The Union Government has formed Defence Planning Committee (DPC), a new integrated institutional mechanism that will drive country’s military and security strategy and guide defence equipment acquisitions. It will be under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
The committee will be a permanent body and it will prepare draft national security strategy besides undertaking strategic defence review and formulating international defence engagement strategy.
Composition: It will consist of Chairman Chiefs of the Staff Committee (COSC), service chiefs, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Secretary (expenditure) in the Finance Ministry.
Structure: The committee will operate through four sub-committees: on Policy and Strategy, Defence Diplomacy, Plans and Capability Development and Defence Manufacturing Ecosystem. The membership and the terms of reference of the sub-committees will be finalized separately. Foreign Secretary and Expenditure Secretary being member of DPC will help to overcome problems of coordination between various ministries on matters of national security.
Functions: DPC has been tasked to undertake external security risk assessment and define national defence and security priorities. It will formulate national military strategy, draft national security strategy and strategic defence review. It will identify means and ways across ministries, obtain Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approval for capability development plan and provide guidance for budgetary support.
The DPC will also prepare roadmap to build defence manufacturing ecosystem, strategy to boost defence exports and prioritized capability plans for armed forces in consonance with overall priorities, strategies and likely resource flows. It will submit all its reports to defence minister.
Considering the complex security environment and volume of expenditure on national defence, it was imperative to have strong defence planning mechanism. The present system was found insufficient to provide rigour necessary for planning process. So it was mandated to create an institutional mechanism which can undertake comprehensive and integrated planning of higher defence matters.