exclusively for flying MIG 21.
Navkaranjit Singh Dhillon, who was promoted as Air Marshal in June 2016, is an alumnus of St Francis School, Amritsar; Sainik School, Kapurthala; and Khalsa College, Amritsar. He is a graduate of National Defence Academy, Defence Service Staff College and National Defence College.
Air Marshal Dhillon was the topper of the fighter strike leader course at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). Later, he served as directing staff at the TACDE in the capacity of head of the Training and Deputy Commandant. He has commanded a MIG-21 squadron and has been the chief operations officers of a premier flying base.
He also commanded a helicopter base in DR Congo as part of UN Peace Keeping Mission. Dhillon served as Principal, Director Air Defence, and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (inspection) at Air Headquarters.
What is Strategic Forces Command, its responsibilities?
The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) forms part of India's Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). It is responsible for the management and administration of the country's tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile. It was created on January 4, 2003, by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Government. Air Marshal Teja Mohan Asthana became its first commander-in-chief.
It is the responsibility of the Strategic Forces Command to operationalize the directives of the NCA under the leadership of a Commander-in-Chief who is a three-star rank officer. It will have the sole responsibility of initiating the process of delivering nuclear weapons and warheads, after acquiring explicit approval from the NCA. The exact selection of the target area shall be decided by the SFC through a calibrated, cumulative process involving various levels of decision-making, and with formal approval by the NCA.
The SFC manages and administers all strategic forces by exercising complete command and control over nuclear assets, and producing all contingency plans as needed to fulfill the required tasks. Since its inception, the SFC's command, control and communication systems have been firmly established, and the command has attained a high state of operational readiness.