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In the recent Army Commanders’ Conference (ACC), the Indian Army decided to operationalize the Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings (CCOSWs) to strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities, defend its networks, and counter threats in the key domain of cyberspace.

What is the Army Commanders’ Conference (ACC)?

  • The ACC is a biannual institutional event that serves as a platform for high-level conceptual discussions and decision-making on important policies for the Indian Army.
  • The latest conference discussed various agenda points, updates from the Army Headquarters, progress on transformation initiatives, and budget management.

What are CCOSWs?

  • About:
    • The CCOSWs are a specialized unit of the Indian Army that will assist the formations in undertaking mandated cyber security functions.
      • The unit will be responsible for safeguarding the networks and enhancing the cybersecurity posture of the Indian Army.
    • They will also facilitate better utilization of modern communication systems and networks within the Indian Army.
  • Importance:
    • The migration towards network centricity and increased reliance on modern communication systems makes the CCOSWs important.
      • The CCOSWs will help the Indian Army counter their adversaries in the grey zone and their cyber warfare. And to stay ahead of its adversaries in terms of cybersecurity.
    • The CCOSWs will be instrumental in maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical information.
    • The CCOSWs will ensure that the Indian Army’s communication networks are secure from cyber-attacks. And will be responsible for identifying and mitigating cyber threats to the Indian Army’s networks.

What Were the Other Key Decisions Made in ACC?

  • Training and Technology Infusion:
    • Nominating lead directorates and test bed formations to evolve optimal employment philosophies and facilitate better modern communication systems and networks across the force.
  • Force Structuring and Optimization:
    • Quantifying progress on the ongoing transformational initiatives in the key domains of force structuring and optimization, modernization and technology infusion, processes and functions, human resource management, and jointness and integration.
    • Deliberating upon the efficient implementation of the Agnipath Scheme.
    • Transitioning from the existing (5-year) 1+3+1 years Technical Entry Scheme (TES) model to (4-year) 3 + 1 TES model from January 2024 onwards.
      • The current five-year TES model for officer entry as B.Tech graduates has been in place since 1999.
        • Under the current model, 1 year of military training is imparted, followed by 3 years of B.Tech degree at Cadet Training Wings (CTWs) and 1 year at one of the three engineering colleges of the Army.
      • The Upcoming new model will have 3 years of technical training at CTWs, followed by 1 year of Basic Military Training (BMT).
        • The new model has received AICTE approval in March 2023.
  • Paralympic Events:

What are India’s Initiatives in Cyber Warfare?

Way Forward

  • Develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that integrates the CCOSWs with other cybersecurity capabilities across the Indian Armed Forces, to ensure seamless coordination and effective response to cyber-attacks.
  • Continue to invest in modern communication systems and networks, while also prioritizing cybersecurity training and awareness programs for all personnel within the Indian Army to ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills to identify and respond to cyber threats.
  • Regularly review and update the cybersecurity policies and procedures in light of emerging security scenarios, to ensure the Indian Army remains prepared to tackle cyber threats in the future.
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