Indian Army chief wants to revolutionise the military — by cutting manpower

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While considering abolishing the post of Brigadier, the Indian Army has begun work on another radical move: shutting down divisional headquarters, for long a major part of the operational structure. This is part of the Army's plan to have a leaner, a more modern force.

The division, headed by a Major-General and comprising about 10,000 officers and men, oversees the functioning of Brigades, usually three of about 3,000 men, under its command. About three divisions report to the Corps, headed by a Lieutenant-General -- the Indian Army has about 15 of them.

Now, the division could cease to exist. Preliminary studies within the Army point towards abolishing most of the 40 plus divisions of the Indian Army. They may exist in the Army's Strike Corps -- 1, 2 and 21 -- and the new mountain Strike Corps being formed in the East. They may also survive in 15 and 16 Corps which have under them, forces of divisional strength to fight terror attacks and partly, in 10 and 11 Corps where one division each (9 and 18 division respectively) have dual (offensive and defensive) roles. But the others -- 20-25 of them, depending on the decision, could well be history.

So, how will the Army function without divisions? The Brigades, now headed by Major-Generals, will be called Task Forces. They will have numbers like TF-1 or TF-2 and report directly to the Corps, which will have headquarters reinforced to deal with the various Brigades.

What are the reasons? Each divisional headquarters has at least 15 officers. Abolishing 20 plus divisions would involve a saving of 300 officers and several thousand men who can be deployed in operational areas. Some would be sent to reinforce the Corps. This will improve the Army's teeth-to-tail ratio. There will also be a saving in terms of infrastructure costs. Most important, this will reduce another layer and the Army believes will bring about quicker decision-making.

The structure of the forces could change during war. The Chief of Staff of the Corps (the No 2) would take over as the divisional commander if necessary.

The study, being worked on now, will be deliberated during the next Army Commanders' Conference in October this year and then, finalised and placed before the Defence Ministry.

Army Chief cuts red tape, mulls shutting down Division HQs
 

randomradio

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Indian Army chief wants to revolutionise the military — by cutting manpower

General Bipin Rawat bats for creation of integrated brigades, wants a leaner headquarter, considers calling up reservists.

New Delhi: Army chief General Bipin Rawat is set to issue orders for the slashing of manpower at the Army Headquarters (AHQ) in New Delhi, the creation of integrated brigades and the calling up of reservists for frontline duties.

An Army document, seen by ThePrint, says these measures will usher in a “revolution in Indian Military Affairs (RIIMA)”.

As per the document, there are way too many personnel at the Army headquarters who are redundant; those not required will now be sent to operational areas.

This is being viewed as a not-so-direct attack on efforts by soldiers and officers within the army to lobby for postings to New Delhi. Civilians will be asked to fill in for staff duties that do not require combatants.

The two other major elements of RIIMA are the formation of “integrated brigades” with an enhanced number of battalions and the calling up of “reservists” — soldiers are in the reserves for two years after retirement — for frontline duties to fill in gaps.

‘A revolution in the Army’
The document says these measures will usher in a “revolution in Indian military affairs” and will make the army more agile.

The measures will also mean a downsizing of the army to increase its “teeth-to-tail ratio”.

“Teeth-to-tail ratio” is the number of support personnel required to sustain the number of combat soldiers. The lesser the number of support personnel — the “tail” — the more the resources will be available to make the combat soldiers – the “teeth” – more efficient.

The order to usher in RIIMA will override a discussion that was initiated last month.

Reforms are being carried out by militaries across the world. In Asia, China, with the largest army in the world (the PLA), ushered in drastic reforms in 2007 and over the last two years has restructured its commands. The most radical of this was to bring its entire frontier with India under a single “Western Theatre Command” (WTC).

Army set for ‘Integrated Brigades’
The Army chief’s proposed orders come in the wake of a note that the Army circulated on 12 July.

The note said the Army was considering measures to reorganise its cadre for the first time in 35 years. One of the proposals being considered was to eliminate the rank of brigadier. It had asked for suggestions in a churning of ideas.

The “integrated brigades” that are envisaged under RIIMA, in the latest document prepared this week, will be of enhanced strength with four to five battalions each.

A normal brigade in the current structure has three battalions, each of between 900-1,100 troops.

These “integrated brigades” will report directly to the corps headquarters. This, as the army is contemplating eliminating the formation of a division altogether, across the board.

Currently, there will be about three brigades to a division and about three divisions to a corps. (Some of the divisions and corps are reinforced in operational areas with more troops).

A normal infantry division will have between 9,000-12,000 troops. A normal corps will have about 30-36,000 troops. (Mountain divisions and those tasked as ‘pivots’ — with both operational and defensive tasks — have more troops).

One takeaway of creating integrated brigades, headed by a major general, the document notes, will be the opening up of opportunities for promotion to the rank of major general (or two-star general) to more officers than ever.

This, in turn, will enable the army to ensure equivalence comparable to civilian officers of the All India Services (civil services).

Reservists to fill the shortage
The RIIMA document foresees a possible shortage of officers on the frontlines once the reforms are implemented. To offset this, it said it will call up reservists.

All soldiers and officers are considered in the reserves for up to two years after retirement.

The RIIMA document said that a task force headed by a lieutenant general (a three-star officer) has been authorised to conduct discussions, and take feedback from officers, even as the reforms were being carried out.

The document did not specify the numbers that would be the objective of the reforms. The army is currently 1.3 million strong. About a third of its numbers retire every year.

There is little doubt that there will be a domino effect of the RIIMA reforms in the Army on the other services – the Air Force and the Navy.

They are much smaller – the Air Force has about one lakh and the Navy about 50,000 personnel. But the impact would be felt more on the comparable ranks.

For instance, it is not clear what will happen to the ranks of the air commodore and the commodore, equivalent to the army brigadier currently (one-star officers).

But there is a belief in army headquarters under General Rawat that the reforms have to be pushed through without getting bogged down in complexities.

@Hellfire @vstol Jockey
 
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randomradio

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Army Chief cuts red tape, mulls shutting down Division HQs

While considering abolishing the post of Brigadier, the Indian Army has begun work on another radical move: shutting down divisional headquarters, for long a major part of the operational structure. This is part of the Army's plan to have a leaner, a more modern force.

The division, headed by a Major-General and comprising about 10,000 officers and men, oversees the functioning of Brigades, usually three of about 3,000 men, under its command. About three divisions report to the Corps, headed by a Lieutenant-General -- the Indian Army has about 15 of them.

Now, the division could cease to exist. Preliminary studies within the Army point towards abolishing most of the 40 plus divisions of the Indian Army. They may exist in the Army's Strike Corps -- 1, 2 and 21 -- and the new mountain Strike Corps being formed in the East. They may also survive in 15 and 16 Corps which have under them, forces of divisional strength to fight terror attacks and partly, in 10 and 11 Corps where one division each (9 and 18 division respectively) have dual (offensive and defensive) roles. But the others -- 20-25 of them, depending on the decision, could well be history.

So, how will the Army function without divisions? The Brigades, now headed by Major-Generals, will be called Task Forces. They will have numbers like TF-1 or TF-2 and report directly to the Corps, which will have headquarters reinforced to deal with the various Brigades.

What are the reasons? Each divisional headquarters has at least 15 officers. Abolishing 20 plus divisions would involve a saving of 300 officers and several thousand men who can be deployed in operational areas. Some would be sent to reinforce the Corps. This will improve the Army's teeth-to-tail ratio. There will also be a saving in terms of infrastructure costs. Most important, this will reduce another layer and the Army believes will bring about quicker decision-making.

The structure of the forces could change during war. The Chief of Staff of the Corps (the No 2) would take over as the divisional commander if necessary.

The study, being worked on now, will be deliberated during the next Army Commanders' Conference in October this year and then, finalised and placed before the Defence Ministry.
 

randomradio

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This is a pretty big change.

Indian_Army_Structure.png


17 Corps is missing in this, but we can disregard it since it's not the target of reforms. Similarly, we can remove 1, 2 and 21. 15 and 16 of the Northern Command are apparently required for fighting terrorists, so let's take them out.

And, for whatever reason, 10 and 11 are taken out of the equation, 'cause the article says so. Dunno why 12 wasn't mentioned.

That leaves 3, 4, 9, 12, 14 and 33 Corps targeted for reforms. That's 10 mountain divisions, 5 infantry divisions and 1 RAPIDS.

The way I see it, the reforms are almost entirely targeted towards the China border, with 10 mountain divisions and 2 infantry divisions.
 
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Paro

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The study, being worked on now, will be deliberated during the next Army Commanders' Conference in October this year and then, finalised and placed before the Defence Ministry.
I will have grandchildren by the time this is implemented. That is 40 years from now.
 

vstol Jockey

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I had earlier written about my opposition to removing the rank of Brigadier. I have one more reason now to add to my views. In NDA, Pune, a first time relegated cadet is called A Brigadier, twice relegated is called A General and thrice relegated gets thrown out of the academy and is called A Field Marshall as a Field Marshall is for life time. now is you remove the rank of Brigadier what are we going to call a first time relegated cadet.
 

vstol Jockey

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IBGs of the Cheshire fame ......

It envisions removal of Division HQs and direct control of the Brigades by the Corps HQs. Shall revert on more subsequently
When I was in NDA in 1984, we read a lot about USSR Air-land Battle Doctrine based around OMGs-Operational Maneuver Groups. that had a similar set up. Each group had about 5k soldiers from combined arms in it and it was designed for rapid deep thrusts in Europe and supplied and supported by Helos.
I am of the firm opinion that we must come out of the system of strike corps and dismantle them to form Strike/Attack IBGs.
 
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randomradio

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While one can argue about the sheer waste, this has an added advantage for a nation like India - existence of trained, continuously 'in sync' senior leadership of all levels (Officers/JCOs/NCOs) that could enable India to expand it's armed forces if required, at a very short notice. It is always the leadership in any expansion, that has greater ramifications than the 'raw recruits'.

Okay, so this is meant to benefit us during a long war lasting years? 'Cause the current crop, I suppose, are enough for considerably less than WW2 level action.

By doing away with Division HQs, one can help in reducing this pool as our threat assessment and expectancy of future war changes (from large conventional wars to small, covert localized conflicts), and allow greater forward movement of logistics support elements into Brigade level, which were earlier concentrated at Division level. It shall, for example, allow integration of the Division's assets of armour, artillery, Air Defence etc to be integrated at a Brigade level, whereby allowing it the flexibility to be under an unified operational control, streamlining the process.

Would the shift from divisions to task forces mean the availability of more IBGs for a Cold War/pro-active strategy situation?

The stated aim of reducing Teeth-to-Tail should hopefully, be realized through this.

I think you mean "increasing". Would this also help solve our officer shortage problem, or will there be no real change there?
 

vstol Jockey

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My take on this is as follows,
  • We must retain Brigadier rank and remove Lt. Col Rank. Once you reorganise ranks, the order of determining seniority between civil and Military will also change.
  • It should be a time scale upgrade to Col rank within 10-12 yrs of service with a Col-2nd class and a Col-1st class structure like we have in Paramilitary forces. My daughter is in CG as an Asst Comdt. She will be a Deputy Comdt in six yrs of service and a Comdt second class in 10 yrs. but the rank batch of a Comdt second class is same as that of a Cdr in IN.
  • Col-2nd class should command Battalions while the Col-1st class should be for administrative jobs. This will reduce the age of COs of battalions and make them more potent.
  • the Brigadier must be by time scale again and 20yrs of service should be enough given the fact that you become a DIG in Paramilitary forces in that time scale and also in Police and also in IAS.
  • The IBGs should be headed by a Maj. Gen with a Brigadier as his no-2.
  • The complete administrative set up of each IBG should have just one HQ and that will be called IBG HQ. No HQ staff below that except for some very limited staff for each fighting formation.
  • Let there be no divisions only offensive and defensive IBGs with few Defensive IBGs being deployed in static formations in areas of the border directly under IA like LOC.
  • Delete the concept of Corps and replace it with Area Commander of the rank of Lt. Gen. The area Commander will look after areas within a military command and be responsible for the part of border in his area and control the IBGs under him.
  • Each IBG must have about 8k soldiers drawn from various branches of IA like Armored, AAD, MAPADS, Mobile Anti-tank units, Mech Inf, Inf, Arty, AAC, SF, Engg, EME, ASC and Drone sqns.
  • In addition IAF must be forced to dedicate a mixed sqn of MI-17s+LCH+Apaches for each of the IBGs and also designate CAS and Air Defense Fighters for each Area Commander.
  • each Area Commander must have additional Brigade of AAD comprising missile sqns and other such assets and also mobile Hospitals etc.
  • The aim is to reduce the support staff and increase the fighting staff. The two additional corps to be formed for China Border can be created from the present manpower. This will help reduce Officer intake and also remove bottle necks in promotions. Leading to higher satisfaction level in each rank and department.
  • Each Area Commander will be what we have today as Corps Commander and this will allow larger experience in field for higher ranks and more maturity to deal with emerging threats.
  • The advances in technology must be fully exploited to reduce the teeth to tail ratio of IA.
 
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vstol Jockey

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I am not qualified to decide as to what should be the composition of these IBGs but I have my views for the air compliment which each of the IBGs and Area Commander must have under him to be able to fight a highly mobile, rapid thrust battle in his area of Command. Air assets have the ability to move large distances rapidly without the constraints of terrain and so can be deployed across large areas compared to the land mobile assets. What I am going to suggest can be first step towards Theater Commands.
  • Each Area Commander must have one full sqn of MI-17s with mixed flyng+One sqn of Rudra which can do mixed flying+One sqn of LCH+1/2 sqn of LUH for communication duties and 1/2 sqn of MRCA for high level air defense and high/mid altitude CAS.
  • The MI-17s will be used for resupply of the formations with ammo and fuel on the move while Rudra & LCH will provide low level attack support and take out any enemy arty formations trying to interfere with the movement of IBGs.
  • The combined strength of MI-17s and Rudra will also provide rapid helo movement of SFs/Ghatak companies embedded within the IBGs to destroy and hold important bridges or areas crucial for the movement of IBGs till a link up is established with advancing forces. We must be able to lift atleast a company of SF+Ghataks in one wave comprising about 150-200 troops for each area command.
  • Each Military command must have its own air transport fleet of airlifters like AN-32/IL-76/C-17 to be able to move troops rapidly within its command and also drop foces behind enemy lines in force. Finally the assets of a Military command must come together at Theater Command level with combined arms formation concept. The people who are in direct contact with the enemy must be separate from those who fight to decide the outcome of the war. The strategic forces decide the outcome of the war.
  • The present job of deep interdiction and strikes on industrial/military complexes of the enemy must be given to SFC. We must separate Tactical from Strategic.
  • Area command is more tactical in nature and less strategic while it is part of the overall strategy of the battle and AIM.
  • Next war that we fight will be fought in nuclear backdrop. It is important that our second echelons of forces are as close as possible to the first echelons and also act and operate in tandem with first echelons so that if first wave is taken out by tactical nukes, the remainents of the first wave and the forces following in tandem are able to sustain the momentum while the SFC does the job of counter retaliation.
  • This will need forward deployment and the concept of strike Corps situated far away from border runs counter to this as they are liable to be taken out thru nuke strikes in their build up/mobilisation area. or the deep strikes by enemy SFs can inhibit their rapid movement to the border areas and their effectiveness.
 
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vstol Jockey

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I think I went overboard by assigning heavy strategic lifters like IL-76/C-17 to Military commands. They should stay within SFC with our Para SFs and all kind of commandos grouped under SFC. All dedicated air mobile forces must come under SFC.
@Hellfire, if my memory serves me right, all para battalions are not SF. Only a few of them are SFs. In such a case we can embed para battalions which are not SF with Military Commands for tactical role.
 
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randomradio

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I am not qualified to decide as to what should be the composition of these IBGs but I have my views for the air compliment which each of the IBGs and Area Commander must have under him to be able to fight a highly mobile, rapid thrust battle in his area of Command. Air assets have the ability to move large distances rapidly without the constraints of terrain and so can be deployed across large areas compared to the land mobile assets. What I am going to suggest can be first step towards Theater Commands.
  • Each Area Commander must have one full sqn of MI-17s with mixed flyng+One sqn of Rudra which can do mixed flying+One sqn of LCH+1/2 sqn of LUH for communication duties and 1/2 sqn of MRCA for high level air defense and high/mid altitude CAS.
  • The MI-17s will be used for resupply of the formations with ammo and fuel on the move while Rudra & LCH will provide low level attack support and take out any enemy arty formations trying to interfere with the movement of IBGs.
  • The combined strength of MI-17s and Rudra will also provide rapid helo movement of SFs/Ghatak companies embedded within the IBGs to destroy and hold important bridges or areas crucial for the movement of IBGs till a link up is established with advancing forces. We must be able to lift atleast a company of SF+Ghataks in one wave comprising about 150-200 troops for each area command.
  • Each Military command must have its own air transport fleet of airlifters like AN-32/IL-76/C-17 to be able to move troops rapidly within its command and also drop foces behind enemy lines in force. Finally the assets of a Military command must come together at Theater Command level with combined arms formation concept. The people who are in direct contact with the enemy must be separate from those who fight to decide the outcome of the war. The strategic forces decide the outcome of the war.
  • The present job of deep interdiction and strikes on industrial/military complexes of the enemy must be given to SFC. We must separate Tactical from Strategic.
  • Area command is more tactical in nature and less strategic while it is part of the overall strategy of the battle and AIM.
  • Next war that we fight will be fought in nuclear backdrop. It is important that our second echelons of forces are as close as possible to the first echelons and also act and operate in tandem with first echelons so that if first wave is taken out by tactical nukes, the remainents of the first wave and the forces following in tandem are able to sustain the momentum while the SFC does the job of counter retaliation.
  • This will need forward deployment and the concept of strike Corps situated far away from border runs counter to this as they are liable to be taken out thru nuke strikes in their build up/mobilisation area. or the deep strikes by enemy SFs can inhibit their rapid movement to the border areas and their effectiveness.

How many area commanders are you expecting?
 

randomradio

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I think I went overboard by assigning heavy strategic lifters like IL-76/C-17 to Military commands. They should stay within SFC with our Para SFs and all kind of commandos grouped under SFC. All dedicated air mobile forces must come under SFC.
@Hellfire, if my memory serves me right, all para battalions are not SF. Only a few of them are SFs. In such a case we can embed para battalions which are not SF with Military Commands for tactical role.

I believe the Theatre Commands set up is meant only for the forces within the MoD. SFC is under the PMO. So I don't think MoD will be transferring IA assets like the Paras and IAF assets like the heavy lifters to the SFC. Instead there will be a separate Special Operations Command.
 

vstol Jockey

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I believe the Theatre Commands set up is meant only for the forces within the MoD. SFC is under the PMO. So I don't think MoD will be transferring IA assets like the Paras and IAF assets like the heavy lifters to the SFC. Instead there will be a separate Special Operations Command.
What I posted was my POV and it can be extremely stupid also. But as a Naval Aviator, my air asset distribution is what MUST be done. A commander fighting a war should not be taxed with interservice communication to arrange an air strike or helo assault. he should be able to call them on demand. The battle field must be under direct control of the area Commander.