Bharat Rakshak

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PostPosted: 06 Sep 2014 15:36 
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BRFite

Joined: 26 Aug 2004 19:13
Posts: 191
Location: Moscow
I have been a decade long lurker and occasional contributor to the forum.

This is the first thread I'm initiating and I realise that what I'm about to post may be controversial. Let me start by saying that like
most Rakshak's here, I'm a `Right leaning, hawk' who cares deeply about India's Defence. I come from a services family and am now a company CEO.

We have lamented the fact that our Armed forces does not have `the tools to do the job', either because of budget constraints, or
bureaucratic inertia/apathy. Judging by the number of posts here, what we hope the Modi administration (I'm a fan) will give top priority to, is expedite the arms acquisition process. Getting the weapons we need is seen as panacea for most of the defense problems we face.

My contention is that there is a huge amount of inefficiency in the system. It is quite possible to generate the funds the services needs by better utilising existing resources and also operate more efficiently by making the forces much leaner.
I am basing this on the following assumptions:

1. In the last 20 years, every major armed forces has made deep cuts in manpower, except us. (Also, Pakistan and Noko, but
I don't think we should be clubbed with them). IT and hi-tech, along with outsourcing of non critical functions, have been
used to cut numbers of people in Uniform in other countries. Can we do the same - thereby ensuring we improve the quality
of our recruits, overcome officer shortages and take better care of the people we have ?
Can we do it by:
- Scrapping or outsourcing non essential functions (e.g. Military Farms, Army postal service ?)
- Merging of functions between the 3 services. (Medical, Intelligence, Pay& Accts, Supplies).

2. Can we raise resources internally by
- Commercializing surplus land. (which is what other Govt dept's are starting to do) which quite often is in prime
locations in our major cities.
- Exporting both weapons and `consulting services' (like Blackwater).
- Induct more short service recruits (say 5 years) thus reducing the pension bill - such recruits could them join the
police / paramilitary, or be given preference in PSU jobs.
- Replacing a wasteful canteen services dept with a cash transfer to all personnel (conceptually similar to a cash transfer
instead of ration shops when distributing a food subsidy), for the subsidised value of products they typically purchase
from a canteen.

3. Can our existing structure be optimised by for e.g.
- Replacing the existing N/S/E/W/Central/ South-West/Training commands of the Army and Airforce into a (for e.g) East
(China oriented) and West (Pakistan) oriented joint Army-Air force commands, with the `South' being responsible for all other
tasks incl. training.
- Reduce the no of army formations but increase the firepower of each (for e.g. why can't artillery divisions simply be merged
back into Infantry divisions (who lack adequate artillery).

This is typically how I would think about the business I run.
I can go on, but you get the general idea..... Thoughts ?


Last edited by Deans on 06 Sep 2014 22:18, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 06 Sep 2014 16:03 
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BRF Oldie

Joined: 29 May 2007 18:03
Posts: 3349
Interesting ideas. The manpower can be rationalized but the surplus has to be converted into fighting units only. Manpower is needed as we will be facing two front war or one front war and second front threat which needs deployment of forces. Further India is the only nation in the world with two Nuclear powered rouge nations claiming large chunks of our land and bent up on destroying us completely. In response to Land convertion, huge land tracks are there for army which needed to maintain huge contonment areas within major cities. This idea is there since Brits time and with huge populations of peaceful people, weak police and para militory forces and major terror threats the same can not be changed in foreseeable future. But cost saving ideas are always welcome and I think you are on the right track.

Ingenuous production of most of the systems saves huge capital expenditure. That should be the first and main thrust area.


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PostPosted: 06 Sep 2014 17:02 
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BRF Oldie

Joined: 16 Nov 2011 22:31
Posts: 2786
Location: Jambudveepe Bharatvarshe, Bharatkhande, Sakabde, Mero Dakshine Parsve
I was about to write something on the Rafale thread when another member expressed his apprehension that MMRCA would undercut the LCA. And somehow desisted. The reality as I see it is nuanced. In FY 11-12 (UPA years) the IA+IAF managed to underspend close to a Billion USD and the underspend was shoved under the carpet only because the IN was allowed to overspend. This had effect in the later budget allocations also. And underspending is said to be endemic to the system.

I wanted to point out to that member that a billion USD an year for next 7-10 years is one of the best investments that can be made in LCA. The point being there is simply no way LCA would get undercut except in the likely scenario that our establishment allows itself to become infatuated with becoming strategic munna of the Amerikhans. Everything these guys touch turns into a Libya or Syria - there is a choice vernacular swear word for it recently explained by oldies on the forum.

It is true that the whole system has a certain lag. The political system (only recently addressed), the military itself, DRDO/DPSU combine, even us fanbois. A lot of us are still apprehensive about the underfunding. The stock markets where real money (not just humble opinions) gets risked has pulled itself up by about a third of its erstwhile base, since the campaign to oust the last regimen started. The people have simply given up on petty partisanship having given up on a color revolution recently, the investors (Indian and foreign) have pulled up their socks and yet the concerns remain the same. LCA would get undercut for want of funds. No sir, you are fighting yesterdays war. Even the foreigners have noted this and seem to have adapted their strategies accordingly. For gods sake you are at the bottom of a multi-year upward trend in both the economy ergo also the defence budget.

Having ranted against the honorable armed forces and honorable fanbois, I will desist from attacking the politicos considering the recent changes in the scenario.

.........................

Quote:
Re. 3. Can our existing structure be optimised by for e.g.
- Replacing the existing N/S/E/W/Central/ South-West/Training commands of the Army and Airforce into a (for e.g) East
(China oriented) and West (Pakistan) oriented joint Army-Air force commands, with the `South' being responsible for all other
tasks incl. training.
- Reduce the no of army formations but increase the firepower of each (for e.g. why can't artillery divisions simply be merged
back into Infantry divisions (who lack adequate artillery).


Thinking in general:
The specialization aspect is successfully working the intel wings and certain special schools (mountain warfare, COIN ops). But in the strike formations it may not be as effective because it will lead to a thinning out of the available resources for all sectors. One of the reasons why the armed forces are moving towards multi-purposed platforms, standardization and rapid attack formations that got seeded during the conceptualization phase of the so called Cold Start. Having said that I believe the armed forces do also recognize clearly the need for specialization in that they wished for and got sanctioned formations that would not get used except in the Himalayas and then again the wish seems to be that these formations be equipped with a considerably higher fire power to manpower ratio. The vast size and diversity at our borders demands that we follow a carefully thought out strategy - one that is focused on getting at least the minimum of the job done with certainty even in adverse circumstances, instead of aiming for the best results with uncertainty. From the 60000 foot view nothing seems amiss. But the inefficiency aspect still remains. Holding back of support in the initial stages or allowing a vested group to have more say or not monitoring the projects/outsourced work properly, are things that have come to stay. Unless there is a concerted effort by a bunch of task masters to force people into a talk-to-each-other-mode cutting across levels, this inefficiency will become endemic. And that will certainly end up making us a munna (no disrespect to the member of same name).

A thought:
How much sense would it make to employ a Rudra-WSI in only one type of formation that can do with lesser fire power compared to a LCH, but needs some light lift capability. What if you need such capabilities in the other sectors. Maximum number of people should be able to work the maximum number of weapons humanely possible otherwise the capital asset is a cost to the extent of its under-use.


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PostPosted: 06 Sep 2014 22:32 
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BRFite

Joined: 26 Aug 2004 19:13
Posts: 191
Location: Moscow
Some other thoughts which promoted my post:

1. Our soldiers in combat formations are far older (avg. age) than their counterparts in all other major non conscript armies.
Its the same with officers. A Battalion commander in the US/Israel/Russia is significantly younger than his Indian counterpart.
Not only does our system lead to declining levels of fitness of men in combat formations, but the need for frequent promotions
is creating a top heavy structure. For e.g. the Navy has significantly more admirals than it has 20 years ago when it had roughly
the same no of ships and personnel. I understand we also have a higher pension bill (as a percentage of our defence budget)
than other countries.

A solution may to be have very short duration service (say 5 years) for soldiers, with longer service being offered to those with
the leadership ability or specialist skills to move to higher ranks.

2. Why is the quality of housing for the armed forces, or the goods sold in its canteens, or quality of Uniforms far inferior to what the
private sector. or free market can provide (often at lower cost) ? Medical care in the services is generally better but not the quality
of medicines. Poor service is because of monopolies that exist within the services ,which need to got rid of.


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