Army’s top officers discuss making Short Service Commission (SSC) more attractive to address officer shortfall

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To address the shortage of officers in the Indian Army, the top military leadership has discussed making the Short Service Commission entry more appealing. Other topics discussed during the recently concluded Army Commanders Conference included transitioning to online internal examinations and establishing faster mechanisms to address issues faced by veterans. As reported in May 2020, the Indian Army faced shortages in both officer and PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank) positions. The authorized strength for officers is 50,312, but there were only 42,913 officers, resulting in a shortage of 7,399 officers as of the beginning of 2019 according to Parliament records.

The Short Service Commission is designed for eligible men and women to serve as officers for a minimum of 10 years, with options to leave, opt for Permanent Commission, or extend their service for an additional four years. SSC officers do not receive pensions or medical support under the ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme.

Former CDS General Bipin Rawat suggested improving the SSC scheme by providing medical facilities post-retirement, an attractive severance package, and opportunities for professional courses in Management and Technology from prestigious institutions.

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The Army’s top leadership also discussed the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and Ukraine-Russia conflict. The Army Commanders’ Conference is a vital platform for policy decisions and discussions related to the Indian Army’s operational preparedness and transformation. It ensures the Indian Army remains progressive, forward-looking, adaptive, and future-ready.

Notable attendees at the conference included Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Defense Staff, General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Army Staff, and Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff. Dr. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, delivered a talk on “Leveraging Technology for National Security.”

During the first edition of the Army Commanders Conference in April 2023, the decision was made to establish a new Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings (CCOSW) to enhance operational capabilities and handle cyber operations. This move aims to adapt to the growing reliance on modern communication systems and strengthen the Indian Army’s cybersecurity posture.

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