Government kicks off appointing new chief of defense staff, retired officers now eligible

New Delhi: The ball rolling for the appointment of a new Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS), with the government making formal changes to rules and regulations allowing even retired three-star officers to be eligible for the appointment to the highest post – which has remained vacant since the death of General Bipin Rawat last December.

Sources in the defense and security establishment tell ThePrint that if a retired officer is to be the new CDS, the main contenders would be two army officers who deal with critical sectors involving China. .

They also said that if a serving officer is brought in, he won’t necessarily be from the military.

Under the new rules notified by a notice in the Official Journal dated June 6 and published on Tuesday, the three heads of departments who retired most recently will not be able to be appointed as CDS because the age limit has been set at 62. .

All department heads have a fixed term of three years or until they reach the age of 62.

However, it opens the field to former officers of the rank of Commander-in-Chief, who retire at age 60.

Sources said that if the gazette notification refers to three-star officers, it means commander-in-chief level officers and not anyone below.

There are many three-star officers who do not achieve a position on the scale of a commander-in-chief.

Open Options

Last month, ThePrint was the first to report that a senior decision-making body within the government had approved changes to certain rules that allow for the possibility of bringing a retired officer back to the post of CDS.

It was also reported on December 9 last year that the government was considering the possibility of appointing retired officers to the post of CDS, in addition to serving four-star and three-star officers.

As part of the gazette notification, amendments were made to the Army, Air Force and Navy Acts to accommodate the changes.

The Army notification says, “The Central Government may, if it deems it necessary in the public interest, appoint as Chief of the Defense Staff, an officer who serves as a Lieutenant General or General or a officer who has retired in the rank of lieutenant general or general but has not reached the age of sixty-two on the date of his appointment”.

Similar changes were also made to Air Force and Navy laws, with rank structures being different.

As previously stated, the rule changes do not necessarily mean that the next CDS will be a retired officer, but simply open up more options for the government.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

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