New Delhi : The Defence Ministry is working on a plan to wind up the Army Education Corps (AEC) headquartered at Madhya Pradesh tourist destination Pachmarhi in the next five years and utilise its personnel to raise a specialised agency that can come in aid to the Indian armed forces in the cyber warfare.

Such a transformation of some 5,000 personnel, including 370 officers, from teaching jobs into warriors “to be redeployed for futuristic core activities of the combat units” came in the recommendations of a committee headed by retired Lt Gen. D B Shekatkar set up by the Modi government in May last year to suggest ways for “enhancing combat capability and rebalancing defence budget and better integration of the Services.”

The committee wanted the existing facilities and infrastructure of the AEC utilised optimally by the force for carrying out other combat activities. So far, the AEC was involved in the task of managing human resources, training the defence personnel in regional, Chinese and other languages of neighbouring countries, school administration, map craft, library, personality development, enhancement of educational qualification of the army soldiers and English training to military personnel from the friendly foreign countries.

In its report submitted to the government in December, the committee said the existing manpower of AEC should be re-oriented and re-skilled to form part of the cyber warriors, various electronic surveillance adn intelligence as well as electronic warfare unit or trained as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAE) operators on the borders of China and Pakistan.

The 11-member committee had retired officers, including former DGMOs (director generals of military operations), who went through the existing organisations of the three Armed Forces and interacted with the serving officers.

The defence ministry sources said most of its recommendations have been cleared by the ministry and sent to the Services to study them before implementing them. They said the three chiefs have met under the chairmanship of the chiefs of staff committee Admiral Sunil Lanba to discuss the recommendations.

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