NEW DELHI: A crucial new Army post, the operational need for which came to the fore during the 73-day troop confrontation at Doklam with China in 2017, is still missing in action due to bureaucratic hurdles. Sources on Sunday said objections by the defence ministry’s finance wing have slowed down the approval process for the post of Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Strategy) or DCOAS (S), even as the ongoing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh crossed the 100-day mark last week.
The Army, in fact, has raised with defence minister Rajnath Singh the issue of the “operationally required and revenue-neutral” proposal being stymied despite it having no financial implications or additional manpower requirements. “The DCOAS (S) post was to be created in lieu of another Lt-General post, the director-general of Rashtriya Rifles, which the Army has already suppressed (done away with),” said a source.
As per the plan, the DCOAS (S) was to have the directors-general of military operations, military intelligence, operational logistics, perspective planning and information warfare under him at the Army headquarters.
This would ensure institutionalised seamless coordination to handle the massive operations, plans and logistics required by the 13-lakh force during a major border crisis, instead of the existing system of “an ad hoc steering committee” swinging into action.
The acute need for the post was felt during the Doklam confrontation near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017, which had also seen the two armies move forward additional infantry battalions, tanks, artillery and missile units to the Line of Actual Control.
The DCOAS (S) post was part of the overall restructuring and flattening of the Army headquarters recommended by one of the four studies conducted in 2018. The overall aim of the studies was to transform the Army into a lean, mean, rapidly-deployable and operationally versatile force in the years ahead.
The Army headquarters restructuring also entailed shifting out of 206 officers —three major generals, eight brigadiers, nine colonels and 186 lieutenant colonels and majors — to operational field formations. The Army has already moved the directorate of Rashtriya Rifles, the specialised counter-insurgency force operating in Jammu & Kashmir, to its Northern Command in Udhampur.


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