There has been comments from among some senior retirees of the armed forces, and including some from within the service, that there is no real justification for top senior officers of the armed forces to be given an extension of service exceeding their official retirement age. The top seniors officers that I am referring to are the three service chiefs i.e. army, navy and air force, and the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).
The practice of extending the service of senior officers of the armed forces is more often applicable to the CDF, and occasionally, to the three service chiefs. I am told that the present CDF is on an extended service, and is scheduled to retire early next year, while both the Army Chief and the Air Force Chief would also be retiring at about the same period next year. The Navy Chief who was appointed to the post last year, has several more years to serve, and should both the Army and Air Force Chief retire, the Navy Chief, will in all probability be the next CDF.
The argument against the extension of service of top senior officers is simply that the armed forces does not have a well defined succession policy that is transparent, ideal, justifiable and fair. I believe, there is already a policy defining that the post of the CDF can be assigned to either one of the three service chiefs, which hitherto has been dominated by the Army Chief, except on one occasion where the post was held by the Navy Chief. The ideal would be to have the post assigned to the service chiefs on a rotational basis. But this often cannot be done, because of the aforesaid reason.
I am not able to reason out why is it so necessary that the CDF be extended, every time one is appointed to the post. Is it because he has such an important work that he wants to accomplish, that requires him to be extended? Or is it to give him the extra mile, because his tenure to the post is deemed too short? Or is it merely for a compassionate reasons? Or is he so outstanding in his job that he is deemed in-dispensable?
Whatever be the reason, by extending the service of the CDF, it does not really help in the subsequent succession plan. More often, the successor to the post will in all probability be extended too, maybe for one of the reasons stated above, or for other unknown reason. And this process of succession will go on endlessly. If at all there are strong and justifiable reasons that a CDF should be appointed for a reasonable period, why not then make it a policy, that upon an officer being assigned to the post of CDF, he will remain in that post for a specified period e.g. 3 years maximum, regardless of his age. This will give each service the opportunity to plan for the next succession, since they are informed of the retirement date of the incumbent CDF.
It has been rumoured that cronyism is presently being practiced by some senior officers. It is a question of whom you know, and not what you know, that finally decides the promotion and the succession plan. They say that the reason for this is to protect the interest of certain officers even after they leave the service. If this indeed be the practice of some officer, I wouldn't be surprised that we will no longer have a dedicated and professional armed forces, but one that is build on cronyism and self interest.
Let us hope that the current corps of officers of the armed forces remains true to their profession, and not be subjected to the 'worldly temptations' that will destroy the outstanding image of the force, that has been meticulously build by officers of the past.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION