The structure of the newly-constituted department of military affairs (DMA), headed by chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, is taking shape and it will be staffed by one secretary-ranked officer, one additional secretary and five joint secretaries, a senior army officer said on Friday.
The department has sought the government's approval for the appointment of one secretary who will be responsible for transformation and coordination, one three-star ranked additional secretary and three joint secretaries to execute its wide-ranging mandate, said Major General Mukesh Aggarwal, defence advisor to General Rawat.
The DMA will have a total of five joint secretaries, with two having already been posted to the department. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet had last month cleared the appointment of two officers in the DMA --- Rajeev Singh Thakur, a 1995 batch IAS officer from Rajasthan cadre, and Shantanu, a 1997 batch officer from Tripura cadre.
At the time of its creation, the government had announced that the DMA would be staffed by a mix of civilian and military officers.
Aggarwal said an interim set up has already been created in the DMA to take forward its mandate with a secretary (transformation and coordination), three additional secretaries and five joint secretaries. The head of the Integrated Defence Staff (an officer of the rank of commander-in-chief) is currently "dual hatting" as secretary (transformation and coordination).
"A lot of discussions have taken place (on the new appointments). While in-principle agreement is there, approvals will take some time," Aggarwal said.
HT reported on Thursday that the defence ministry has sent the names of three two-star ranked officers from the army, air force and navy to the government for appointment as joint secretaries in department of military affairs. These officers will be appointed as joint secretaries handling army, air force and navy.
The two IAS officers already posted to the DMA have been assigned their duties --- Thakur has been appointed joint secretary (legal, vigilance and establishment) while Shantanu has been given charge of joint secretary (works and coordination).
The department's officials will be able to exercise financial powers after the government clears the other appointments.
Rawat's secretariat consists of a defence advisor, three deputy defence advisers and two aides-de-camp. The deputy defence advisors from the three services will look after promotions and posting of officers of the rank of major general and above, Aggarwal said.
The DMA is an addition to the four existing verticals in the defence ministry --- the departments of defence, defence production, defence research and development and ex-service welfare.
As CDS, Rawat not only heads the DMA but is also the principal military adviser to the defence minister on all matters related to the tri-services. He took over as the country's first CDS on December 31.
Rawat's mandate includes facilitating the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of theatre commands.