Combined Defence Services Posts

The Combined Defence Services Exam (CDS Exam) is an exam for recruiting officers into the three branches of the Indian Armed Forces – the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. The exam conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC)

Once passing the CDS Exam, the candidates have a plethora of opportunities in the Indian Armed Forces. They will undergo cadet training in the Army, Air Force and Navy, following which they will be commissioned as officers in any of the three branches of the armed forces.

This article will provide the information about the posts available following the completion of the CDS Exam.

Posts under Combined Defence Services (CDS)

The starting point of an officer career in the Indian Armed Forces is the Lieutenant (Army) Sub  Lieutenant (Navy) Flying Officer) upon passing the CDS. Following this it’s a steady climb to the top depending on the performance of the officer.

The hierarchy of all three branches of the armed forces are as follows:

Combined Defence Services Posts

Army Navy Air Force
Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Flying Officer
Captain Lieutenant Flying Lieutenant
Major Lieutenant Commander Squadron Leader
Lieutenant Colonel Commander Wing Commander
Colonel Captain Group Captain
Brigadier Commodore Air Commodore
Major General Rear Admiral Air Vice Marshal
Lieutenant General Vice Admiral Air Marshal
General (Chief of Army Staff) Admiral Air Chief Marshal
Field Marshal Admiral of the Fleet Marshal of the Air Force

To know more in detail about the CDS salary for each post, visit the linked article.

*Note: The ranks of Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet, Marshal of the Air Force are 5-star ranks that are only conferred upon a prestigious few for exceptional service in the battlefield

  • Kodandera Madappa Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw are the only two officers from the Army to have been awarded the title of Field Marshal.
  • Arjan Singh has received the rank of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force
  • The Admiral of the Fleet rank has not yet been awarded.

Frequently asked Questions about Combined Defense Services


What is the rank of CDS?

The CDS is a four-star officer selected from among the serving officers of the Indian Armed Forces. CDS is the military head and chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Indian Armed Forces.

Can females apply for CDS Exam?

According to CDS guidelines, female candidates can apply only for OTA while male candidates can apply for any post of CDS Examination, as long as they fulfill other eligibility criteria.

Who is the current cds of india

The current position of CDS was held by General Bipin Rawat from January 2020 until his death following a helicopter crash in December 2021. The CDS position now lies vacant as selection of his successor is ongoing.

To know more about the CDS Exam, candidates can refer to the following links. To know more in detail about other Defence exams, visit the linked article.

Related Links

CDS Notification CDS II Final Result.
Current Affairs Government Schemes
CDS Admit Card Government Exam Free Online Mock Tests
CDS Eligibility CDS Exam Pattern
Government Exams CDS Age Limit





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