The Dangers Of Integrated Commands

When the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS) was set up in 2007, its mission was to “Rise above sectoral and departmental legacies, and examine joint warfare and synergy issues in their entirety”. Yet, it would seem that the recommendations for reforming and restructuring the higher security management of the country coming out of CENJOWS do not fulfil any of the missions it was tasked with. This begs the question, how is a government meant to act on advice that is blatantly promoting sectional interests under the guise of jointness?

Indeed should we be criticising ministers and bureaucrats for “ignoring military advice” or thanking them for turning a deaf ear to obviously bad advice? Ultimately we need to sit down and ask ourselves why is it that a string of intelligent men who have been defence ministers like A K Antony, Manohar Parrikar and now Arun Jaitley, have not and probably will not act to set up a unified military command despite differences in ideology and work culture.

The latest paper from CENJOWS titled “Reforming and Restructuring: Higher Defence Organisation of India” is a stock standard example of why our bureaucrats and politicians do not and should not take military advice. There are of course the usual rants about how financial advisors become financial controllers and deal blockers, without even an iota of introspection into why the blocking takes place.

Evidently the need to rigorously defend financial decisions within the system, where one loses some battles and wins some battles, is an onerous burden on the forces. One must not, however, diminish the problems the military faces on this score. The way out of this, of course, is not simply subjugating civilian authority to the military but rather education and a decision taking framework. The problem is to this day, not one Indian university teaches defence economics, and yet this does not seem to be a priority for the military.

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One commentOn The Dangers Of Integrated Commands

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    The Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS) is mandated to promote integration as a synergistic enabler for the growth of integrated National Power and provide alternatives in all dimensions of its applications through focused research and debate.

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