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Testing the limits of seniority

One of the effects of the recent promotion of the Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee has been the fulsome praise of the seniority principle. However, that principle was only observed if it is assumed that the COAS job is senior to that of the Chairman. It is not a matter of reality, it is a matter of which officer is senior to the other.

According to the Higher Defence Organisation concept, according to which the office of CJCSC was created back in 1972, the occupant of this post would also act as a Principal Staff Officer to the Commander-in-Chief (the PM) in the time of war. The services were sold the idea because of failures of communication during the 1965 and 1971 Wars. In both wars, the two smaller services said they had no idea of what the Army was up to. This was particularly serious for the PAF, which was supposed to provide air support for the Army’s operations.

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