Army meet ap­proves steps to make force lean, mean ma­chine

Plan To Be Im­ple­mented In Phased Man­ner

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

New Delhi: The Army com­man­ders’ con­fer­ence has de­cided that the four ma­jor stud­ies cur­rently un­der way to trans­form the over 1.2 mil­lion strong or­gan­i­sa­tion into a lean, mean and op­er­a­tionally ver­sa­tile force, with bet­ter util­i­sa­tion of bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions, will be pro­gres­sively im­ple­mented in a phased man­ner.

“The phases will com­prise req­ui­site re­fine­ments of the stud­ies to make them prag­matic for im­ple­men­ta­tion. It has also been de­cided that all oper­a­tional as­pects of the stud­ies will be val­i­dated through testbed­ding them in ex­er­cises,” said Army spokesper­son Colonel Aman Anand on Satur­day.

The Army led by Gen­eral Bipin Rawat plans to launch the ma­jor trans­for­ma­tive ex­er­cise by early next year af­ter fine-tun­ing the four stud­ies, headed by se­nior lieu­tenant gen­er­als, on force re­or­gan­i­sa­tion and op­ti­mi­sa­tion, flat­ten­ing head­quar­ters at dif­fer­ent lev­els, cadre re­view and terms of en­gage­ment for of­fi­cers and jawans, as was first re­ported by TOIin mid-Au- gust. If all the mea­sures un­der con­sid­er­a­tion are ac­tu­ally im­ple­mented on the ground, it will lead to slash­ing of man­power by around 1.5 lakh per­son­nel in the next six-seven years to save around Rs 6,000-7,000 crore an­nu­ally in rev­enue ex­pen­di­ture.

“The fo­cus of the stud­ies is holis­tic in­te­gra­tion to en­hance the oper­a­tional and func­tional ef­fi­ciency, op­ti­mise bud­get ex­pen­di­ture, fa­cil­i­tate force mod­erni­sa­tion and ad­dress as­pi­ra­tions of both of­fi­cers and sol­diers,” said the spokesper­son.

The rec­om­men­da­tions range from in­creas­ing com­bat force ra­tio by slash­ing non-oper­a­tional flab and down­siz­ing the Army HQs by merg­ing or re­lo­cat­ing dif­fer­ent di­rec­torates to cre­at­ing in­te­grated com­pos­ite brigades un­der Ma­jor-Gen­er­als and elim­i­nat­ing most of the di­vi­sional head­quar­ters.

The ma­jor pro­posal to cre­ate com­pos­ite brigades or inte- grated in­fantry, ar­moured and ar­tillery bat­tle groups, with four to six bat­tal­ions each in­stead of the ex­ist­ing three, also ties in with the on­go­ing cadre re­view of of­fi­cers. The cadre re­view, among things, has sug­gested the rad­i­cal step of do­ing away with the rank of Bri­gadier (the rank will be re­tained only in staff post­ings) to en­sure bet­ter ca­reer prospects and par­ity with the civil ser­vices as well as ar­rest its grey­ing pro­file of com­man­ders.

The Army com­man­ders’ con­fer­ence also dis­cussed the ur­gent need to have longer tenures for for­ma­tion com­man­ders as well as “en­hanc­ing lin­guis­tic skills” in the force. “The ne­ces­sity and method­ol­ogy to en­hance ex­per­tise in lo­cal lan­guages like Urdu and Kash­miri and in­ter­na­tional lan­guages like Chi­nese and English have been es­tab­lished,” said Colonel Anand.

The fo­cus will be on en­hanc­ing oper­a­tional and func­tional ef­fi­ciency, op­ti­mis­ing ex­pen­di­ture and mod­ernise the force

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