Reshuffle grooms potential army chief

Reshuffle grooms potential army chief

From left: Narongpan: May succeed Apirat; Chalermpol: Set to be defence chief
From left: Narongpan: May succeed Apirat; Chalermpol: Set to be defence chief

This year's major military reshuffle is expected to be finalised on Friday, with a potential successor to the army chief set for promotion, according to a source in the army.

Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is meeting the deputy defence minister, defence permanent secretary, supreme commander and armed forces leaders to discuss the reshuffle lists for the last time before they are presented to Gen Prayut for approval.

The source said army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong has nominated 1st Army Region commander Lt Gen Narongpan Jitkaewthae as assistant army chief, with a promotion to full general.

Lt Gen Narongpan may be being groomed to succeed Gen Apirat, who is due to retire in October next year. Earmarked as a likely replacement for Lt Gen Narongpan is Lt Gen Thammanoon Withee, currently chief of the 1st Army Corps.

The source also said Gen Apirat has recommended the promotion of Gen Chalermpol Srisawat, an army specialist, to chief-of-staff at the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.

The promotion means that Gen Chalermpol could be well on his way to serve as Chief of Defence Forces in next year's reshuffle, succeeding the incumbent Pornpipat Benyasri, said the source.

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