The Union cabinet on Tuesday approved the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and its charter and duties.The CDS will be a 4-star general who will head the new Department of Military Affairs."He will be drawing a salary equivalent to service chiefs, and will head the Department of Military Affairs to be created under the Ministry of Defence. He will function as its Secretary," Minister Prakash Javadekar said at the cabinet briefing.He will have all the powers like other secretaries, including financial.Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hailed the cabinet decision to approve the CDS calling it an "historic and major" decision towards bringing about "jointmanship" between the armed forces."In a historic decision for ushering in reforms in the higher defence management in the country, the government has decided to create a post of Chief of Defence Staff and to create a Department of Military Affairs, within the Ministry of Defence," Singh tweeted."The decision to create CDS is a major step towards bringing about jointmanship between the armed forces," he said.The CDS will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on tri-services matters. The three service chiefs will continue to advise the Defence Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective forces.The idea behind creating the CDS is that defence should not have a fragmented approach.
"Our entire military power will have to work in unison. All the three (services) should move simultaneously at the same pace," a senior government official said.The CDS was planned after looking into the changing nature of warfare, the security environment and national security challenges.The aim is to bring about jointness between the armed forces of the country in training, procurement, staffing and operations, to enhance the quality of military advice given to the political leadership through integration of service inputs, and to develop and foster expertise in military affairs."The CDS will work exclusively with military matters that fall within the purview of the Department of Military Affairs. The Department of Defence will deal with larger issues pertaining to defence of the country," the official said.The armed forces will come under the ambit of the Department of Military Affairs, which will have appropriate expertise to manage military affairs.The Department of Military Affairs will have the appropriate mix of civilian and military officers at every level.The Department of Military Affairs headed by the CDS will deal with the armed forces of the Union-- the Army, Navy and the Air Force, the integrated headquarters of the Defence Ministry comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters, the Defence Staff Headquarters and the Territorial Army.
Department of Military Affairs will also deal with works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and procurement exclusive to the services, except capital acquisitions.The department will promote jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the three services.It will facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands, a statement said.The CDS will also have a second role as the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. In this role, he will be supported by the Integrated Defence Staff.The CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three service chiefs.The CDS will administer tri-services organisations. Their military command will be with the chief of the duly notified service, which will play a predominant role in effective functioning of that specific tri-service organisation.The CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the Defence Minister and the Defence Planning Committee chaired by the National Security Adviser. He will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.According to the ministry, the CDS will provide integrated inputs of the services to the relevant authorities. The incumbent will be a member of the Defence Acquisition Council and the Defence Planning Committee."The tri-services agencies, organisations and commands related to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS," said the official.According to the official, the CDS will bring about jointness in operations, logistics, transportation, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services within three years of the first CDS assuming office.He will also ensure optimal rationalisation and utilisation of infrastructure.The CDS will assign inter-services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget and integrate and rationalise international cooperation plans.He will prepare strategy papers on military matters for consideration of the competent authority, bring about reforms in the functioning of three services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the armed forces."This may, inter-alia, entail rationalisation of facilities and the use of indigenous equipment across the whole spectrum. He will identify and end obsolete practices, which may have crept in due to the colonial legacy," the officer said.