Military chief of staff Gen Chalermpol Srisawasdi is likely to emerge as the new defence forces chief, otherwise known as the Supreme Commander after it was reported that all military reshuffle proposals had been submitted to the Defence Ministry unopposed.
Narongphan: Tipped to become new army chief
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also defence minister, previously called a meeting for today with leaders of the armed forces, the permanent secretary for defence and his deputy to finalise the selection of new military chiefs, a source said.
The current defence forces chief, Gen Pornpipat Benyasri is retiring at the end of next month and the source said he proposed Gen Chalermpol as his replacement. Gen Chalermpol is a so-called red-rim soldier, or someone who was specially trained as a Royal Guard.
Those who pass the elite soldier training are given a T-shirt with a red rim to signify their completion of the programme.
Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong proposed Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae, his assistant and successor, said the source, adding Gen Narongphan was also a red-rim soldier.
Despite Gen Prayut's push to make deputy army chief Gen Natthapon Nakpanich either the new defence forces chief or the new army chief, the source said that red-rim soldiers had eventually prevailed in the preliminary selection process, which concluded on Aug 12.
The source said Gen Chalermpol and Gen Narongphan served in a special task force under Royal Guards 904 and have three years left before they retire from duty.
Due to their would-be appointments, Gen Natthapon is expected to be the new secretary-general of the National Security Council, replacing Gen Somsak Roongsita who retires next month. Retiring navy chief Adm Luechai Ruddit has nominated assistant navy chief Chartchai Sriworakhan to succeed him, said the source.
Air force commander ACM Maanat Wongwat is also said to have nominated his assistant, ACM Tharin Punnasri, to become the new air force chief.