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Swordarm » Military, Reforms, Shortage of officers » Shortage of Officers – a Simple Solution

Shortage of Officers – a Simple Solution


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The shortage of officers is  a live problem  the army is facing today. Unfortunately, the realization has not dawned on many people that this is not merely the army’s problem, but the concern of the nation. Army is after all, a national asset, and any degradation in its efficiency is detrimental to national security and national interest. The efforts to overcome this problem therefore needs to be made at a national level.

While articles on the subject continue to appear with regularity in national media and websites, practical solutions are hard to come by. This article on Meri News, for instance, even suggests better looking spouses for army officers, improving their social standing. One wonders the efficacy of such moves, but it is heartening to note that thought is being given to the issue.

One possible solution is to make five years of military service compulsory for all gazetted government officers in the centre and states. The entry age should be reduced, exams held immediately after graduation, and successful candidates should join the army, serve for five years and then move on to their respective service. This would be a win win situation, since there is no dearth of aspirants for the civil and allied services, and all these candidates could contribute to the security of the nation prior to moving on to their selected career. Reducing of induction age would ensure that they enter their respective parent service at the same age that they are doing now.

Apart from sorting out the officer shortage in the Army, such a move would also have spin off benefits such as instilling the undoubtedly commendable discipline and ethos of the services in the entire administration, the posting in far flung places during military career giving exposure to grassroots situation to the civil servants, and creating a reserve pool of trained personnel available in case of any exigency. Also, it would promote better understanding of defence affairs amongst the administrators, something that is sadly lacking today.

The time has come to stop paying lip service to the live problem of shortage of officers in the army, and take concrete steps such as the one suggested.

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9 Responses to "Shortage of Officers – a Simple Solution"

  1. Brig Dipak Anand says:

    Bravo.A good suggestion but one which will require a lot of homework to be doneto work out modalities for the induction of the potential civil servants in order to assess their suitability for the requirements of the ARMED FORCES like OLQ, PHYSICAL FITNESS etc.This suggestion ,if found acceptable and implementable, would also inculcate a sense of awareness about the difficult conditions under which the armed forces operate and a sense of loyalty towards the services rendered by the soldiers,both of which are sadly lacking in this country at present.

  2. Maj Luthra says:

    A very good suggestion sir, but alas, who will act on it? The person responsible for not only coming up with such thoughts but also their implementation, i.e the Military Secretary is busy playing Khosla ka Ghosla. Unfortunately we have a military leadership that has degenerated into self serving spectators least concerned about the long term vision about the organisation. It is a vicious circle where mediocrity is promoted by mediocrity and everyone is living from tenure to tenure, playing it safe and keeping their respective bosses happy. Who has the time for creative thinking or solving the problems of the organisation, when there are more important (and rewarding) things like land deals to take care of. God save us.

  3. Major Oinam says:

    I have an intersting thought- ever noticed that the quality of army spouses go up afer each conflict,thereby resulting in better looking children, and theses SODA(Senior Offrs daughters Association)s have done really well for themselves!! Priety Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Sushmita sen, etc etc.. to name a few.. these r a result of the 1971 conflict. After Kargil, the quality of spouses has again gone up!! though, the spouses of Lady Officers and the lady offrs themselves leave much to be desired!!
    Well, coming to the main discussion,India is a democracy so all these thoughts of conscription will never work. India deliberately puts its Armed Forces down and it could be no surprise if there is some bureaucratic victory in the present sorry state of affairs of the Army! Perhaps this is how the nation wants the army to be– subservient to the civil polity and bureaucracy! A rabid fear of a strong Army drives all policy on defence, spurred on by the antics of the ‘strong’ dictatorial Armies in our neighbourhood.
    However, it is a good thought worth shouting out aloud… Five years is too long a spell. 2 years will do. After all, the Army thinks its ok for Ord offrs to undergo a 2 yr stint with Inf. In addn, there r more logistical problems. How do u train these selected candidates? u have to train them at least for 9 months to give them a fair chance in CI/CT Ops or Hot war. U will have to open new academies or enlarge the existing ones. In addn, the selection criteria for civil services is different from Army, so will we make them go thru SSB, or do we imply that all civil services qualified chaps r natural offrs??? or do we let them come thru their selection process and acede to their superiority?? hmmm…Also, it will lead to people backing out from even the civil services!! So u will compound the problem for the nation! After much food for thouught, it wont work. Not in India.
    The solution could be the SEVENTH pay commission in time, better selection procedures, better emoluments and modernization of the Army…more tooth, slimmer tail…Better looking Army, longer service, better retirement solutions and increased and better publicity…Making more jawans into soldiers thru SCO, SL and the like would be like incest… inbreeding out of lack of choice.. bad!

  4. Major Oinam K says:

    It is a very pertinent point. comment on meri news–I have an intersting thought- ever noticed that the quality of army spouses go up afer each conflict,thereby resulting in better looking children, and theses SODA(Senior Offrs daughters Association)s have done really well for themselves!! Priety Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Sushmita sen, etc etc.. to name a few.. these r a result of the 1971 conflict. After Kargil, the quality of spouses has again gone up!! though, the spouses of Lady Officers and the lady offrs themselves leave much to be desired!!
    Well, coming to the main discussion,India is a democracy so all these thoughts of conscription will never work. India deliberately puts its Armed Forces down and it could be no surprise if there is some bureaucratic victory in the present sorry state of affairs of the Army! Perhaps this is how the nation wants the army to be– subservient to the civil polity and bureaucracy! A rabid fear of a strong Army drives all policy on defence, spurred on by the antics of the ‘strong’ dictatorial Armies in our neighbourhood.
    However, it is a good thought worth shouting out aloud… Five years is too long a spell. 2 years will do. After all, the Army thinks its ok for Ord offrs to undergo a 2 yr stint with Inf. In addn, there r more logistical problems. How do u train these selected candidates? u have to train them at least for 9 months to give them a fair chance in CI/CT Ops or Hot war. U will have to open new academies or enlarge the existing ones. In addn, the selection criteria for civil services is different from Army, so will we make them go thru SSB, or do we imply that all civil services qualified chaps r natural offrs??? or do we let them come thru their selection process and acede to their superiority?? hmmm…Also, it will lead to people backing out from even the civil services!! So u will compound the problem for the nation! After much food for thouught, it wont work. Not in India.
    The solution could be the SEVENTH pay commission in time, better selection procedures, better emoluments and modernization of the Army…more tooth, slimmer tail…Better looking Army, longer service, better retirement solutions and increased and better publicity…Making more jawans into officers thru SCO, SL and the like would be like incest… inbreeding out of lack of choice.. bad choice.
    Amen.

  5. Major Oinam K says:

    As for the MS branch, they’ve been managing my postings well, 8 yrs in field out of 10 yrs service. more than 2 yrs in RR in high alti now. in addn to 3 yrs with inf as inf attachee..Thanx Maj Luthra for enlightening on the MS activities…Now i know why i am spinning around in field!!!Haha! They dont have time for me! I better join these land deals soon as a member if i want to see my children growing up or resign myself to them calling me Uncle all the time!!Ha Ha!

  6. Sarabjeet says:

    Rohit,
    1. I feel that there is a conspiracy behind shortage of Officers, JCO’s and OR in armed forces as one can understand shortage of officers for want of OLQ, blah ..blah…. what about men, a rough estimate of shortage is approx 50000 ( all ranks).
    2. Now lets take CTC for shortage at a conservative price of Rs 1,00,000( inclusive of pay , boarding, lodging, Medical, training etc) ie to say 50000 x 100000 x 12= Rs 60,00,00,00,000 this is a very conservative figure and the revenue budget is as per the posted strength and not as per authorised strength.
    3. Lets see if the shortage remains if the govt agrees to pay for all.
    4. Actually officers shortage is at lower level that too in the units an sub units, pruning has to start from the Headquarters….

  7. JAGJIT says:

    Well, if there is a shortage of officers, some other officers must be working overtime. I hope they are compensated as in civil for doing others work.Government should pay them well.

  8. Sword says:

    @Jagjit – extra compensation is neither expected, nor given.

  9. Sword says:

    @Sarabjeet,

    Was not aware about the shortage in PBOR – my perception was that there is none. As regards conspiracy in the shortage, whether in officer or PBOR, I don’t see how the government can do that, since recruitment is completely within the hands of the org.
    Agree about the need to prune HQs, but who will you cut? Most people serving in HQs are not eligible for regt service. But yes the problem will be exacerbated by the raising of new formation HQs.

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