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Bangladesh - Ministry of Defence

Under the Constitution, promulgated in 1972, the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces. The services are divided into the army, navy, and air force. In theory, the three service chiefs are coequals in the national command structure; in practice, the army dominates the defense establishment because of its imposing size and its historic role in monitoring or commandeering the political process. In mid-1988 the army constituted 88 percent of the nation's service personnel; the navy and air force accounted for only 7 and 5 percent, respectively.

Following the British pattern, there is a Ministry of Defence, which is technically responsible for overseeing the military. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is the principal administrative organization by which military policy is formulated and executed. The MoD is headed by the Minister of Defense, who is a civilian and a member of the Cabinet, but this post is usually held by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

Even though the Ministry of Defence bureaucracy is predominantly civilian, the military exerts substantial influence over its operations. After seizing power in March 1982, President Ershad followed the practice of his military predecessors by reserving the Ministry of Defence cabinet portfolio for himself. Through the appointment of military retirees and active-duty officers to the Ministry of Defence the military indirectly controls the ministry. Parliament is constitutionally responsible for working with the president, the Minister and the service chiefs in ensuring the nation's defense. In practice, however, members of Parliament have never played a significant role in either national defense planning or defense budgeting.

Historically, command-and-control arrangements at the national level have been dominated by the army chief of staff (a lieutenant general). In the past, coup leaders such as Zia and Ershad consolidated control over the country by assuming the powers of the army chief of staff, the president, and the extraconstitutional position of chief martial law administrator. During periods of direct military rule, the navy and air force chiefs of staff (rear admiral or major, general respectively) served as deputy chief martial law administrators, subordinate to the army chief of staff strongman. In the absence of a formal interservice command structure, the cohesion of the Bangladeshi military depends on informal, shifting alliances among senior commanders, most notably within the inner circle of army generals who command the country's six divisions. The military chain of command has broken down on numerous occasions and at every level of command since the country achieved independence in 1971.

In the Department of survey, steps have been taken to increase momentum to the preparation of topographical maps, which is the main function of the Department of Survey. The scope of geodetic network has been made wide and brought under densification. During the 3 years 2009-2011, the number of geodic control points has been increased to cover the whole area of Bangladesh. Attempt has been made to prepare revision survey of map and also update maps in other scales. International boundary survey and demarcation of boundary in the Hill tract areas especially in the Mizoram sector with India and Myanmar has been completed and for this important job the department has applied new technologies like GSP, and INS. The construction of digital mapping centre for preparation of digital map has been completed 50 percent. During this period, 1,000 GPS survey pillars have been constructed and 30 GPS receivers have been purchased. Agreement has been made for purchase of a digital mapping unit. Training has been given on GPS and Aerial photography.

In the Department of Meteorology, in order to encounter climatic changes and natural disasters, weather prediction is given daily through 24 hours operational program of the department. Weather prediction is also announced regarding excessive rainfall, flood, drought, rain storm, depression in the sea, tornado and cyclone and warning is given. Besides, in order to encounter earthquake disaster, information regarding earthquake and Tsunami is given to the government and the public. Earthquake observatory at Chittagong has been developed with modern and technical equipments and 3 earthquake laboratories have been established at Dhaka, Sylhet and Rangpur with modern technology. 2 Doppler radars have been installed at Coxs Bazar and Khepupara. Information and data are received through constant radar observation, and prediction and warning is given regarding tornado in the sea, its position, direction, density and force. A Hydrological-cum-Meteorological S. Band Doppler radar has been installed at Moulovi Bazar under Sylhet division in order to forecast about early rainfall, heavy rainfall, flash floods in the northern and eastern regions of the country. Besides, 13 Navy prediction centers have been constructed at different places of the country to reduce naval accidents through weather forecasting.

In the Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARSO), over the three years 2009-2011, satellite data has been received at the speed of FY-2 and MTSAT per hour, NOAA-AVHRR after every six hours on average and AQUA and TERRA MODIS every day through five satellites (America based-3, China based-1 and Japan based-1) installed at SPARSOs satellite ground stations. After pre-processing and analyzing the received information and data weather and disaster prediction has been regularly given. SPARSO has regularly supplied important information and data to the concerned departments / organizations about condition of main agricultural crops, environment, development of forest resources and coastal forestation, coastal erosion, river erosion, cause identification for salinity, mapping of rural structure, conditions of ponds for fishery development selection of area for shrimp cultivation, variety of land uses, flood observation, irrigation planning and other matters related to earth resources.

During three years, 2009-2011 Inter Services Departments saw 19,10,900 patients receive outdoor treatment and 2,10,717 patients receive indoor treatment from 23 Combined Military Hospitals (CMH). Besides 1,03,970 civil patients were given treatment during winter joint practice of the Army. A medical team was sent to Haiti for treatment of the earthquake victims. During the same period a total of 148 cadets obtained MBBS degree. 484 students, civil and military, were awarded the degree of B.Sc. in Engineering from the Military Institute of Science and Technology. From the Staff College 506 officers completed P.S.C(Permanent Service Commission) course and out of them 482 officers obtained the degree of MDS (Master of Defence Studies). National Defence College has awarded NDC certificates to 133 senior military and civil officers (local and foreign) and Armed Forces War Course (FWC) Certificates to 44 military officers. A training course CAPSTONE of 2 weeks duration has been introduced for civil and military senior officers, policy makers, public representatives, judges and security specialists since 2010. During the same period Inter-Services Selection Board (ISSB) has successfully completed selection of 15,000 officers for the Armed Forces. In the same period the Department of Military land and Cantonment has completed personal data base of the officers and employees for efficient administrative management.

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