Does Higher De­fence Or­gan­i­sa­tion in In­dia Re­quire Ma­jor Surgery?

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Air Mar­shal Vinod Pat­ney (Retd)

REAMBLE: Re­quired changes in the Higher De­fence Or­gan­i­sa­tion in our coun­try are a sub­ject of near con­stant de­bate. Many and di­verse views con­tinue to be aired. A com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor seems to be dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the ex­ist­ing state of af­fairs. The need to im­prove on ex­ist­ing tem­plates is a laud­able thought but do we re­quire ma­jor surgery? Also, must we be taken in by ex­am­ples of sys­tems that ob­tain in other coun­tries or should we seek so­lu­tions that are more ap­pro­pri­ate to our cir­cum­stances? Should we blindly ape what oth­ers do or use our ge­nius to fash­ion sys­tems that are more ap­pli­ca­ble to our needs? What are the changes that could be in­tro­duced to ad­van­tage? This ar­ti­cle ad­dresses th­ese ques­tions and more. The views ex­pressed are per­sonal and not parochial but they are, pos­si­bly nat­u­rally, based on the ex­pe­ri­ences of a life­time of ser­vice in our air force.

Be­fore any form of surgery to our de­fence or­gan­i­sa­tion is coun­te­nanced, it be­hoves us to di­ag­nose what ails the sys­tem. We have won all the wars we have fought, less the 1962 con­flict, and that should by it­self be suf­fi­cient to show that our or­gan­i­sa­tion is not too bad, it works al­most ev­ery time. If mil­i­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion is es­tab­lished pri­mar­ily to pre­pare the armed forces to win wars, our sys­tem has stood the test of time. In 1962, our prob­lem was lack of in­tel­li­gence, lack of ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tion and we were sur­prised by the Chi­nese at­tack. Pos­si­bly, we were also un­sure as to how to wage that type of war. Be that as it may, the point must be made that, given the cir­cum­stances; no dif­fer­ent higher de­fence or­gan­i­sa­tion would have turned de­feat into vic­tory. Thus the re­sults of the wars that we have fought do not make a case for a ma­jor change in our or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Un­doubt­edly, there are ills in our sys­tem that should be ad­dressed. Our pro­cure­ment sys­tem is slow and laboured. Joint­ness amongst our ser­vices could be bet­ter. Also the re­la­tions and mu­tual con­fi­dence of the ser­vices on one hand and the Min­istry of De­fence on the other should im­prove. Re­gret­tably, one pos­si­ble cause for the state of af­fairs is in­ad­e­quate un­der­stand­ing of the other(s) point of view and maybe even some sus­pi­cion of in­ten­tions. The so­lu­tions to bring about im­prove­ments stare us in the face. We need greater un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of dif­fer­ing viewpoints. We must not ever for­get, even tem­po­rar­ily, that we are on the same side. To my mind, it is a men­tal chal­lenge and not an or­gan­i­sa­tional lim­i­ta­tion. We can, by mere in­tent, make the sys­tem work much bet­ter. That is what we should do.

The on­go­ing de­bate on higher de­fence man­age­ment largely deals with three is­sues, namely:

Need for the armed forces to be­come part of the gov­ern­ment and ac­tive play­ers in de­ci­sion mak­ing. Also, for greater un­der­stand­ing to de­velop, armed forces of­fi­cers should oc­cupy berths in the civil­ian hi­er­ar­chy and vice versa. This should be done at both mid­dle and se­nior lev­els.

Need for a Chief of De­fence Staff (CDS) or a Per­ma­nent Chair­man Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee ( PCCOSC). What should be his du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties?

Should we adopt the The­atre Com­mand sys­tem?

The three is­sues re­quire ex­am­i­na­tion in­di­vid­u­ally.

CIVIL/MIL­I­TARY IN­TER­AC­TION

The pro­pos­als re­gard­ing cross post­ings ap­pear at­trac­tive and have some merit. They will pro­mote bet­ter un­der­stand­ing as long as there is a mu­tual de­sire to co­op­er­ate and per­son­al­i­ties do not un­der­mine the sys­tem. Also, we have to be se­lec­tive in de­ter­min­ing the berths that the dep­u­ta­tion­ists could oc­cupy. More im­por­tantly, it is not de­sir­able for those posted from out­side the sys­tem to be given de­ci­sion mak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. They would lack the ba­sic knowl­edge and in­stinc­tive un­der­stand­ing of sys­tems in vogue. The best we can hope for is that they would pro­vide in house do­main knowl­edge.

That will be of ben­e­fit un­less the ad­vice ren­dered is only sub­jec­tive. That could hap­pen. Again, the dep­u­ta­tion­ists may find the work cul­ture some­what alien and will have to get used to a new work ethos on join­ing the new or­gan­i­sa­tion and again when they re­vert back to their par­ent ser­vice. One other draw­back is that as the dep­u­ta­tion­ists will have to re­vert to their par­ent ser­vice, they may elect to air only parochial views. The pro­posal to in­tro­duce dep­u­ta­tion­ists has its lim­i­ta­tions but the ad­van­tage of ready avail­abil­ity of pro­fes­sional ad­vice has con­sid­er­able value and should be en­cour­aged with the per­son­nel warned of pit­falls and guided to over­come them. The great plus point of the pro­posal is that it can be read­ily im­ple­mented with­out in­tro­duc­ing any ma­jor changes and the sys­tem can be eas­ily mod­i­fied or even aban­doned at will. Another thought that could be con­sid­ered is that where in­de­pen­dent ad­vice from more ex­pe­ri­enced of­fi­cers is needed, it may be ad­vis­able to elicit the help of re­cently re­tired se­nior of­fi­cers whose knowl­edge is still fresh and who may not al­ways agree with the views of their par­ent ser­vice.

The other is­sue is the ad­vis­abil­ity of mak­ing ser­vice of­fi­cers as part of gov­ern­ment and giv­ing them de­ci­sion mak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that are tra­di­tion­ally en­joyed by the civil ser­vants. The thought process be­hind the pro­posal is that ser­vice of­fi­cers with their pro­fes­sional knowl­edge will bet­ter un­der­stand the needs and thereby has­ten the de­ci­sion mak­ing process par­tic­u­larly in pro­cure­ment of hard­ware. Here three is­sues merit ex­am­i­na­tion. Firstly, sup­posed in­ef­fi­cien­cies can­not be cured by mere change from civil­ian of­fi­cers to ser­vice of­fi­cers manning the berths in the Min­istry of De­fence. There is a sys­tem in vogue that is tried and tested and whilst im­prov­ing on it must re­main an on­go­ing process, ma­jor changes could be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. Sec­ondly and more im­por­tantly, the es­sen­tial re­quire­ment is train­ing for the post and con­ti­nu­ity in the post and not who mans it. It is rec­om­mended that a high per­cent­age of civil ser­vants in the Min­istry of De­fence should have had suf­fi­cient ex­po­sure to the armed forces ei­ther when they join, say by spend­ing a year or two in armed force units, or whilst in ser­vice. That will fos­ter greater un­der­stand­ing of ser­vice sys­tems and re­quire­ments. Thirdly and most im­por­tantly, con­scious ef­forts should be made to bet­ter un­der­stand the other side of the pic­ture and that will fos­ter the be­lief that all are on the same side and work­ing in in­di­vid­ual ways to­wards a com­mon goal. The ten­dency that should be es­chewed is the be­lief/con­vic­tion that ap­point­ment to a post makes for in­stant ex­per­tise. Seek­ing ad­vice and un­der­stand­ing is nei­ther de­mean­ing nor a sin.

For bet­ter in­ter­ac­tion of ser­vice and civil func­tionar­ies, ma­jor changes in or­gan­i­sa­tion are un­war­ranted. In­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments should be a con­tin­u­ous process. How­ever, it must be em­pha­sised that all should recog­nise that an or­gan­i­sa­tion can­not func­tion bet­ter than the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the peo­ple manning it.

CDS/PCCOSC

For the rest of this ar­ti­cle, the terms CDS and PCCOSC are used in­ter­change­ably and im­ply that both des­ig­na­tions will carry sim­i­lar re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The CDS will be sup­ported by the ex­ist­ing In­te­grated De­fence Staff (IDS) and the ex­tant du­ties of IDS will de­volve on the CDS. The writ­ings on the du­ties of CDS re­fer broadly to the fol­low­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties:

He will be the sin­gle point of con­tact for mil­i­tary ad­vice or on mil­i­tary mat­ters.

Ad­min­is­ter­ing the Strate­gic Force Com­mand (SFC). When­ever other tri-ser­vice com­mands like Special Op­er­a­tions Com­mand, Cy­ber Com­mand or Space Com­mand are set up, the Com­man­ders of all th­ese Com­mands will re­port to the CDS.

The CDS and his staff will en­sure greater ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness in the plan­ning process. This should in­clude both pro­cure­ments and op­er­a­tional plan­ning.

The CDS will help fos­ter greater joint­ness amongst the ser­vices.

As per ex­ist­ing norms, the In­te­grated De­fence Staff (IDS) re­ports to the Chair­man Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee (COSC) and so do the Com­man­der SFC and the tri-ser­vice An­daman and Ni­co­bar Com­mand. One dif­fer­ence is that un­like in the case of the pro­posed CDS, the Chair­man COSC is not des­ig­nated as the sin­gle point of con­tact on mil­i­tary mat­ters. The Chair­man is also a ro­ta­tional ap­point­ment and rapid changes have oc­curred in the past, changes that are viewed by some as mil­i­tat­ing against the min­i­mum de­sired ten­ure to per­mit con­ti­nu­ity. How­ever, it is ar­gued that the sys­tem has been op­er­at­ing for many years and the very ex­pe­ri­enced Chair­man COSC,

backed by so many three and two star of­fi­cers and a con­sid­er­able staff that com­prise IDS, should not have any dif­fi­culty to un­der­take ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Hence, it is opined that the cur­rent sys­tem should be left un­changed for the mo­ment. As and when new tri-ser­vice com­mands are es­tab­lished, the in­sti­tu­tion of a Per­ma­nent Chair­man makes sense. He would now be re­quired to over­see and con­trol the func­tion­ing of the tri-ser­vice com­mands to meet the needs of all three ser­vices. Chair­man COSC may find the work­load of over­see­ing the work of three or four ad­di­tional com­mands whilst re­tain­ing the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of his par­ent ser­vice as ex­ces­sive. Should the task of PCCOSC also in­clude the four re­spon­si­bil­i­ties men­tioned above? The para­graphs that follow ad­dress the ques­tion. On the face of it, seek­ing pro­fes­sional ad­vice from only a sin­gle source on all mil­i­tary is­sues ap­pears to give the source in­her­ent su­per hu­man pow­ers of in depth un­der­stand­ing of all is­sues con­cern­ing the armed forces. This is be­yond what can be ex­pected of a mere mor­tal. The con­cept is flawed. We are in an age of spe­cial­i­sa­tion and su­per spe­cial­i­sa­tion and whilst gen­er­al­ists have their place, it will al­ways be pru­dent to seek ad­vice from the source best qual­i­fied to pro­vide it. This is par­tic­u­larly so in case of op­er­a­tional plans and rec­om­men­da­tions. The same holds true for pro­cure­ment rec­om­men­da­tions. Cor­po­rate de­ci­sion mak­ing has many ad­van­tages. A sin­gle in­di­vid­ual can­not be the per­son to be con­tacted in ev­ery case. If a sys­tem of sin­gle source of ad­vice is adopted, the CDS would of­ten have to seek pro­fes­sional guid­ance from oth­ers. His rec­om­men­da­tions would be based on sec­ond hand in­for­ma­tion and if a dis­cus­sion en­sues or sup­ple­men­tary is­sues arise, the CDS will be hard pressed to make the best views avail­able. It should also be recog­nised that, in the ab­sence of ad­e­quate data, and that is of­ten the case, one has to rely on in­tu­ition and in­tu­ition is a prod­uct of first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence. There is no sub­sti­tute for ex­pe­ri­ence. Be that as it may, it is also more than likely that the views of the CDS would, maybe even un­in­ten­tion­ally, be bi­ased. We can and should do bet­ter. Each ser­vice has its core com­pe­ten­cies and that fact should be ac­cepted by all. Within each ser­vice there are sub spe­cial­i­sa­tions and in each case, there will prob­a­bly be more than one ex­pert. Even the head of a par­tic­u­lar ser­vice of­ten seeks the views of more than one in­di­vid­ual, dis­cusses the pros and cons of dif­fer­ing thoughts be­fore ar­riv­ing at a plan or a rec­om­mended course of ac­tion. If this ob­tains in a sin­gle ser­vice en­vi­ron­ment, the sit­u­a­tion is far more com­plex in in­ter-ser­vice con­sid­er­a­tions.

One more is­sue mer­its con­sid­er­a­tion. The CDS would be from one of the three ser­vices and it is in­ad­vis­able to make him re­spon­si­ble for the con­duct of op­er­a­tions. That should re­main in the realm of in­di­vid­ual ser­vices. This can­not be over em­pha­sised. The CDS would seek views from the heads of the three ser­vices and he would be more agree­able and amenable to ad­vice from the heads of ser­vices that are not his par­ent ser­vice. How­ever, dif­fer­ences of opin­ion could arise where his think­ing is con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent from the head of his par­ent ser­vice. An avoid­able pi­quant sit­u­a­tion could arise.

The con­cept of CDS pro­vid­ing a sin­gle point of ad­vice should be con­sid­ered as still born.

STRATE­GIC FORCE COM­MAND

The Strate­gic Force Com­mand draws sup­port from all three ser­vices. There is also a need for ad­min­is­tra­tive con­trol and ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port to the Com­mand. As it would be some­what prob­lem­atic for the Com­man­der SFC to deal with all three heads of the ser­vices, his re­port­ing to the Chair­man COSC or CDS or PCCOSC stands to rea­son. How­ever, it is a moot point as to whether any form of op­er­a­tional con­trol should be ex­er­cised by Chair­man COSC. In our sys­tem, for very good rea­sons, we have a clear sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the con­trol and con­duct of con­ven­tional op­er­a­tions on one hand and the prepa­ra­tion and, God for­bid, for a nu­clear war on the other. It is im­per­a­tive that the sep­a­ra­tion is main­tained. The two are very dis­tinct lev­els of con­flict and must be dealt with separately. We must shun the thought that use of a nu­clear weapon is a pos­si­ble ex­ten­sion of con­ven­tional mil­i­tary con­flict. In our sce­nario, the sole pur­pose of nu­clear weapons is to de­ter the use of such weapons against us. That must re­main the car­di­nal prin­ci­ple. Again, for good rea­sons, the se­cu­rity at­tached to mat­ters nu­clear

must be of a de­cid­edly higher or­der and we should do what­ever is pos­si­ble to en­sure that the sys­tems we adopt are such that no clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion is even in­ad­ver­tently com­pro­mised. Hence, it is strongly rec­om­mended that the op­er­a­tional con­trol of Com­man­der SFC should be ex­er­cised by ei­ther the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser or the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil of the Na­tional Com­mand Au­thor­ity. In fact, it would be ad­vis­able if Com­man­der SFC is in­vited to be­come part of the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil.

EF­FI­CIENCY AND EF­FEC­TIVE­NESS OF THE PLAN­NING PROCESS

IDS was in­tended to be the staff of the CDS. Even with­out the CDS, IDS re­ports to the Chair­man COSC. It is nearly 16 years since IDS was cre­ated (Oc­to­ber 2001). By now the teething prob­lems should be over and the or­gan­i­sa­tion well set­tled to over­see in­ter-ser­vice is­sues. Un­for­tu­nately, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has mor­phed into an en­tity by it­self in­stead of us­ing the very great ex­per­tise posted to it to iron out in­ter ser­vice dif­fer­ences. The great­est con­tri­bu­tion that IDS can make is to find so­lu­tions to vex­ing prob­lems that will be ac­cept­able to all. They must also help find com­mon ground when there are se­ri­ous dif­fer­ences of opin­ion. That has largely eluded us.

The De­fence In­tel­li­gence Agency of the IDS has done good work in pro­vid­ing Joint In­tel­li­gence As­sess­ments. It is now a re­spected or­gan­i­sa­tion. The IDS has also been suc­cess­ful in fi­nal­is­ing a De­fence Space Vi­sion. Many Joint Com­mit­tees have been cre­ated for bet­ter func­tional ef­fi­ciency. Some air de­fence is­sues have found so­lu­tions. A Joint Doc­trine for the ser­vices has also been re­leased. All th­ese are not se­ri­ously con­tentious is­sues. For in­stance, the doc­trine does not carry a high se­cu­rity grad­ing and must be guarded in its ap­proach. If a doc­trine is de­fined as a set of be­liefs, it has lit­tle value in for­mu­lat­ing ei­ther pro­cure­ment or op­er­a­tional plans. At best it can lay down broad con­cepts and ba­sic prin­ci­ples on the con­duct of op­er­a­tions. Is a doc­trine al­ways im­ple­mentable? Pos­si­bly the an­swer is in the neg­a­tive. No doc­trine can cater to var­ied con­tin­gences and can never be a dic­tat on how to wage wars. Se­cu­rity con­sid­er­a­tions will pro­hibit that. Again, the re­lease of a Joint Doc­trine does not au­to­mat­i­cally im­ply that it is a step­ping stone to the es­tab­lish­ment of the CDS and/or of The­atre Com­mands. At best fi­nal­is­ing a Joint Doc­trine is a small step and, maybe, shows that on is­sues that do not per­tain to pro­cure­ment or op­er­a­tions, a una­nim­ity of views of the three ser­vices can be ob­tained even if it is time con­sum­ing. That is in­ad­e­quate.

The ma­jor task of IDS should be to fash­ion and con­trol the pro­cure­ment sys­tem and to for­mu­late op­er­a­tional plans. Over the years, the IDS has worked hard to stream­line the pro­cure­ment process. It has in­tro­duced checks and pro­ce­dures to en­sure that the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure is ad­hered to. On many oc­ca­sions, it has made sure that a com­mon ap­proach and rec­om­men­da­tions are pre­sented to the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil. Some good work has also been done to­wards find­ing com­mon­al­ity in equip­ment pur­chases and in mak­ing a sin­gle ap­proach to the ven­dors; in­de­pen­dent ap­proaches by dif­fer­ent ser­vices for the same equip­ment as of­ten hap­pened in the past should not oc­cur again. All this is to the good but is not suf­fi­cient.

The IDS does lit­tle to for­mu­late the re­quire­ments for the ser­vices. The Long Term Per­spec­tive Plans of Army/Navy/Air Force are worked out by the in­di­vid­ual ser­vice sup­pos­edly on the ba­sis of Net As­sess­ments pre­pared by the con­cerned Direc­torate in IDS and the plan for­warded to the IDS. The IDS merely col­lates the plans and pro­duces a doc­u­ment ti­tled the Long Term In­te­grated Per­spec­tive Plan (LTIPP). It is in­tended to be a joint plan on the ba­sis of which pur­chase pro­pos­als can be read­ied. As it is, the IDS does not ex­am­ine if the pro­pos­als in the in­di­vid­ual plans are in­deed based on the net as­sess­ments. Again, in the in­te­grated plan, there are no rec­om­men­da­tions made on pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of pur­chases. There is lit­tle ap­pli­ca­tion of mind. Dif­fer­ent views are not sought and there­after ex­am­ined to ar­rive at con­crete and stud­ied rec­om­men­da­tions that can be de­fended. There is lit­tle ex­am­i­na­tion as to whether the pur­chases sought by dif­fer­ent ser­vices are con­ducive to joint op­er­a­tional plans. In this way, the au­thor­ity of the ser­vices is not un­der­mined but the LTIPP can hardly be called a joint plan.

The ma­jor lim­i­ta­tion in the sys­tem fol­lowed is that a joint pro­cure­ment plan can­not be made based on in­di­vid­ual ap­pre­ci­a­tions of what the net as­sess­ment fore­casts. The start­ing point has to be joint plan­ning. A sys­tem­atic ap­proach to­wards this

end is needed. It is rec­om­mended that each ser­vice is tasked to work out, in co­gent terms, its ca­pa­bil­i­ties whilst op­er­at­ing on its own and in con­junc­tion with the other ser­vice(s). This must be the first step. There­after joint plan­ning should be car­ried out for the con­tin­gen­cies that flow out of the net as­sess­ment or any other con­tin­gency. Such joint plan­ning should carry the com­mit­ment of each ser­vice that they will be able to ef­fect what they say they can. That will make the plan­ning more mean­ing­ful as there will be an in­her­ent quasi guar­an­tee of suc­cess. The im­plicit un­der­stand­ing should be that if it be­comes nec­es­sary to put the plans into prac­tice, no ser­vice will make ex­cuses for per­for­mance that is short of what was pro­jected ear­lier as ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Ac­count­abil­ity must be en­sured. The plan­ning will thus be more re­al­is­tic. More im­por­tantly, it will be a joint plan and point the way to­wards train­ing re­quire­ments. It is granted that this will be an in­volved process and a con­tin­u­ous process but the re­sults will be worth­while. The plans will au­to­mat­i­cally throw up im­me­di­ate pro­cure­ment needs and pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of pro­cure­ments in the years ahead. Most im­por­tantly, the op­er­a­tional plans and the sub­se­quently ar­rived at pro­cure­ment plans will have the con­cur­rence of all three ser­vices. If we are to at­ten­u­ate in­ter-ser­vice ri­valry, the start should be with op­er­a­tional plan­ning that is based on re­al­ity rather than imag­ined ca­pa­bil­i­ties and re­quire­ments. Good joint­ness will be a byprod­uct that will strengthen with time. Joint for­mu­la­tion of strat­egy and tac­tics and the con­se­quent op­er­a­tional plan­ning can­not but fos­ter bet­ter un­der­stand­ing and bet­ter joint­ness.

Some could ar­gue that the pro­ce­dure sug­gested is much too sim­plis­tic and war­fare is far more com­plex. The au­thor whole­heart­edly agrees. For se­cu­rity rea­sons, de­tails have been omit­ted. Also, as the sys­tem is fielded and be­gins to op­er­ate, im­prove­ments will sug­gest them­selves. A plan­ning sys­tem is an evo­lu­tion­ary process. But it bears men­tion that ev­ery­one ac­cepts that joint plan­ning is a pre-req­ui­site for ef­fec­tive pros­e­cu­tion of a mod­ern war and pro­gres­sive mod­erni­sa­tion is es­sen­tial. The pro­ce­dure out­lined meets both re­quire­ments. A log­i­cal ap­proach has been rec­om­mended - first plan and let the plan­ning process de­cide on pro­cure­ment pri­or­i­ties. It must be again em­pha­sised that the plan­ning process has to be com­plex and on­go­ing. It is not a one-time ac­tiv­ity. Se­cu­rity con­sid­er­a­tions will arise but as the plan­ning, by it­self, is car­ried out jointly but the pros­e­cu­tion of plans de­volved to in­di­vid­ual ser­vices, the se­cu­rity is­sue can be con­tained. Again as there will prob­a­bly be many plans and sub plans for each con­tin­gency, se­cu­rity is strength­ened as the choice of plan to adopt will be taken at the last mo­ment. A full time plan­ning team is needed and the work of this team will be as im­por­tant dur­ing peace as it will be dur­ing war.

The pro­ce­dure out­lined has not been at­tempted so far and it is likely that it will be met with strong re­sis­tance. Pos­si­bly, a Govern­men­tal push may be re­quired. It has of­ten been mooted that a Gov­ern­ment push is needed to in­tro­duce changes in Higher De­fence Or­gan­i­sa­tion. The au­thor ar­gues that a push to­wards joint plan­ning will work bet­ter. Not only plan­ning for pos­si­ble wars and how to pros­e­cute them is the bread and but­ter of the armed forces but the plans gen­er­ated and the man­ner in which the wars should be fought will au­to­mat­i­cally in­di­cate the op­ti­mum or­gan­i­sa­tion that will be most suit­able. Such a study will be based on in­puts that are more ger­mane to the armed forces and are as re­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble, as op­posed to ex­pres­sions of imag­i­nary needs and fears. Maybe no real changes will be re­quired.

When the IDS was cre­ated 16 years ago, it was hoped that bet­ter in­ter-ser­vice co­op­er­a­tion will re­sult. Un­for­tu­nately, that has not hap­pened. Turf bat­tles con­tinue even within IDS. If 16 years of IDS ex­is­tence and a manning level of some 300 of­fi­cers drawn from all three ser­vices, headed by an of­fi­cer of Vice Chief sta­tus who is sup­ported by 5 of­fi­cers of three star PSO sta­tus and another 24 two star of­fi­cers have still left so many short­com­ings as men­tioned in the ear­lier para­graphs, pos­si­bly the prob­lem is nei­ther ad­min­is­tra­tive nor or­gan­i­sa­tional. In­still­ing of joint­ness may be the es­sen­tial re­quire­ment.

Is it time to think de novo?

Edi­tor’s Note: Keep­ing in view the length of the ar­ti­cle, it has been di­vided into two parts. Part I ap­pear­ing in this Edi­tion deals with Civil/Mil­i­tary in­ter­ac­tion and CDS/IDS and re­lated is­sues. Part II deal­ing with the re­quire­ment of true ‘Joint­ness’ amongst the ser­vices would be dwelt upon fur­ther and the need for the ‘The­atre Com­mand Sys­tem’ will be dis­cussed in the ‘Au­gust Edi­tion’.

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