Cabinet backs plan to slim down the armed forces
The government on Tuesday gave the Defence Ministry the green light to cut down the size of the armed forces under a five-year plan.
- Published: 24/09/2013 at 05:27 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The plan involves a new early retirement scheme for soldiers, which will cost the government 4.7 billion baht over a five-year period starting from this October.
Cabinet approval for the plan comes as the present scheme, which started five years ago, expires at the end of this month.
The new scheme gives high-ranking and ageing officers an opportunity to end their service with a golden handshake, government deputy spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said after the cabinet meeting.
The scheme will allow 5,901 soldiers to take early retirement over the next five years, on the condition that they are aged 49 or older, or have been in service for at least 25 years.
Rewards offered as part of the scheme include ranking promotion plus financial benefits not 15 times higher than their salary, Lt Sunisa said.
Encouraging soldiers to retire early is part of the ministry's attempts to cut the number of soldiers under its military reform plan.
The Army employs the largest number of personnel of all the armed forces, with 260,000 soldiers. The Navy and Air Force have about 60,000 troops each.
The ministry wants to reduce the number of soldiers aged 50 or above in the forces, from 26.6% of total staff members at present, to 20%.
In total, 36% of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for the Defence Ministry workforce are aged 50 or older, with 35% in the Office of the Defence Minister. The Air Force follows with 28% of staff over the age 50, the Navy with 27%, the Royal Aide-De-Camp Department with 25%, the Supreme Command with 25% and the Army with 22%.
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- Writer: Wassana Nanuam and Pradit Ruangdith