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Focus: GS-III Internal Security

Understanding Swiss Cheese model in simple terms

The Swiss cheese model is associated with accident investigation in an organisation or a system

  • A system consists of multiple domains or layers, each having some shortcomings.
  • These layers are visualised in the model as slices of Swiss cheese, with the holes in them being the imperfections.
  • Normally, weaknesses get “nullified” because of the holes being unaligned. So, when there is a hole in a spot on one layer, the next layer does not have a hole and it is covered.
  • At some point, the holes in every slice align to let a hazard pass through and cause an accident – this is because weaknesses are not covered.

Three slices in defence set-up

In a nation’s defence preparedness, Swiss Cheese model works in the reverse way: The slices represent the major constituents in a nation’s war-making potential, while the holes are pathways through which the domains interact.

At the macro level, there are only three slices with holes in each. These must align to ensure that a nation’s defence posture is in tune with its political objectives.

In the Indian defence set-up, the three slices are:

  1. The policymaking apparatus comprising the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and Ministry of Defence (MoD)
  2. The defence research and development (R&D) establishment and domestic manufacturing industry
  3. The three services – Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

Access to the right equipment

  • India’s security managers have to factor in the increasingly belligerent posture of the country’s two adversaries – Pakistan and China.
  • Such a security environment (with Terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and ongoing incidents along the northern border with China) demands that the capability accretion of the three services be increased.
  • Enter the well-meaning government diktat for buying indigenous only, but for that, in-house R&D and manufacturing entities have to play ball.

Way Forward: To work on the slices of Swiss Cheese

  • So, the Swiss cheese slice representing indigenous R&D and a manufacturing supply chain that ensures quality war-fighting equipment, at the right time and in required quantities, still needs some work.
  • The forthcoming reform of creating theatre commands is the most talked about result of jointness expected from the Swiss cheese slice in which lie the DMA and a restructured MoD.
  • The three services that constitute the third Swiss cheese slice have to contend with the other two slices being in a state of flux for some time to come.

Click Here to read more about India’s Border Issues

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024