Chief of Defence Staff gets govt. nod-The Hindu-(PG-12)-25-12-2019


The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).


The creation of the post of CDS has been a long pending demand and forms part of higher-level military reforms.

The Prime Minister in his Independence Day address of 2019 had announced the appointment of a CDS. Thereafter, an implementation committee was constituted to finalize the exact responsibilities and an enabling framework for the post of CDS.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had approved the recommendations of the committee, headed by the National Security Adviser, on the role and charter of the CDS.


The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, has approved the creation of the post of CDS in the rank of a four-star General, with salary and perquisites equivalent to a service chief.

The government has previously informed the Parliament that the CDS would come in the ambit of ‘Right to Information Act’, in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

Responsibilities of CDS:

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), will function as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and also as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).

In his capacity as the Permanent Chairman, COSC, the CDS would administer tri-Services organisations, agencies and commands related to Cyber and Space.

In the strategic domain, the CDS would function as the “Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority” chaired by the Prime Minister.

Department of Military Affairs:

The CDS will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created in the Ministry of Defence, and function as its Secretary.

The armed forces will be brought under the ambit of the DMA and will deal with works relating to the three Services and procurement exclusive to the Services, except capital acquisitions, as per prevalent rules and procedures.


The CDS will also be a member of the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the Defence Minister.

Long term Planning:

The CDS will be a member of the Defence Planning Committee chaired by the NSA.


The CDS will be above the three service chiefs in the hierarchy structure.

The CDS will act as the Principal Military Adviser to Defence Minister on all tri-Services matters. However, the three Chiefs will continue to advise the Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services. The CDS would not exercise any military command, including over the Service Chiefs.


Integrating operations:

The broad mandate of the CDS includes bringing about jointness in “operations, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.”

Optimisation of resources:

A major task of the CDS is to bring about synergy and optimise procurements, training and logistics.
Apart from implementing the long-term capital acquisition plans, the functions of the CDS include assigning “Inter-Services prioritization to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget.”
CDS will facilitate a restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through the establishment of joint/theatre commands.

Disaster relief operations:

Interestingly, the CDS would also evaluate plans “for ‘Out of Area Contingencies’, as well as other contingencies such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).”

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