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Vasudev asked: Is staffing relevant in present day war scenario?

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  • Ali Ahmed replies: Military staffs have been around as long as military leaders have. The function of military staff is to support the commander in planning and executing the mission of the force, interacting vertically and horizontally and monitoring the situation on behalf of the commander. Current day conflict would continue to require this function to be discharged and therefore military staffs are here to stay. However, the way they are configured currently and the manner in which they discharge their responsibilities is influenced by technology induced changes. The revolution in military affairs and the military technological revolutions, alongside developments outside of the military in communications and IT/IT enabled services, call for a reappraisal of discharge of the staff function. Netcentric warfare and innovative management practices necessitate change from traditional organisational structures, procedures and processes. This no doubt commands attention within the military. Middle piece officers are trained in the staff function at the Defence Services Staff College. This would be the node within the services to conceptualise the necessary steps to improve practices, along with the training and doctrine related agencies in respective services such as the Army's Army Training Command. For instance, a self-critical look can be taken for delayering, streamlining and pruning, particularly of top heavy headquarters. This is reportedly underway with the Transformation initiative being test bedded in terms of integrating logisitics. This being a significant area in the staff domain, the outcome bears watching.