Oct 1 promises to be a little like New Year's Day for the Royal Thai Armed Forces. The annual retirements and shuffling of positions are now a tradition. This year's long list of promotions and assignments is somewhat of a present for the men in green. Every service has been awarded more money to build its stocks of new weapons and fortify its bases. And for the men at the top, there are 215 slots for new generals.
The number of promotions to general status this year is apparently a record. No one can remember a year when there were more. The army chief, Prayuth Chan-ocha, pointed out that many generals have reached the mandatory retirement age of 60, and have to be replaced. But Gen Prayuth and other top military men have not yet provided the details of exactly how many generals are retiring. In any case, the retirees are those at the top _ three- and four-star rank for the most part. Those being promoted are at the bottom of the ladder, and will wear two stars.
It is widely believed that the possible record of promotions was a specific aim of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. She appointed herself as defence minister in the last major cabinet reshuffle. It is rare for a civilian to serve as defence minister _ Chuan Leekpai, then premier, was the first _ and it is unprecedented for a woman to hold the post, let alone a woman with no previous ties to the armed forces.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.