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Chief of Defence Staff

Topics covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Chief of Defence Staff

What to study?

For prelims and mains: CDS- need, roles and functions, practice so far and significantly.

Context: The outgoing Army chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, has been appointed as the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

As per the notification by the government, the upper age limit for the CDS has been fixed at 65 years. However, the tenure of CDS has not been fixed.

About CDS:

He will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
CDS oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services.


He will be a Four-star General.

  1. Not eligible to hold any Government office after demitting the office of CDS.
  2. No private employment without prior approval for a period of five years after demitting the office of CDS.

Roles and functions:

  • CDS will provide “single-point military advice”to the government, inject synergy in planning, procurements and logistics in the armed forces.
  • It will ensure integration of land-air-sea operations through the eventual setting up of theatre commands.
    The CDS will also function as the military advisor to the PM-led Nuclear Command Authority,as also have direct command of tri-Service organizations to handle the new warfare domains of space and cyberspace.
  • He will function as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and also as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
  • The CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council and Defence Planning Committee.


The charter of the CDS, if implemented properly, will prepare the 15-lakh strong armed forces for the wars of the future. The CDS is mandated to ensure the Army, Navy and IAF, which often pull in different directions, truly integrate to slash wasteful expenditure amidst the ongoing severe fund crunch for military modernization because of the ballooning pay and pension bills.

Sources: pib.