A career in defence forces promises one of the most prestigious and respected positions in the country. Youngsters who aspire to choose a career of excitement, adventure, and challenges can find no better place than the defence to meet all their professional expectations. The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of India which consist of four professional uniformed services: Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. One of the most popular modes of entry at 10+2 level is through National Defence Academy (NDA) examination. This article discusses the work of Armed Forces Officers and gives detailed information about the NDA selection process.
WHAT DO ARMED FORCES OFFICERS DO?
Armed forces officers work in the service of the country to defend its people. While officers in each wing (Army, Navy and Air Force) have separate responsibilities, some common activities are:
- Resource planning, assigning duties and communicating effectively with other staff
- Commanding, training and leading subordinate personnel
- Monitoring the welfare and progress of new recruits
- Operating and maintaining warfare systems, equipment and vehicles
- Distributing equipments, resources and manpower
- Support in maintaining internal security of the country
- Manage security interventions and secure the border
- Take on specialist duties and skills like engineering, training and administration
- Secure India’s territory, citizens and maritime trade from sea-borne threats
- Conduct mock drills, carry out anti-piracy operations and check international trade through water ways
- Influence security activities on land in coordination with concerned authorities
- Be trained in domains like anti-submarine warfare, communications, gunnery, logistics, diving and hydrography
Air Force Officers
- Fly combat or fighter planes carrying ammunition and missiles
- Provide air support to a moving army, or for para-dropping men and supplies
- Fly along with the pilot and guide the plane by using the latest avionic equipment
- Deliver logistical, meteorological, educational and administrative support to the flying and technical branches
KEY QUALITIES REQUIRED
Stamina and physical fitness– Officers must be in top physical and mental shape to persist in the rigorous and stressful working conditions.
Team Player– Armed Forces rely on the team concept to get its work done. By working together, a team gets more done than if each member worked alone. That is why one of the first things cadets learn in training is teamwork.
Adaptability– Life in Defense is fast paced. Officers may be in one place today and tomorrow on a plane to somewhere else. Being able to quickly adapt to changes and challenges on the fly is critical to both mission and personal success.
Empathy – The military operates in all types of environments. Some of these are hostile and unhealthy. It is necessary to be able to relate to the local socioeconomic background, culture and religions.
FAMOUS ARMED FORCES OFFICERS
The National Defence Academy (NDA) is the Joint Services academy of the Indian Armed Forces, where cadets of the three services, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force train together before they go on to pre-commissioning training in their respective service academies. NDA alumni have led and fought in every major conflict in which the Indian Armed Forces has been called to action since the academy was established. National Defense Academy has produced 30 Chiefs Of Staff till date. Current Chief Of Staff of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are all NDA alumni.
HOW MUCH DO ARMED FORCES OFFICERS EARN?
During last year of training period, you will receive a monthly stipend of INR 21,500. After getting commissioned (becoming an officer), your salary may range from INR 60,000 to INR 80,000 according to 6th central pay commission. The salaries and allowances are being revised according to 7th central pay commission at the time this article has been written.
- In addition to the salary, officers may be entitled to other allowances depending on their posting.
- Officers also get a life insurance of up to 50 lakh rupees by paying only a nominal fee.
- Officers and their dependents (parents, spouse, children) also get free access to medical facilities.
- Officers get an annual leave of 60 days and casual leave of 20 days.
- Post retirement, you are entitled to a pension that varies depending on your position.
HOW TO BECOME AN ARMED FORCES OFFICER?
Step 1: Clear Written examination of NDA
Every year about 4 to 5 lakh aspirants (note, only unmarried males are eligible to apply) appear for the NDA exam, out of which ten thousand candidates clear. Applicants to the NDA are selected via a written exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. About 6,300 of these are invited for Staff Selection Board (SSB), which is the second and final stage of the selection process.
In addition to NDA, there are several modes of entry to become an armed forces officer after graduation. Students can appear in Combined Defense Services (CDS) exam, Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) etc. However, since this book is intended for students currently in class 9th-12th, this article focusses only on NDA. Details about CDS and AFCAT are available on respective websites of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
The written examination consists of two papers:
|General Ability Test||2.5 hours||
General ability test contains questions on current affairs and aptitude
- Age Limits: Age of a candidate should between 16.5 years to 19 years
- Sex and Marital Status: Only unmarried male candidates are eligible.
- Educational Qualifications: For admission to the examination, a candidate must be (any one of the following):
- For Army wing of National Defence Academy: 12th pass from any stream
- For Air Force and Naval Wings of National Defence Academy: 12th pass with Physics and Mathematics
Candidates who are appearing in the 12th board examination can also apply for this examination.
The total number of seats available through NDA are given below.
In 2016, minimum marks required to qualify
written examination stage ranged between 270-300, out of 900.
- Written examination stage ranged between 270-300, out of 900.
- Staff Selection Board stage ranged between 630-670, out of 1800.
Step 2: Clear Staff Selection Board (SSB)
SSB is a testing procedure that evaluates a candidate’s psyche, physical capabilities and various interpersonal skills commonly called “Officer Like Qualities” through a series of tests spanning over five days. Screening consists of an aptitude test, group discussions and a picture perception test. This is followed by psychological assessments, interview, and outdoor tasks (both individual and group based). Standards are kept up to, even if it implies that no candidate clears. Only the perfect candidate is recommended. Details of tests and activities conducted on each of the five days is given below.
DAY 1 : Screening Test
Candidates are given intelligence test which includes questions to measure both verbal and nonverbal intelligence. They then give the Picture Perception and Description Test.
- Picture Perception and Description Test – Candidates will be shown a picture for 30 secs. Later they have to write a story based on the picture they saw. After that, they will be divided into sub-groups of 14-15 members. First each candidate will narrate his/her story, followed by the group discussion on the picture, among the group members.
Day 2 : Psychological Tests
Thematic Apperception Test – Candidates will be shown 11 pictures in which the last picture will be a blank slide. Each picture will come just for 30 seconds and then disappear. They get 4 minutes time to write the story based on that picture. After 4 minutes another picture will come for 30 seconds and the same process will be followed till last slide (blank slide).
- Word Association Test – Candidates will be shown 60 words back to back, each word will remain on the screen for 15 seconds. In 15 seconds they are required to write a sentence which comes in their mind first after reading that word. Likewise, they have to write 60 words continuously without any pause in between.
- Situation Reaction Test (duration 30 minutes) – Candidates will get a booklet with 60 situations written on it. They are required to write their responses based on those 60 situations.
- Self Description (duration 15 minutes) – Candidates are required to write their opinion about themselves based on perspectives of their parents, friends, teachers and qualities they would like to develop in the future.
DAY 3 : Activities I
The group tasks consist of various indoor and outdoor activities observed by the Group Testing Officer.
- Group Discussion– Back to back group discussion on two topics, mostly current affairs.
- Group Planning or Military Planning Exercises – each candidate must write his planning for the mentioned problem. Later group members discuss the problem and have to come with a common plan with consensus. Later one of the group members must explain the common plan with the help of a pointer and a map.
- Progressive Group Task – Candidates are required to cross some obstacles with the help of supporting materials like rope, plank, wood log etc. Some rules are required to be followed during this task, it is a full group activity.
- Group Obstacle Race – All group members will be competing with other groups, members will be holding a snake like rope, they are required to cross certain obstacles with the snake.
- Half Group Task – similar to the Progressive Group Task but the number of group members will be half.
- Individual Lacerate – Each candidate will give a lecture for 3 minutes on a topic selected by him. They have to select one topic out of four.
DAY 4 : Activities II
- Individual Obstacles – Candidates are required to attempt 10 obstacles individually, each obstacle consists of some points from 1 to 10.
- Command Task – Each candidate will be a commander in this task. They are required to cross some obstacles with the help of 2-3 subordinates. They can choose 2-3 other candidates from their own group whom they think can help them in clearing the obstacles.
- Final Group Task – similar to Progressive Group Task, it’s another chance for the candidates to show their potential.
DAY 5 : Conference
Conference – Deputy president of SSB gives a closing speech.
Results are announced.
Step 3: Clear Medical Examination
Candidates who have cleared SSB now undergo the medical examination. Candidates have to report at their assigned armed forces’ hospitals. To see a complete list of medical conditions which can get you rejected, read the advertisement from the official website of Union Public Service Commission. After rejecting medically unfit candidates, the top 300 candidates are called for the merit list. It is advisable that all NDA Aspirants should get themselves medically examined to fully understand if they are fit for getting recruited by NDA. Since medical and physical fitness is examined at a later stage, it is better to know things beforehand.
Step 4: Get training at National Defence Academy
The syllabi encompass science, technology, arts and military subjects. The three-year course is split into six terms. A cadet is awarded a Bachelor’s Degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The regimen consists of physical conditioning which includes drill, swimming, horse riding, several games and adventure activities. The choice is between three streams: BSc in Computer Science, BSc in Science and BA. Service specific training related to the branch of the three forces that the cadet belongs to commence in the final year of cadets’ stay at NDA. Academic training of cadets makes up 68% of the total training curriculum.
- Physical Training
The physical training program at NDA includes a combination of physical training, the building of physical and mental endurance and fine balance of a swimming training with some flexibility that permits cadets to pursue interests and aptitude in sports. Cadets must demonstrate above average performance in the mandatory fitness tests and other tests of excellence. It continues for first six terms.
- Extra-curricular Activities
There are 31 extra-curricular activities to choose from. Cadets can participate in aeromodelling, golf, gliding, sailing, windsurfing, astronomy, photography etc. Outdoor clubs include archery, astronomy, golf, automotive, martial arts, aero-modelling, trekking, rock climbing etc. Indoor clubs include arts, classical music, dramatics, media,public speaking, artificial intelligence, robotics, dancing etc.
- Joint Training
The common aspects of the three services are covered in the curriculum of joint training. This includes weapon handling, map reading, military law, history and organization of each service and analysis of military campaigns and operations. The leadership qualities and personality of a cadet is developed through interactive classroom instructions, debates, public speaking competitions, seminars and interactions with civil institutes and organizations.
Training specific to each Armed Service
Cadets master their soldierly skills to include tactics, weapon training, radiotelephony, field engineering, survival, mental robustness and section level tactics. Cadets are trained in operations like making ambush, patrolling, attack, defense and casualty evacuation by various exercises in the jungles and hills in and around Khadakwasla.
Naval cadets receive basic foundation on navigation, general seamanship and communication. The team also molds them to transform as seafarers by providing a maritime environment.. The Cadets also have to submit book reviews on contemporary naval or military studies along with presentations. In addition to book reviews, they also give presentation on military and naval war campaigns.
Cadets are trained in all aspects of flying training. The trainees fly 10 sorties (an attack made by troops coming out from a position of defense) as a part of their syllabus. This training happens on Super Dimona planes and other plane simulators.
Step 5: Get training at respective academies of Army, Navy or Air Force
On passing out from the National Defence Academy, Army Cadets go to the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Naval Cadets to Indian Naval Academy Ezhimala and Air force cadets to Air Force Academy, Hyderabad.
At the I.M.A Army Cadets are known as Gentlemen Cadets and are given strenuous military training for a period of one year. On successful completion of training, Gentlemen Cadets are granted Permanent Commission in the rank of Lieutenant subject to being medically fit
The Naval cadets are selected for the Executive Branch of the Navy, on passing out from the National Defence Academy and are given further training at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala for a period of one year on successful completion of which they are promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenants.
Air Force Cadets receive flying training for a period of 1½ years. However, at the end of 1 year of training, they are given provisional Commission in the rank of Flying Officer. After successful completion of further training of six months, they are absorbed as permanent commissioned officers on probation for a period of one year.
EXPLORE THE FIELD
|Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer||The Indian Police Service (IPS) is one of the three All India Services. The IPS officers provide senior level leadership to Police Forces both in the States and at the Centre. They also lead and command Indian Intelligence Agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and other Central Armed Police Forces.|
|Assistant Commandant in Central Armed Police Force Officer (CAPF)||This includes Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF), National Security Force (NSG), Border Security Force (BSF). Depending on force selected, you will be protecting government establishments, doing riot-control, protecting border, leading anti-terrorist operations etc.|
|Civil Pilot||Flies plane to transport passengers mail or freight, or for other commercial purposes. Reviews flight papers to find out factors, like load weight, fuel supply, weather conditions and flight route and schedule. Orders changes in fuel supply, load, route or schedule to
ensure safety of flight. Reads gags to verify that oil, hydraulic fluid, fuel quantities and cabin pressure are at prescribed level before starting engines
|More details about admission process, paper pattern, seats||Previous Years Questions Papers, Answer keys and Cutoffs||Details about life in army and different entry routes to Army||Guide on SSB|