A career in the defense services

Unlike in the corporate world that forces one into a monotonous nine-to-five job and where a dip or rise in the markets alters an employee’s status and pay packet, an officer in the army, navy, or air force is rest assured of an exciting, adventurous and secure job.

Crisp uniforms, sequined with tokens of bravery and pride; discipline in every move and chivalry in each gesture, this is the image that comes to one’s mind when one thinks of defense personnel. Though the number of young people opting for a career in the defense services is reducing by the day, little does the youth who evades this career realize that a career in the defense services is the only profession that provides one the opportunity to serve one’s nation while leading an adventurous life.

As compared to the corporate world, the defense services offer lower salaries and slower promotions. This dampens the aspirations of many youngsters who aspire to achieve great heights within a short span of time. Youngsters further get de-motivated due to the extremely high standards of recruitment to all the three services namely, the army, navy and air force. To make a career in the armed forces more lucrative, the government must implement the long pending proposal of the lateral movement of officers into paramilitary forces, Central Police Organizations (CPOs) and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). Also, the army should provide opportunities to officers for further learning in various fields and institutes, like the IIMs by granting them study leaves on full pay; this will encourage the officers and boost their morale.

Though the armed forces do offer comparatively lower salaries, the best thing about a career in these services is that they provide one the exclusive opportunity to serve one’s nation. Also, unlike in the corporate world that forces one into a monotonous nine-to-five job and where a dip or rise in the markets alters an employee’ status and pay packet, an officer in the army, navy, or air force is rest assured of an exciting adventurous and secure job. After the sixth CPC the army has become more lucrative with faster promotions and pay hikes. According to the sixth CPC and the officers of the rank of brigadier and equivalent in the armed forces will receive the pay scale recommended for major generals. Similarly officers of the colonel and equivalent ranks will receive higher pay packets on completing a prescribed period of service. Also, the government is now on the verge of approving the creation of additional posts for general rank officers in all the three services. Moreover, a career in the defense services also pro-vides various other benefits such as government sops that reduce monthly expenses of accommodation and travel. As a result, a defense personnel’s income and savings are not as meager as they may seem. Being in the defense forces has its long term benefits such as pension after retirement, the privilege of defense quota in every other field, lifelong subsidy on various commodities etc.

Equal Opportunities

Although this field is popularly considered a male dominated one due to its demanding nature, these days, women too have much scope for professional growth. With female pilots flying helicopters to AN-32s in the IAF, serving as doctors in the army, saw engineers in the technical department, executing rescue operations or managing the Air Traffic Control (ATC) the scope for women too is wide. The 10 to 14 years that you spend in the air force are a truly enriching experience, both personally and professionally; a job in the defense services is way beyond a mere job or career; it’s a way of life. A career in the IAF probably provides you with the safest and most secure environment as compared to a job in the civil air line industry be it in ground or in air. One can look forward to a life full of adventure, lots of hard work, discipline, flying to interesting terrains, fitness, attending or organizing regular parties, parades, and loads of team work. All that is needed is the motivation.

Entry for the post of commissioned officers in all the forces is conducted through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) that holds the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) twice a year. Candidates should have completed their graduation through a recognized university. Successful candidates are required to join the respective training academy namely the Indian Military Academy (IMA) for the Army, the Naval Academy for the Navy and the Air Force Academy for the Air Force. For those who aspire to join the armed forces post class 12 the UPSC also holds an examination for entry to the National defense Academy (NDA), twice a year. Students who have passed their class12 or who are pursuing their class 12 are eligible to apply. Post their NDA course candidates are sent to the respective service academies for their pre-commission training.

The requirements and standards for entry to the defense forces are very high. The Service Selection Boards (SSB) system is such that only the best are selected. The main reason behind the high standards is that there is no scope of error or weakness in this profession. The courage to take up challenges and sustain hardships is crucial pre-requisite. The tests and qualifiers ensure that the individual is physically as well as mentally fit to be part of the armed forces. The SSBs are under tremendous pressure due to the current void in the officer cadre. Also, there is additional pressure as the forces do not lower their set standards at any cost. Yet, the SSBs head towards selecting candidates and not rejecting them. Apart from possessing the required physical traits, candidates must also possess leadership qualities, consistency, character and a reasonable IQ.

So if you are a brave heart, who aspires to do something for his / her nation and desire a life full of adventures and challenges but a secure and exciting job then the armed forces is just the place to be.