New CDS would have operational control of Strategic Forces Command
New Delhi, Dec 21: Preparations are on in full swing to define the charter of the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Sources tell OneIndia that the CDS would be the first among equals in the military.
There are certain formalities such as the charter, hierarchy in the government and the duties of the CDS which are being chalked out, a top official involved in the process also said. The primary responsibility of the CDS would be to coordinate and prioritise procurements for the military based on the inputs from the three service chiefs.
In addition to this, the Cyber, Space and Special Forces heads would also report to the CDS. There is also a proposal to give the CDS operational control of the strategic forces command. The PMO would however be in charge of the administrative and budgetary control of the specula forces command.
The office of the Chief of Defence Staff would be at the South Block. He would reside at a bungalow on the K Kamraj Marg. The name of the new CDS would be announced next week and currently the hot favourite for the job is General Bipin Rawat, the Indian Army Chief who retires this month.
The CDS would be the single point advisor to the Government on matters relating to the military. The advise by the CDS would also be binding on the three service chiefs. This would mean that the existing post of Integrated Defence Staff would be converted into the Vice Chief of Defence Staff.
The source also added that the high powered committee headed by National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval is framing the terms of reference. The officer added that the government would be looking for field commanders too. This way we can have a larger pool of human resources to choose from.
The Doval led team is also discussed the tenure of the CDS. One of the key points of discussion is on tenure and whether it should be one or two years. Under the current arrangement, the chairman of the chief of staff committee usually has a tenure of 5 to 6 months.
The other point of discussion is whether the CDS should be a five or four-star general. There has been some finality in this regard and the committee is of the view that the CDS should be of four-star rank, the source also added. It may be recalled that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address had announced the creation of the post of CDS. This post had been recommended by the Kargil Review Committee. This move is being considered as one of the biggest military reforms.
The powers that would be vested would be crucial. In 2001, a group of ministers had recommended that the CDS should have administrative control and not operational control. "The CDS should have the requisite mandate and authority. Give it time to evolve as acceptability will be an issue. Need is to align authority and accountability," the Kargil Review Committee had said. While previous governments were reluctant on creating such a position, this time around the Modi government decided to go in for a CDS as it would be a game changer.
The first time that the recommendation for this post was made was by the K Subrahmanyam Committee that was set up after the Kargil. Another committee headed by Naresh Chandra which was set up to suggest reforms in higher defence management had also suggested the importance of such a post.
The committee, however, suggested that the post of a Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff be created. The CDS would focus on coordination between the three service chief, when it comes to procurements, budgeting, logistics and training. The Army, Navy and IAF chief will, however, continue to have operational command of their respective forces.