8 Jan 2020

Creation of the post of Chief of Defence StaffQuick read

Source: PRS India

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


The creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff was first recommended by the report of the Group of Ministers on ‘Reforming the National Security System’ (2001) to provide single-point military advice to the government. The government expects this reform will enable the armed forces to implement coordinated defence practices and procedures

Key highlights

  • The post will be in the rank of a four-star General. Further, a Department of Military Affairs will be constituted under the Ministry of Defence. This department will be headed by the CDS. 
  • General Bipin Rawat has been appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) with effect from December 31, 2019
  • The CDS will be the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Currently, this position is held by the senior-most Chief of Staff until they retire, and therefore is not permanent. 

Functions of CDS

  • Administer the tri-services organizations (Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force) and act as the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister on all tri-services matters. (Note that CDS will not exercise any military command over the three service chiefs.) 
  • Function as a military advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority (authority responsible for command and control of India’s nuclear weapons programme).  
  • Bring inter-service cooperation in operations, logistics, transport, communications of the three services.  
  • Serve as a member of the defence acquisition council and defence planning committee. 

Role of the Department of Military Affairs

The Department of Military Affairs will deal with: 

  • Matters related to defence procurement, training and staffing for the services
  • Facilitating restructuring of military commands for optimal utilization of resources, and 
  • Promoting the use of indigenous equipment.

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