Thailand‘s Defence Council has recently given the green light to a reform plan that aims to reduce the number of generals in the armed forces by 50% by 2027, as stated yesterday by Deputy Defence Ministry Spokesperson, Colonel Jittanat Punnotok. Currently, there are approximately 1,200 generals in the military, a military source told Bangkok Post.
Between 2017 and 2021, the armed forces managed to decrease the number of military personnel by over 8,000, resulting in savings of around 1.5 billion baht. With the proposed reduction to about 600 generals by 2027, the estimated savings are expected to reach 2.9 billion baht, according to the source.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also serves as defence minister, has emphasised that these reforms were planned long before and are not connected to any new government’s intention to seek armed forces reform.
The reform plan also entails halting the reinforcement of the 7th Infantry Division in the North, meaning it will no longer be permitted to increase its personnel. The primary responsibilities of the 7th Infantry Division include supporting the 4th Infantry Division in maintaining security along the Thai-Myanmar border.
In addition, the 3rd Cavalry Division in Khon Kaen will see its troop numbers frozen under the plan. These changes are part of the armed forces’ efforts to improve efficiency through restructuring, resizing, and modernising.
Other approved changes by the council encompass a plan to reduce the number of paramilitary personnel in southern border areas by 1,656. Regarding recruitment, the number of annual recruits required has decreased to around 90,000 from the previous 100,000. Colonel Jittanat mentioned that approximately 35,000 individuals enlist voluntarily each year.
This indicates that the armed forces will likely transition smoothly from forced conscription to voluntary enlistment, the source said.
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