Spineless servility of the staff officers has been the bane of the Indian military. The case of Adarsh Housing Society proves it amply. The land in question was under army’s possession. It was apparent to even laymen that the whole project was ill-conceived and murky. Yet, flats were obtained by three Chiefs and numerous senior commanders by all means, fair and unfair. Instead of cautioning them, compliant staff officers actively abetted the wrong-doing. True to their character, their sole aim was to keep their bosses happy.
It is rare to see a staff officer having nerve to speak the truth and risk his commander’s disapproval.
Most worrisome has been the cowardice displayed by the Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) at the Army Headquarters. The Military Secretary and the Adjutant General are top ranking staff officers with immense powers. Yet, when a parochial Chief wanted to tweak the process to favour his protégé, neither had the courage to oppose his decadent and wily machinisations. Their gutless conduct showed them to be unworthy of the high appointments they held.
Similarly, no PSO cautioned the current Chief against disbanding the Technical Services Division. Everyone knew that it was an act of vendetta. Yet, senior officers willingly joined the errant Chief in depriving the military of a functional intelligence gathering outfit. Can there be a more serious anti-national act? As was expected, all abettors have been duly rewarded.
Equally surprising was the haste with which discipline and vigilance ban on a senior commander was lifted by the current Chief within days of assuming charge. It made a mockery of the complete disciplinary review process. The same staff officers, who had advised the previous Chief to impose the ban, quickly did an about turn and recommended its removal. They lacked courage to give honest opinion to the Chiefs and did what the Chiefs desired blindly. As is commonly said –‘servility has no spine and no limits’.
Staff Officers and Personal Staff Officer
Unfortunately, over a period of time difference between a staff officer and a personal staff officer has got blurred. Whereas an Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to a Corps Commander is a personal staff officer, a Col GS of a division or a BGS of a corps is a staff officer of the formation headquarters.