The Narendra Modi government is set to create a post of permanent chairman, chiefs of staff committee (COSC) — a four-star officer who will be the single-point military adviser to the Centre — four years after a recommendation by the Naresh Chandra task force on higher defence reforms.
Top government sources confirmed to Hindustan Times that the process of appointment of chairman, COSC, would begin after Modi’s in-principle approval next week. It is understood that a presentation on higher defence reforms and future air power planning will be made before the PM on April 12. The proposal has already been vetted by the cabinet secretary, national security adviser and defence minister.
“Once the presentation is cleared by the Prime Minister, a formal proposal will be moved for approval in the cabinet committee on security (CCS). The entire exercise should be over in a couple of months,” a senior official said.
The government envisages the permanent chairman to have a two-year tenure and equivalence in rank and protocol with the army, navy and air force chiefs of staff.
Selected on the basis of merit and from any of the three arms, the officer will be responsible for all military hardware acquisition processes, tri-service command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, cyber command, special forces, and for inculcating “jointmanship” within the forces for optimum utilisation of resources.
A single- point military adviser’s post in the form of chief of defence staff was proposed by the K Subrahmanyam Committee set up by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee gover nment after the 1999 Kargil war.
In 2011, the UPA regime revisited higher defence reforms under a committee led by former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra. The committee, which submitted its report in 2012, recommended a watered down version of the CDS and called it the PCOSC (permanent chairman of the COSC).
“The whole idea behind appointing a PCOSC is to break down silos within armed forces and create synergy in the fighting force. The problem with the existing separate military headquarters is that there is a turf war between the three wings with each seeing things with its own perspective and requirement,” a senior official said.