“Unified Command Authority for Forces Undertaking Counter Terrorist / Naxal / Insurgency Operations”

“Unified Command Authority for Forces Undertaking Counter Terrorist / Naxal / Insurgency Operations”
by P.T. Choudary, Chairman IDEAz
  • “Nothing is more important in war than unity in command… Better one bad general than two good ones”. - Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • “Order, Counter order, Disorder” - Old proverb.

Key Concepts:

  • A Counter Terrorist / Naxal / Insurgent Operation involves not only the Police, the various Intelligence Agencies and the Para Military, but also elements of the Military all working together with Civil Administrative and other Governmental Authorities.
  • To enable rapid & flexible response to meet an emergency situation, it is essential that there should be a Unified Command Authority to direct the Operations.
  • Emphasizing the importance of a Unified Command – Napoleon had said, “The effect of discussions, making a show of talent and calling councils of war will be what the effect of these things has been in every Age: they will end in the adoption of the most pusillanimous or (if the expression be preferred) the most prudent measures, which in war are almost uniformly the worst that can be adopted. True wisdom, so far as the general is concerned, consists in energetic determination.”

We must recognize that a proper response to Terrorism / Naxalism / Insurgency will be different in many ways from that to Crime or Disturbances of Law and Order (see “Response to Terrorism / Naxalism / Insurgency” at www.ideaz4india.com)

Today too many organizational authorities are involved in uncoordinated attempts to respond to internal security threats. Each seeks to claim the credit and avoid the blame for any success or failure respectively. This only leads to delays in decisions, confusion and therefore demoralization of the Forces and of the Public at large. (See “Mumbai 26/11 to 28/11/2008” at < www.ideaz4india.com>)

The military has long recognized the need for a Unified Command to best utilize all its resources to engage the enemy. Similar logic dictates that the Forces engaged in internal security operations (mainly Police, Intelligence and Para-military) also operate under a Unified Command Authority (UCA).

The UCA should be a fairly autonomous body operating under the authority of the Prime Minister or the Home Minister, with a clear understanding of the overall objective to be attained and decisive control over the resources made available to it. Its ‘Rules of Engagement’ and operational authority should be clearly specified in advance in laid down Standard Operating Procedures.

The functioning of such an authority would free the PM or HM or any Empowered Group of Ministers from futilely trying to continuously monitor the many dimensions of internal security and be able to take decisions thereon quickly enough. They could now hand over this responsibility to the UCA and restrict themselves to laying down the broad guidelines.

It would also prevent the many other leaders at various levels, who may not actually be responsible, from responding to incidents in a ‘Knee-jerk’ manner.

The Command structure for the Forces involved in such operations should lead to a Unified Command


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