Newly appointed Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat at a joint military guard of honour (Photo: File/AP)
The newly-created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the Defence Ministry has got cracking on delivering “tangible outcomes” within 100 days as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions, even before it has had time to be established and settled.
The instructions to the DMA, which is headed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, were passed on by Modi during sectoral briefings by selected secretaries earlier this week. The briefing for all ministries dealing with national and internal security was done by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
“The DMA has got to hit the ground running after the PM expressed his desire to show tangible outcomes from this major reform he has undertaken, and he has given a deadline of 100 days. It has meant that they have had little time to settle down and establish themselves,” a senior government official told The Indian Express.
As per a government order, the CDS has been given a time-bound task to be done within three years — to bring about jointness in operations, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, and repairs and maintenance of the three services. The head of DMA has to also facilitate the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/ theatre commands.
What falls under the DMA’s purview?
The charter of duties of the DMA was so far looked after by the Department of Defence, which is headed by the Defence Secretary, who is also the secretary in-charge of the Defence Ministry. Work exclusively pertaining to military matters will fall within the purview of the DMA, while the Department of Defence will deal with larger issues pertaining to defence of the country.
Meanwhile, the Department of Defence has decided to transfer its civilian officials to the DMA based on the quantum of work, sources said. As nearly 35 per cent of the work from the Department of Defence has been allocated to the DMA, it has decided to allocate two Joint Secretaries, 13 Deputy Secretaries and 25 Under Secretaries to the new department.
Sources said that the two joint secretaries who are likely to join DMA are both IAS officers. Their names have been identified and the officers have agreed to the move, but their role and appointment in DMA is still not clear.
In fact, in the interim, the DMA has already posted military officers of Major General and equivalent ranks as Joint Secretaries in-charge of the Army, Navy and Air Force. These posts in the erstwhile department of defence were tenanted by civilian officers from central services.
As per sources, there is still no clarity on the organisation structure, charter, role and staffing norms of DMA, which will need to be processed through the ministry. It will thereafter need the sanction of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), before the new department is formalised.