But the larger reforms to transform the over 12.5 lakh strong organisation into a lean, mean, rapidly-deployable and operationally versatile force, which will among other things entail slashing manpower by around 1.5 lakh personnel over the next six-seven years to save around Rs 6,000-7,000 crore annually in revenue expenditure, will have to be approved by the next government after it comes to office.
As was first reported by TOI last year, the Army had conducted four studies on force reorganisation and optimisation, flattening headquarters at different levels, cadre review and terms of engagement for officers and jawans, which are to be gradually implemented after requisite approvals from this year onwards.
Officials on Thursday said defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently approved the first set of reforms, which will include 20% of the officers in the Army headquarters being re-deployed to operational locations. The post of Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (Strategy), in turn, is being created to deal with military operations, military intelligence, strategic planning and operational logistics.
The creation of a new information warfare wing is being done in keeping the needs of the future battlefield, hybrid warfare and social media reality in mind. The government has also approved merging of the separate verticals of the DCOAS (planning and strategy) and the Master General Ordnance (MGO) into one office of the DCOAS (Capability Development and Sustenance).
“Towards the Army’s capability-based modernisation needs, this would synergise and coalesce all revenue and capital spending under one organisation and effectively prioritise competing requirements with an operational focus to get better value for funds allocated by the government,” said an official.