Indian armed forces are 3 rd largest military force and World’s largest standing volunteer army. But in 21st century numbers alone doesn't matter, if we need a total supremacy over enemy, we need modern equipment and a robust chain of command. If we are having a strong chain of command and a decision taking body, we will clearly have an advantage over enemy because, this will help us to execute our missions, swiftly and in more organised manner, with the optimum usage of our resources.
The Kargil war reflected the weakness of our decision taking body, which impacted our missions as well as reduced the number of choices we had at that time. Even though we succeeded in foiling Pakistani attempt to internationalize Kashmir issue, it was more a wake up call for the government to restructure our command chain. Kargil review committee submitted their report on Feb 23, 2000.The cabinet committee on security later appointed a group of ministers to study the report. The group of ministers held a total of 27 meetings and in order to facilitate their work, it had set up four task forces, one each on Intelligence apparatus, Internal Security, Border Management and Management of Defence. The group of ministers submitted their report to Prime Minister on Feb 26, 2000.
Arjun Singh committee on Defence management and Naresh Chandra committee recommended creation of Chief of Defence staff with four main functions;
1. Providing single point military advice
2. Administer strategic forces
3. Ensuring Jointness in the armed forces
4. Enhance planning process through Interservice coordination and prioritizing. $
CCS considered Group of ministers Report on May 11, 2001 and implemented all recommendations contained except the creation of a Chief of Defence Staffs, Mainly because of the fear that CDS may become more powerful than Cabinet Secretary.
The Kargil Review committee asserted need for establishing a Committee of Chief of Staffs and a permanent chairman to this committee, but the government was reluctant because of the fear of losing political power over the military, which may lead to a possible coup. This lead to the establishment of COSC without a permanent chairman, at present
1. The COSC members include Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CISC) who is a non-voting member.
2. The position of the chairman devolves on the longest serving chief of staff and rotates amongst the chiefs of service.
3. Currently serves as a advisory board and a forum for service chiefs to discuss matters having a bearing on the activities of the services.
Why We Need a Permanent Chief?
India is situated in a hostile neighbourhood, with possible risk of attack from two or more fronts. As we are having a vast coastline and mountainous terrain,it’s essential to have a good understanding of assets available with three forces and use them wisely in case of conflict to get a desired outcome with usage of optimum resources which will in turn reduce causalities as well as cost of war. For this we need a much deeper understanding and coordination between three forces, which we lacked at the time of Kargil conflict.
Currently the three forces are having three independent decision taking mechanisms, through COSC helped to lay down a platform for discussion and sharing doctrines and strategic views of three service chiefs, lack of a permanent chairman or a independent chief to assess and take further decisions, weakening the purpose of this committee
Some of the roles may give to permanent chairman COSC;
1. Exercise administrative control over nuclear arsenal.
2. Head a separate joint Special Forces command.
3. Ensure Jointness of armed forces.
4. Exercise administrative control over all joint service commands, such as Andaman Nicobar Command; Strategic Forces Command; Cyber Command (when created); Aerospace command (When created).
5. Prioritise allocation of capital budgets for acquiring vital capabilities for armed forces.
6. Prepare annual defence operational status reports.
7. Will be an invitee to Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and National Security Council (NSC). ^
Joint Chiefs of Staffs (United States)
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consist of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.*
The collective body of the JCS is headed by the Chairman (or the Vice Chairman in the Chairman's absence), who sets the agenda and presides over JCS meetings. Responsibilities as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff take precedence over duties as the Chiefs of Military Services. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council (NSC), however, all JCS members are by law military advisers, and they may respond to a request or voluntarily submit, through the Chairman, advice or opinions to the President, the Secretary of Defense, or NSC.
The executive authority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has changed. In World War II, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff acted as executive agents in dealing with theater and area commanders, but the original National Security Act of 1947 saw the Joint Chiefs of Staff as planners and advisers, not as commanders of combatant commands. In spite of this, the 1948 Key West Agreement allowed members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as executive agents for unified commands, a responsibility that allowed the executive agent to originate direct communication with the combatant command. Congress abolished this authority in a 1953 amendment to the National Security Act.*
Today, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have no executive authority to command combatant forces. The issue of executive authority was clearly resolved by the Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986: "The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall assign all forces under their jurisdiction to unified and specified combatant commands to perform missions assigned to those commands..."; the chain of command "runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense; and from the Secretary of Defense to the commander of the combatant command."*
Role of Chairman to JCS
The Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986 identifies the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the senior ranking member of the Armed Forces. As such, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President. He may seek the advice of and consult with the other JCS members and combatant commanders. When he presents his advice, he presents the range of advice and opinions he has received, along with any individual comments of the other JCS members.*
Under the DOD Reorganization Act, the Secretaries of the Military Departments assign all forces to combatant commands except those assigned to carry out the mission of the Services, i.e., recruit, organize, supply, equip, train, service, mobilize, demobilize, administer and maintain their respective forces. The chain of command to these combatant commands runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the commander of the combatant command. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may transmit communications to the commanders of the combatant commands from the President and Secretary of Defense but does not exercise military command over any combatant forces.*
The Act also gives to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff some of the functions and responsibilities previously assigned to the corporate body of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The broad functions of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are set forth in Title 10, United States Code, and detailed in DOD Directive 5100.1. In carrying out his duties, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff consults with and seeks the advice of the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the combatant commanders, as he considers appropriate.*
Goldwater-Nicolas Act of 1986
The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 was implemented on 1 October 1986. It has been called the most significant Defense policy change since the National Security Act of 1947. Goldwater-Nichols gave us a globe divided into Combatant Commands, each with a CINC (until 2002, when they became COCOMs). It also made the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the principle military advisor to the President, whereas previously the Service Chiefs had a much larger role in providing that advice.# This simplified command chain by giving orders directly to Combatant Commandants
According to Goldwater-Nicolas act chairman is the principal military adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. In carrying out his functions, duties, and responsibilities, the Chairman shall, as he considers appropriate, consult with and seek the advice of the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the commanders of the unified and specified combatant commands. And it defined the fuction of chairman as follows %
(a) Planning; Advice; Policy Formulation. Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the President and the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall be responsible for the following:
(1) Strategic Direction. Assisting the President and the Secretary of Defense in providing for the strategic direction of the armed forces.
(2) Strategic Planning.
(A) Preparing strategic plans, including plans which conform with resource levels projected by the Secretary of Defense to be available for the period of time for which the plans are to be effective.
(B) Preparing joint logistic and mobility plans to support those strategic plans and recommending the assignment of logistic and mobility responsibilities to the armed forces in accordance with those logistic and mobility plans.
(C) Performing net assessments to determine the capabilities of the armed forces of the United States and its allies as compared with those of their potential adversaries.
(3) Contingency Planning; Preparedness.
(A) Providing for the preparation and review of contingency plans which conform to policy guidance from the President and the Secretary of Defense.
(B) Preparing joint logistic and mobility plans to support those contingency plans and recommending the assignment of logistic and mobility responsibilities to the armed forces in accordance with those logistic and mobility plans.
(C) Advising the Secretary on critical deficiencies and strengths in force capabilities (including manpower, logistic, and mobility support) identified during the preparation and review of contingency plans and assessing the effect of such deficiencies and strengths on meeting national security objectives and policy and on strategic plans.
(D) Establishing and maintaining, after consultation with the commanders of the unified and specified combatant commands, a uniform system of evaluating the preparedness of each such command to carry out missions assigned to the command.
(4) Advice on Requirements, Programs, and Budget.
(A) Advising the Secretary, under section 163(b)(2) of this title, on the priorities of the requirements identified by the commanders of the unified and specified combatant commands.
(B) Advising the Secretary on the extent to which the program recommendations and budget proposals of the military departments and other components of the Department of Defence for a fiscal year conform with the priorities established in strategic plans and with the priorities established for the requirements of the unified and specified combatant commands.
(C) Submitting to the Secretary alternative program recommendations and budget proposals, within projected resource levels and guidance provided by the Secretary, in order to achieve greater conformance with the priorities referred to in clause (B).
(D) Recommending to the Secretary, in accordance with section 166 of this title, a budget proposal for activities of each unified and specified combatant command.
(E) Advising the Secretary on the extent to which the major programs and policies of the armed forces in the area of manpower conform with strategic plans.
(F) Assessing military requirements for defence acquisition programs.
(5) Doctrine, Training, and Education.
(A) Developing doctrine for the joint employment of the armed forces.
(B) Formulating policies for the joint training of the armed forces.
(C) Formulating policies for coordinating the military education and training of members of the armed forces.
(6) Other Matters.
(A) Providing for representation of the United States on the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
(B) Performing such other duties as may be prescribed by law or by the President or the Secretary of Defence.%
By limiting service chiefs to advisory role, US government managed to get a tight grip over the military. The Indian government must learn lessons from this model. Sometimes too much political control over military can produce undesired outcomes, to contain it we need to make a balanced plan, with a simple and robust decision taking mechanism and in turn enhance the capability of our armed forces in fighting a war .
^ $ http://www.spsmai.com/military/?id=2972&q=A-relook-at-the-Chief-of-Defence-Staff-/-Permanent-Chairman-COSC