the Defence Acquisition Council
T he MoD’s apex Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), usually the last MoD stop proposals or deals pass through before clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), could function very differently in the future. Chairing his first meeting of the DAC on November 22, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has called for more frequent meetings (the current default is once a month or less) with more focused agenda items, which would allow the council more time to discuss each item before according necessary approvals. DAC meetings range from being fairly light to hugely overburdened with as many as 20 agenda items in some notable recent cases, leaving very little time for each item to be discussed.
Sources said Parrikar wishes to personally scrutinise all proposals and deals before they are dispatched from the MoD for higher government approvals at the CCS level (Parrikar is also part of CCS). With the DAC likely to meet more than once a month in future, the acquisition process could finally receive a level of transparency and predictability, a more defined structure in terms of prioritised clearances and a neater framework for approvals. The Defence Secretary’s office has been instructed to evolve a new schedule for the DAC that will take into account the fresh requirements as stated by the Defence Minister. As has become standard practice now, while no official communication on the DAC decisions are released, journalists are officially briefed by the MoD on the decisions for onward dissemination. A decision may also be taken to issue official statements on these matters, depending on sensitivity and consent from requisite agencies.