In focus: New Integrated tri-service agencies

In focus: New Integrated tri-service agencies


  • In October 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the formation of 3 tri-service agencies in 3 critical domains of cyber security, space and special operations.
  • The formation of the 3 tri-service agencies was recommended by the Naresh Chandra Taskforce in 2012.
  • The 3 tri-service agencies that are being established include
  1. Special Operation Division
  2. Defence Cyber Agency
  3. Defence Space Agency
  • Besides, India is also keen on restructuring the armed forces into 3 theatre-based integrated tri-service commands northern, western and southern on the lines on US (3) and China (5).
  • The three new agencies are a small beginning to inject jointness and synergy among the Army, Navy and IAF. In the future, they can grow into full-fledged commands.


  • The integrated tri-service agencies will draw staff from each service.
  • They will be headed by a 2-star officer (Major General) and serve under the overall command of the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee.



In brief: Special Operation Division

  • Composition
    • India currently has Special Forces under the Army, Marine Commandoes (MARCOS) under Navy and Garuds under the Air Force.
    • The Special Operations Division will be established to unify 3,000 commandos from all these special forces.
    • The officer of the rank of Major General will be the Commander of the Special Operations Division.
    • Maj Gen A K Dhingra, from the 1 Para-Special Forces unit will be the first commander of the Special Operations Division
  • Role
  • The Special Operation Division is established primarily to undertake major counter-terrorism operations.
  • The future roles will include
  • Unconventional warfare, including counter-insurgency and proxy wars
  • Social welfare missions in peacetime
  • Protection of important vulnerable points
  • Strategic reconnaissance
  • Special covert operations in peace

Global Special Forces

  • Some of the major countries across the world have Special Forces. These include:
    • United States Army Special Forces – Green Berets under the United States Special Operations Command
    • The United Kingdom Special Forces controlling various British Special Forces
    • German KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK)



In brief: Defence Cyber Agency

  • Composition
    • Defence Cyber Agency will be headed by Rear Admiral serving under the command of the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee.
    • The existing Defence Information Assurance and Research Agency is being upgraded to Defence Cyber Agency.
  • Need
    • To protect Indian networks and systems
    • Defend against foreign-origin or foreign-sponsored cyberattacks
    • Synergizing cyber intelligence with Signals Intelligence, Electronic Intelligence and Human Intelligence
    • Cyber deterrence
    • Formulation of prioritised cyber target lists of potential adversaries
    • Plan and execute retaliatory offensive operations
    • Conduct training and cyber exercises
    • Management of international cyber cooperation

Global Cyber Commands

  • US has a Cyber Command under the US Strategic Command.
  • In 2016, China established the Strategic Support Force as an integrated force for Cyber warfare and Space-based warfare



In brief: Defence Space Agency

  • Composition
    • The Defence Imagery Processing and Analysis Centre (Delhi) and the Defence Satellite Control Centre (Bhopal) will be merged to form the Defence Space Agency
    • It will be headed by an officer of the rank of air vice-marshal serving under the overall command of the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee.
  • Need
    • It is tasked to protect India’s space assets under the INSAT, IRS, IRNSS systems.
    • The counter-space capability is much needed in response to China’s demonstrated offensive capabilities in space. China is the second country after the US to have demonstrated this capability.


Section : Defence & Security

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