NEW DELHI: The 1.3 million-strong Army has cleared the decks for creation of the new crucial post of deputy chief (strategy), as part of the overall restructuring and flattening of the Army headquarters, by shifting the entire Rashtriya Rifles (RR) directorate from New Delhi to the Northern Command in Kashmir.

The need for the new post of Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Strategy) or DCOAS (S) was acutely felt during the 73-day troop confrontation between India and China at Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in June-August 2017, which saw the two rival armies move additional infantry battalions, tanks, artillery and missile units towards the border.

The DCOAS (S) will have the directors-general of military operations (DGMO), military intelligence (DGMI), operational logistics (DGOL), perspective planning (DGPP) and information warfare (DGIW) under him at the Army HQs. “As of now, an ad hoc committee is constituted to handle operations, plans, logistics etc during a crisis like Doklam. There is no unity in structure and chain of command among different verticals. In the future, the five DGs will jointly brief the DCOAS (S) during any major crisis,” said a top official.

The Union Cabinet is likely to soon approve the plan to restructure the Army HQs, which is largely “revenue-neutral” and does not include any new additional post of a Lt General. “The DCOAS (S) post will be created in lieu of the DGRR post. The overall aim is to remove duplication, cut non-operational flab and provide single-point advice to the Army chief. It will bring integration within the Army, and then with the Navy and IAF,” he added.

As was earlier reported by TOI, this Army HQs’ restructuring will lead to the shifting out of over 100 officers to operational field formations. In another significant change, the existing post of DCOAS (planning and systems) will transform into the DCOAS (capability development and sustenance), with all capital and revenue procurement under him. “Ammunition procurement, for instance, were being handled by different capital and revenue verticals during the Doklam crisis,” said another officer.

Similarly, the DCOAS (information systems and training) will change to DCOAS (information systems and coordination). The post of DGMT (military training), in turn, will be subsumed under the Army Training Command, whose HQs will be shifted to Meerut from Shimla. The RR directorate at the Udhampur-based Northern Command will now be headed by a Major General or ADG. First raised as a small force in 1990 to handle specialised counter-insurgency operations in J&K, the RR now has 63 battalions (almost 70,000 soldiers) divided into five division-like headquarters commanded by Major Generals.

They are Delta Force (Doda district), Kilo Force (Kupwara and Baramulla), Romeo Force (Rajouri and Poonch), Victor Force (Anantnag, Pulwama and Budgam) and Uniform Force (Udhampur and Reasi). “If the RR is deployed only in J&K, there is no need to have a DGRR in New Delhi,” said another officer.