New Delhi: For the appointment of the new Chief of Defence Staff, the government is likely to consider both serving and retired military officers, sources said.

The post has been lying vacant since December 8 last year after the death of the country’s first CDS late General Bipin Rawat in an air crash.

Sources told ANI that the government is also expected to announce the appointment of the next Army chief in the coming week itself as a decision has already been taken.

The panel of officers to be considered for the appointment as the next CDS is likely to include both serving and retired officers, the sources said.

The panel is also likely to include both three-star and four star-rank officers, they said.

The appointment of the CDS by the Narendra Modi government within six months of coming back to power in 2019 has been hailed as one of the biggest reforms in the higher military structure of the country.

The CDS office and the theatre command planned to be created and put under its command are expected to make it the strongest ever military office in the country with all fighting formations reporting directly to it.

The CDS was appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs which functions at present under an Additional Secretary-rank Lieutenant General.

The CDS is also the head of the Integrated Defence Staff presently headed by a three-star officer from the Indian Air Force.

The government has also made the CDS in-charge of the Make in India in defence program and has been given the mandate of promoting and ensuring the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme in the defence sector.

Gen Rawat used to devote a majority of his time to promote self-reliance in defence and was also responsible for bringing out the positive list of indigenisation which listed items being put in the import ban lost to promote job creation within the country.

The CDS is also the single point of contact for the government for giving military advice and is the senior-most bureaucrat in the defence ministry which has four major departments.