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Proposal on structure of Department of Military Affairs sent to Defence Ministry

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Starting with the next meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), procurement cases will be put up as prioritised by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Mukesh Agarwal, Defence Adviser to General Bipin Rawat said on Friday. Also, a proposal has been sent to the Defence Ministry on a formal structure comprising civil and military officials for the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) headed by the CDS.“At present, we have an interim structure. The approval has not come, so they have no financial powers. All files related to financial approvals are coming to the Secretary, DMA,” Major Gen. Agarwal said, adding, “We made a much leaner organisation as we have domain specialists.” It has been agreed to in-principle but the approvals will take some time, he stated.In addition to the CDS at the helm, the proposed DMA will have a Secretary, Transformation and Coordination, which will be the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), an Additional Secretary and five Joint Secretaries. The Additional Secretary will be a three-star officer while the Joint Secretaries include three officers, one from each service of the rank of Major General or equivalent. On streamlining procurements, Major Gen. Agarwal said technology on the battlefield is very dynamic and procurements have to be prioritised. All revenue procurements are totally with the DMA and financial powers of Defence Secretary will now go to the Secretary, DMA. In addition, while capital procurements remain with the Department of Defence (DoD) headed by the Defence Secretary, Major Gen. Agarwal said, “Prioritisation of all capital procurement remains with DMA.”He said they had studied various models including the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation before arriving at a suitable model. The proposed model is also an interim one and would be reviewed.The IDS headquarters will remain as it is, Major Gen. Agarwal said, adding that the role of the DMA is scrutiny and the role of the IDS is “jointness”. Military diplomacy has been moved to the DMA, while defence diplomacy remains with the DoD.On December 30, the Centre notified the creation of the DMA with the CDS as its head and also as a Secretary in the MoD. The DMA is the fifth department in the MoD and the three services have been brought under the ambit of the DMA.

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