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October 8, 2013
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CJCSC office in Pakistan and the world over

October 8, 2013

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LAHORE: Although the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committe of Pakistan is, in principle, the highest-ranking military officer in the country’s Defence forces, yet he does not have any authority over the combatant forces, hence making the Army Chief the most influential official who can call shots at will.
The fact that a few Pakistani army chiefs have toppled elected regimes by force to rule themselves bears ample testimony to the fact that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committe in Pakistan may outranks all respective heads of each service branch, but does not enjoy operational command authority over them or their service branches.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committe in Pakistan may be the principal military advisor to country’s Premier, President, the Ministry of Defence and the National Security Council, but his primary job is to lead the meetings and coordinate the efforts of the Chiefs of Army, Air and Naval Staff.
Nominated by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in Pakistan can even allocate funding to forces, and is otherwise deemed to be a highly prestigious slot.
This slot under discussion was created by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in March 1976, and the first Chairman was four star rank officer, General Muhammad Shariff, who had served between March 1976 and 78.
Other 13 Chairmen Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in Pakistan’s history include: Admiral Mohammad Shariff (1978-April 13, 1980), General Iqbal Khan (April 13, 1980–March 22, 1984), General Rahimuddin Khan (March 22, 1984 –March 29, 1987), General Akhtar Abdur Rahman (March 29, 1987-August 17, 1988), Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey (November 10, 1988 – August 17, 1991), General Shamim Alam Khan (August 17, 1991—November 9, 1994), Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan (November 10, 1994–November 9, 1997), General Jehangir Karamat

(November 9, 1997–October 7, 1998), General Pervez Musharraf (October 8, 1998–October 7, 2001), General Aziz Khan (October 7, 2001–October 6, 2004), General Ehsanul Haq (October 7, 2004–October 7, 2007), General Tariq Majeed (October 8, 2007–October 7, 2010) and General Khalid Shamim Wynne (October 8, 2010–October 8, 2013).
Interestingly, Pakistan has had 14 Commanders-in-Chief (Army Chiefs) and an equal number of Chairmen Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee till date.
It is imperative to recall that General Pervez Musharraf remains the only military officer in country’s history, who as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Army Staff simultaneously, had ousted the second government of the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on October 12, 1999.
In the United States, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff’s appointment requires confirmation via majority vote by the Parliament.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defence, who advise the Secretary of Defence, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the country’s President on military affairs.
Headed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this body also has the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, heads of Army, Navy, Air Force, the Marine Corps and the National Guard Bureau.
In United States, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff does not have operational command authority, as the chain of command goes from the President to the Secretary of Defence and from the Secretary of Defence to the Commanders of the Combatant forces.
The Joint Staff is headquartered in the Pentagon and is managed by the Director of the Joint Staff, who is a Lieutenant General or a Navy Vice admiral.
Research, with help sought from Brigadier (R) Yasub Ali Dogar’s newspaper article, shows that Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan have a system in which the Chiefs of General Staff (equivalent to Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff) exercise the operational commands. Their system is quite similar to one prevailing in USA with some local variations.
In United Kingdom, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is the professional head of the British armed Forces and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the Secretary for State for Defence and the Prime Minister.
The Chief of the Defence Staff is based at the Ministry of Defence and works alongside the Permanent Under Secretary, who is the Ministry’s senior civil servant. The current Chief of the Defence Staff is General Nick Houghton, who had succeeded General David Richards on July 18, 2013.
The Chiefs of the Defence Staff are appointed on the recommendation of the Secretary for State for Defence to the Prime Minister, before being approved by the Queen.
In India, a debate is still going on in media whether the country should have a unified command system under which the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, could operate coherently and to mutual benefit.
The April 28, 2012 edition of an esteemed online current affairs Japanese magazine “The Diplomat” had stated: “India doesn’t follow an integrated command system during peace or in times of combat, so each armed force prosecutes war as they see appropriate (and possibly in a manner where they get the most glory). Another problem for India has been the inadequate executive power given to the apex body of the armed forces, represented by the Chiefs of Staff Committee, an organisation that is just that – a committee. It has limited to no executive power.”
The Tokyo-based “Diplomat” had maintained: “The current system of command by committee results in a situation where a service chief or a theater commander (usually Army) is “advised” by an Air Force official on whether or not air power will be suitable (or even available) for a particular operation. If aircraft aren’t released by the Air Force, the theater commander has no choice but to soldier on without air support, at huge cost in casualties and outcome.”
The afore-mentioned Indian magazine had further noted: “This is hardly the first time a unified command system has been recommended. The Group of Ministers (GOM) report, under the Chairmanship of L.K. Advani, including the then-defence minister, external affairs minister and finance minister, recommended such a system in 2001. The Cabinet Committee on Security considered the GOM Report on May 11, 2001, and “decided that the recommendation in respect of the institution of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) be considered later, after government is able to consult various political parties.”
In South Korea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a group of Chiefs from each major branch of the country’s Armed services.The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has Operational Control over all military personnel of the Armed Forces.
The National Command Authority runs from the President and the Minister of Defence to the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and then to Operational Commands of the service branches, bypassing the Headquarters of each service branch.
All regular members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are 4-star generals and admirals, though the Deputy Chairman in the past has been 3-star Lieutenant-General or Vice-Admiral intermittently. Traditionally, the Chairman is chosen from the Army (with one previous exception) while the Deputy Chairman is selected from either the Navy or the Air Force.

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