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In a historic move uniformed personnel appointed as additional and joint secretaries

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Lt Gen Anil Puri has been appointed as the Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).

For the first time ever in the history of the Indian Armed Forces, uniformed personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy have been appointed formally as additional secretary and joint secretaries in the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This will help in streamlining decision making powers and other functions.

When was the order issued?

In an order issued earlier this week, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lt Gen Anil Puri has been appointed as the Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).

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Maj Gen K. Narayanan, Rear Admiral Kapil Mohan Dhir and Air Vice Marshal Hardeep Bains all three are now joint secretaries in the DMA. The office of DMA is now in the second year of being set up. As part of major reforms undertaken in the Ministry of Defence, this office was set up in 2020, and is headed by CDS Gen Bipin Rawat.

So far, the files had to be sent to the Secretary, DMA for any decisions to be made. With this new appointments, now the movement of the files will be smoother and decisions will be made faster based on the powers which have been delegated to them.

What does this mean? View of a Indian Army Veteran

Indian Army veteran Lt Col Manoj K Channan, explains, “This is a significant move as the CDS/DMA can now attend to the day to day procurements with the financial powers that have now been formalised. This should lead to significant reduction in the procurement process of equipment and stores needed to battle the ravaging pandemic or the belligerent PLA at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”

“This would allow decentralisation of the functioning of the appointments at the JS level which of course would be monitored by the additional secretary and the secretary DMA,” Lt Col Channan says.

Sharing his view with Financial Express Online, he says, “It is yet to be seen if such reforms are promulgated to Service HQs for Capital Expenditure and thus reduce the time lines and make up the deficiencies that exist. It may be noted that 60 per cent of the equipment of the Armed Forces is under obsolescence and needs to be replaced.”

Department of Military Affairs

In December 2019, the Financial Express Online had reported that the newly appointed CDS will also be heading the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), within the MoD and function as its Secretary.

The Charter of his duties indicated him to be the Single point of Advisor to the government on “all matters military” and to take along all the three services.

The mandate of the DMA is to focus on the jointness in procurement and also in the restructuring of the Military Commands for the optimal utilisation of resources through establishment of joint/theatre commands and also jointness in operations.

And, in three years after assuming office the CDS is expected to bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, of the three Services.

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