Wanted! Service Chiefs with Balls

BY SHAILESH RANADE

What do you say about an Army Chief who calls a recent suicide of a jawan as a “minor incident”? What do you say about a Navy chief who drags the other two Chiefs to a Committee of Secretaries to discuss pay and pension anomalies? What do you say about an Air Force Chief who consistently has no opinion on any pressing issue and is more fit for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum?

The Service Chiefs simply lack courage. Many veterans who have spent their best years in the Armed Forces are astonished at their pusillanimity. Not many hours ago, a jawan was perched atop a 200 foot mobile tower and wanted an audience with the country’s Defence Minister. This “isolated incident” is not a failure of middle level officers. It is a failure of leadership at the very top of the Army chain. These are not solitary or minor incidents any more. At least, not in our society where the jawan is a part of the family. If things continue to slide, the outlook is pretty grim for the Services in general and the Army in particular.

Many feel that the current Chiefs simply do not inspire the kind of confidence expected of leaders who can lead men into battle. Does anyone in the higher echelons even pay attention to what they are saying? Do their opinions even matter in the greater scheme of things?

So what’s the time, one may well ask? It’s time, the soldier, seaman and the airman got a new set of Chiefs for their respective forces.

A hypothetical advert for a Service Chief would be something like the one listed below. How we wish it were true!

Wanted! Service Chiefs with Balls

Key Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Lead by personal example.
  • The immediate need is to restore the credibility at Senior Levels.
  • Prepare the Forces under your Command for war at all times. Statements like “we will fight with whatever we have” will be frowned upon.
  • Create an Organization that will conduct an honest appraisal of Officers / PBORs for promotion.
  • You are to assist civilian authority only after due diligence. Outsourcing jobs to the Services is to be treated as overtime.
  • You have to earn the respect and trust of your troops. Suicides will not be treated as “minor incidents”. Neither will jawans climbing mobile towers in desperation be tolerated.
  • You are to ensure that officers and jawans are satisfied with their pay and allowances. You will be required to move heaven and earth if needed. As a last resort, thumping the table of the RM or PM would be acceptable.
  • Well versed in troop management.
  • Improve the promotion prospects and social status of the jawans.
  • You and your senior officers are required to play troop games and shun individual sports like golf, tennis etc.
  • You also need to care for the welfare of the Veteran Community and conduct a “durbar” at least once in 6 months in every Command by rotation.
  • Appoint a Scam Investigator in every Command and take quick action to weed out undesirable elements.
  • Occasionally advise your superiors on good governance, if things start to go awry. Remember, National Defence is all encompassing.
  • Honestly evaluate all arms deals/transactions without any hint of post retirement benefit.
  • Any other duty bestowed upon you by the citizens of India.

You are to avoid:

  • The company of scam tainted ministers, politicians and bureaucrats.
  • Wasteful expenditure like Presidential Fleet Reviews or going one up on your predecessor by flying a President on a Sukhoi-30.
  • Cheap publicity like granting honorary ranks to sports personalities or giving them rides on tanks/ships and fighter aircraft.
  • Repetition of: Bofors Scam, Atta Scam, Rum Scam, Sex Scandal, Adarsh Scam, Sukhna Scam, Tatra Scam, Tehelka Scam, Barak Scam, Scorpene Scam, Gorshkov Scam, NDA Scam, Denel Scam, Coffin Scam, Awantipura Scam, Diesel Scam, ACR Scam, Tilpat Range Scam, Kalpatru Builders Scam, Mutton Scam, Scrap Scam, ECHS Scam, CSD Scam etc. In fact any Scam in any form is anathema.
  • Taking, pilfering, misusing items bought from Service Funds such as stationery, fuel, furnishings, Liquor, transport, etc.
  • Misuse of official machinery and manpower for the benefit of your dependents. You will be required to keep complete control over your spouse, children and other dependents. They are expected to use your personal or public transport. Their expenses are to be debited to your personal account.
  • Illegal acts in the fiscal sphere such as fake billing, selling of NSP arms etc.
  • Attending lavish parties that give the impression that your juniors are “sucking up” to you.
  • Denigrating the office of the Chief by getting appointed as Ambassador or Governor of an inconsequential country/state. You are also to advise retiring senior officers against becoming dalals for arms lobbies, construction houses, shipyards, aircraft industries etc.

Qualifications for the Potential Candidate:

  • You are expected to be a three star officer viz: Lt Gen/Vice Adm/Air Marshal.
  • You should be free from scam taint.
  • You should not be a backdoor entry into Flag Rank.
  • You should not have approached a politician or a bureaucrat for a promotion or a favorable posting.
  • You should not have gone to court or filed a statutory complaint during your career.
  • You should have a soldiers bearing. Officers with reverse chest to waist ratio will not be entertained.
  • War fighting skills may be an advantage though NOT an essential requirement.
  • Irreproachable conduct, restrained attitude, understanding of responsibility and adherence to discipline should come naturally.
  • Two star officers in zone of promotion are encouraged to apply. In the event that no suitable three star officers meet the requirement, the selection would be conducted from the more suitable two star officers.

Remuneration and Perks:

  • Rs 90,000 per month + DA
  • Fully furnished house in Lutyens Zone
  • Security as deemed
  • Free transportation (only for self)
  • Embraer aircraft for inter city travel (only for self). Wives who nominate themselves as ‘President’ AWWA/NWW/AFWWA are entitled to 2 AC train fare
  • Free Medical for life for self and dependents (conditions apply)
  • Security cleared servants at home. No Batmen or Stewards are to be misused
  • Silly things like Rations / CSD subscription / Liquor quota are included

Time to Join
ASAP. You will be required to hit the ground running.

Candidates meeting the above requirement are assured of a rewarding career and the nations’ gratitude.

(Shailesh Ranade is a Guest Blogger with the Canary Trap. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)