Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) in Armed Forces


The Narendra Modi government created 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.

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.

What is CoSC?

Chief of Staff Committee can be called as a forum, where the head of three services come together to discuss important matters related to any military issue or any task given by the ministry.

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.

Why India needs COSC?

- All the three services co-ordinate with each other for different purposes. With the existence of one head of all three services, a better coordination and co-operative practices could be executed.
- The requirement of CDS(Chief of Defence Staff) is strongly recommended by successive committees including the Kargil Review Committee headed by K Subramanya .
- To provide single point military advice to government.
- Streamline long-term defence planning and procurement purpose.
- Integrate service Headquarters with the defence ministry

A similar post is present in many countries over the globe too. Around 70 countries including UK, US, France and Germany have a post similar to CDS for integration in military planning and operations.  In US and France, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and CDS respectively are the highest ranking military officers and principal military advice to the President of their country.

Thursday, 29th Dec 2016, 11:22:28 PM

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