Naresh Chandra Task Force: Waste of national resources?


Note: At last some one in the armed forces has reacted to a piece I wrote last week

A single star officer, the author of this critique will remain unnamed since he continues to serve. Here’s his detailed verbatim response.

Dear Nitin,
The recommendation to appoint Chairman COSC is a sham. There already exists one, so whats new? Oh, he have command and control over existing and proposed tri-service commands. It is a ‘no go’ because the Chairman will remain ever dependent on each of the services Army, Navy & IAF for its personnel requirements. Personnel of each service will be ‘lobbyists’ of respective Chiefs. And what a funny suggestion to rotate appointment of Chairman amongst three Services. Is COSC meant to become and function as a ‘Coalition Govt’ with the Prime/ Chief Ministership being rotated after fixed tenures.
Yet another opportunity to reform has been lost. National Security System does not have to depend on seeking Least Common Multiple (LCM)-solutions. It does not have to seek to appease lobbies and turfs.
The solution lies in:-
– Divesting the three Chiefs of operational command of forces. Let them be Chiefs of respective Staff – ‘resource providers to joint operational/ strategic commands’ – content with recruiting, training of personnel; holding and maintaining equipment; and executing related administrative functions
– Appoint CDS – to be chosen by the apex political auth (CCS) out of panel of names forwarded by the three Services. No rotation to appease services. Choice of apex political authority to be final.
– CDS, in peace time, only to exercise ‘functional control’ NOT ‘operational control’ of the ‘joint strategic/ operational commands’. Operational Control to be exxercised by the CCS through RM, with CDS and NSA being ‘advisors’ to CCS. CDS may be specifically assigned ‘operational command’ over specified forces for specified durations, in times of crises, as deemed appropriate by the CCS.
– Institute following joint strategic/operational commands
  • SFC (Tri-service)
  • Special Operations Command (Tri-Service)
  • Cyber Command (Tri-Service)
  • Aerospace Command (Tri-Service)
  • Northern Command; for China Theatre of Operations  (Bi-Service, Army/IAF)
  • Western Command; for Pak Theatre of Operations) (Bi-Service, Army/IAF)
  • Eastern Maritime Command; for Eastern Sea-board and North-Eastern IOR (Tri-Service, Army/Navy/IAF)
    • ANC to be subordinated to this command
  • Western Maritime Command; for Western Sea-board and North-Western IOR (Tri-Service, Army/Navy/IAF)
  • Joint Training Command (Tri-Service)
  • Joint Logistics Command (Tri-Service)

– Joint Billets (appointments and positions to be tenanted in each of above commands from each of the three services must be identified and fixed; there should be no attempt at ‘rotating’ of appointments to appease concerned service.

– Each Command must be led by a 4-star rank; chosen by the CCS from amongst panel forwarded by each concerned service. Again, no attempt should be made at ‘rotation’ to appease concerned services. Once appointed, these 4 star generals must cease to belong to their parent service and not display respective badges of ranks or insignia of parent service (must never revert to parent service – they must retire from these posns unless appointed CDS).
Let us understand that there are no short-cuts to achieving synergy by attempting to appease the ‘turf-masters’. The national security is onus of the apex political authority and must not be held ransom to the parochial interests of services or their chiefs. Also, at such apex level of management of national military security, there must not be attempts at distributing goodies equitably – choice made by the CCS must be considered optimal and final irrespective of whether Army or Navy or IAF gains or loses an additional general – At the national level, the sum total of these ranks will remain constant
The Committee has wasted precious national time