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A Study in Futility?

A Study in Futility?

As per a recent news report, the Chief has ordered a study to look at increasing the availability of officers in units. With shortage of officers reaching alarming levels of almost one fifth of the sanctioned strength, the concern and urgency is understandable. Rising cases of discord, assault and affray in units are disturbing manifestations of this shortage. The handful of officers available in a unit at any given time are unable to maintain the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, COAS, Equipment, Military, Reforms, Shortage of officers

An Officer and a Gentleman

An Officer and a Gentleman

Recent cases of mutinous behaviour by troops, including increasing incidences of assault on their own officers, have caused much comment in the media and within the circle of observers of military affairs. Much has been written about the possible causes. Growing chasm between officers and troops, caused by a shortage of officers, has been pegged as a major reason. The growing aspirations of the Jawans in the changed socio-economic environment is another. While all that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Military, Shortage of officers, Traditions, Values

Brand Army

Brand Army

“Capt Avinash Rathod, ek soldier ke nazar kabhi neechi nahi honi chahiye” (roughly translated – a soldier must never look down) – says the lissome model in the latest Airtel ad on TV. The ad is well made, and effectively showcases the possibilities of the 3G network in bringing people together like never before. But what it is indirectly doing is riding on one of the strongest, most recognizable, but also most under-leveraged brand in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Media, Military, Shortage of officers

Deja Vu

“Why is the military so bad at retaining these people? It’s convenient to believe that top officers simply have more lucrative opportunities in the private sector, and that their departures are inevitable. But the reason overwhelmingly cited by veterans and active-duty officers alike is that the military personnel system—every aspect of it—is nearly blind to merit. Performance evaluations emphasize a zero-defect mentality, meaning that risk-avoidance trickles down the chain of command. Promotions can be anticipated almost to the day— regardless of an officer’s competence—so that there is essentially no difference in rank among officers the same age, even after 15 years of service. Job assignments are managed by a faceless, centralized bureaucracy that keeps everyone guessing where they might be shipped next.” Going through an article sent to me by a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Management, Military, Shortage of officers

Send in the Cavalry

Image by kinshuksunil via Flickr Army called in… to hold the Commonwealth Games, says a front page story in today’s Indian Express. Why isn’t it surprising? With six months to go and national pride at stake, with the panic mounting as the somnolent government and Organising Committee finally see the writing on the wall (which was apparent to everyone else long ago), who else to turn to? The only organisation in the country that has the track record of delivering every time, irrespective of what it was that was asked of it, or at what stage. Going a little beyond the obvious, into the crevices and folds of the issue. As per the report, ‘South Block’ is planning to attach over 300 officers, including 10 Brigadiers and 245 Lt Cols. Largest number … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blogitorial, Civil Military Relations, Military, Shortage of officers

Challenges Before the New Army Chief

Image by jeffjose via Flickr Modernisation is main challenge for new army chief says this article. And there is no doubt that a great deal of his energies will be spent in this high priority area. The delays in procurement of equipment have received adequate press in the last few years. Interestingly, the outgoing chief had also spelt this out as his primary goal on taking over in Oct 2007, as had his predecessor in Jan 2005. The fact that this continues to be a major challenge points to the plethora of ponderables and imponderables that make the modernisation process so complex. But modernisation of the force in terms of induction of state of the art equipment is only one facet of preparing to face the challenges of the future battlefield. Another … Read entire article »

Filed under: Appraisal System, Blogitorial, Military, Ponderings, Reforms, Shortage of officers, Values

Shortage of Officers – a Simple Solution

Image via Wikipedia 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 … Read entire article »

Filed under: Military, Reforms, Shortage of officers