Far too few conscripts are staying on in the military this year, according to the army.
Of the 42,000 conscripts due to be discharged at the end of this month, only 5,460 have signed up to remain in the military for another year, army chief Apirat Kongsompong was told at the meeting of the army operations centre on Thursday.
"The commander-in-chief said the number of those remaining accounts for only 13%."
Gen Apirat has instructed the Army Training Command to look at creating incentives to keep more conscripts in military service.
The incentives, however, must be introduced quickly since the deadline for discharge is fast approaching, he said.
A source said the army could suffer a manpower problem after Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier issued an order deferring the annual conscription period from April 1-11 to July 26-Aug 23.
The deferral means no new conscripts will be recruited and sent to camp at the start of next month while there are not enough incumbents who have agreed to stay on for another year to fill the vacancies, according to the source.