Explained: What are role, powers of CDS?

News: General Bipin Rawat has been appointed as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)


  • CDS: It is a permanent position for a combined head of the tri-services i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force. The CDS will be a Four-star General.

Role and Functions:

1.   Be the principal military adviser to the Defence Minister on all tri-service matters.

2.   Be one of the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. As a permanent chair, CDS will:

o   Administer all tri-service organisations and commands.

o   Be a member of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by the Defence Minister

o   Be a member of the Defence Planning Committee headed by the National Security Adviser (NSA).

o   Function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.

o   Implement the five year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP) and the two year roll on Annual Acquisition Plans.

o   Coordinate operation, logistics, transport, training, support services communications, etc. of the three Services

3.       CDS will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary. The mandate includes:

o   Promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the Services 

o   Facilitating restructuring of Military Commands for optimal utilisation of resources

o   Promoting the use of indigenous equipment by the Services.

Additional Information:

Chief of Staffs Committee 

  • The senior-most chief among the three forces is appointed as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee having a four-star ranking.
  • He is responsible for the inter-services synergy.