Is Army's profile changing?
The incidence of ill discipline in an artillery unit at Nyoma field firing ranges in the Ladakh sector has drawn nation wide attention. While some of the TV channels went ballistic in over playing the incident, the police too has come out with its own version. This incident took place within the precinct of a military unit where no civilians were involved nor was the police called in by the army. So why this police report! Military has its own means of investigation and a judicial system and law which can adequately deal with far more serious cases. It is never military’s wont to push any case of ill discipline, malfeasance etc under the carpet.
In the prevailing climate of loot and plunder, state of lawlessness, malfeasance right across the national scene, military has strived hard to maintain its value system by creating a sort of rampart of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to isolate it from the outside influence.
There are a few disturbing aspects to this incident. A number of officers roughed up a soldier, something never heard of or done and strictly forbidden in the military. On the other hand a group of soldiers went on a rampage and assaulted their officers. Obviously the quality of leadership in the unit was extremely poor on the one hand and lack of discipline amongst ranks on the other. There is an old and time tested saying that there are no bad units but only bad officers. What it really boils down to is that, leadership in a unit is what determines its performance in all the fields of activity.
Many have argued that military is merely a mirror reflection of society at large. Society where corruption is rampant, right across the national spectrum, cheating and fudging has become a way of life, therefore, military could not remain unaffected. In the prevailing climate of loot and plunder, state of lawlessness, malfeasance right across the national scene, military has strived hard to maintain its value system by creating a sort of rampart of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to isolate it from the outside influence.
Now and then this rampart has been under attack from the outside and breaches have appeared but the military has made brave attempts to repair these. It is not to contend that there have been no attempts to damage this wall from the inside. There have been cases of corruption, misconduct, false encounters and cheating, cutting right across the rank structure. But the military has been quick to deal firmly with all such cases. Now the very top ranking officers have made a concerted assault from the inside on this rampart of military stronghold of value system and probity. Call it ‘Adarsh scam.’ Even Supreme Commander of the armed forces, forsaking the very propriety of the act, tried to grab military’s land in Pune. What a fall, my comrades-in-arm!
During the last few decades the composition and complexity of manpower intake, both of officer class and the rank and file has undergone a sea change. There has been, what is fashionable to call, inclusive growth. During the early nineteen eighties, army headquarters ordered a study under the overall chairmanship of Central Army Commander to review the recruitment and the system of selection for entry into the officer cadre.
…the selection process had stood the test of time, military career as such had become less attractive with the result that lesser number of suitable candidates had been opting to join the officer cadre. Consequent to this development there was discernable tinkering with the selection process.
I headed the committee to validate the officer selection system. Though, the selection process had stood the test of time, military career as such had become less attractive with the result that lesser number of suitable candidates had been opting to join the officer cadre. Consequent to this development there was discernable tinkering with the selection process to make up alarming deficiencies in the officer cadre of the army.
The officer selection process is based on a triad system of evaluation. In this system three different techniques are applied over a period of four to five days, to assess a candidate. When these three techniques are applied correctly, they are expected to produce the same results, thus reinforcing the selection process three times over. In other words, the techniques, namely, psychological tests, group testing method and the interview should, when applied diligently, produce the same result. It also eliminated the possibility of fudging the result by an operator of any of the three techniques without being found out. When applied correctly it is the most comprehensive and authentic selection process devised so far: anywhere, in any army.