Faced with a shortage of officers, the Army is now planning to directly recruit junior commissioned officers (JCOs) who would provide a young and agile middle-rung leadership to the troops in counter -terrorist and other operations. Those who qualify for cyber operations will work as 'cyber warriors'.

As per a suggestion moved by Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s office to the Army’s Adjutant General’s branch, the candidates who miss out on the selection as officers by around 5% marks will be given the choice of directly joining the force as a JCO.

“If we are able to recruit, say, a qualified information technology engineer as a JCO, we can use him for cyber operations and warfare in the cyber domain. The starting salaries also would be around Rs 70,000 per month along with job security and several other benefits,” a top Army source told MyNation.
Compared with the private sector, the salary offered, along with job security, is quite high. It has the potential of attracting a large number of youth towards the force, the sources believe.

Presently, the personnel recruited as jawans become JCOs after a service of around 20 years. They act as the link between troops and officers in war and counter-terror operations.
If the plan is accepted, the age profile of the JCOs would come down drastically. They would be able to independently lead operations in rare cases of absence of officers
According to the plan, the JCOs would also get an opportunity to become officers as they would be given a promotion every five years of their service. They could rise up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonels in the force.

The direct -entry JCOs would be allowed to serve for 30 years, get ting all the benefits and perks that are entitled to them, as both JCOs and ( when they enter the officer cadre as ) Lieutenants after a service of 15 years. The Army is also thinking of finding a suitable academy like the Officers’ Training Academy in Gaya where the direct-entry JCOs would be trained for operations.
After nine months of training, the JCOs would be provided on-job training of six months in different units after which they can continue their work.

Sources said if the proposal gets implemented, it will totally change the profile of the force, which is working to lower the age of the leaders, including commanding officers working on the ground.