The Royal Thai Army


The long and glorious history of the Kingdom of Thailand is a direct reflection of an important role of the Royal Thai Army as the national main forces to protect the Kingdom’s independence, sovereignty and interests. The country must have a strong military force not only as a guarantor of the nation’s sovereignty and interests, but also as a power to support and promote the nation’s international commitment.

The Kingdom of Thailand’s Constitution, Chapter 5 Section 72, prescribes that “ The Kingdom must maintain its military power to protect the Kingdom’s independence and security, the monarchy, national interests, and the constitution democracy with His Majesty the King as the Head of State, and for the development of the country ”. Most Importantly, The Royal Thai Army has been graciously given the missions directly by His Majesty the King to protect the Kingdom, develop the country and assisting the people.

As a result, The Royal Thai Army, as one of the main components of the kingdom’s military power, needs to have adequate forces with sustainable capabilities to confront all levels of threats and conflicts, both at present and in the future.

The Royal Thai Army, under the command of the Commander – in – Chief, is an organic unit of the Supreme Command, Ministry of Defense. It has two specific missions: to prepare land forces during peacetime and to defend the Kingdom against any threats that may occur.

In preparation of land forces, the Royal Thai Army has continuously prepared its forces to be ready to provide land support and assistance to other units during peacetime.  These forces are ready to confront any internal and external threats that may occur.  The force preparation is focused on four main areas of development; namely, force structure, combat readiness, sustainability and modernization.

Force structure:  The Royal Thai Army is organized into seven components, which are Command Component, Combat Component, Combat Support Component, Logistics Component, Regional Component, Education and Training Component, and National Development Component.   The Royal Thai Army is currently under the long-term plan of force reorganization and development, with the aim to improve its force structure to become a compact and efficient fighting army.

Combat readiness:  The readiness of combat forces is another extremely important factor of the army development, especially in areas of personnel, equipment, training and planning.

Personnel:  The Royal Thai Army considers its personnel as the most important factor in the force development, especially in the present and future situation where the army still has its main role in protection the Nation’s sovereignty and an increasing role in military operations other than war.  The army personnel must be prepared to perform both as a single service and in the form of joint and/or combined operations.  The personnel management system of the Royal Thai Army will provide an efficient process of personnel selection and development.  The emphasis is also put on personnel health and welfare so they can maintain their living status in society with pride and dignity.

Equipment: With limited defense budget for new equipment, The Royal Thai Army has been focusing on enhancing capabilities of its existing equipment and to prolong their life cycle.  However, some new advanced and high technology equipment is being procured both internationally and domestically of by self-production according to the Self – Reliance Policy.

Training:  The Royal Thai Army considers training in peacetime to be its first priority.  Commanders at all levels must pay close attention to the training of their respective units.  Throughout the year, soldiers are trained under a rigorous system to develop initially their individual skills and then their performance as members of a unit.  Additional training with other armed forces and forces from different countries is also conducted to enhance their capabilities in joint and combined operations to be on par with the international standards.

Education:  The Royal Thai Army education policy is in accordance with the National Economic and Social Development Plan, which emphasizes the quality and capability of personnel development at all levels, so they can effectively perform their assigned missions at both tactical and strategic levels.  Personnel are encouraged to seek additional education in areas other than military, and to further their education abroad to expand their experience base from which they may draw upon to develop and modernize the army.

Planning   :    The Royal Thai Army has designated all of its units to prepare operation plans, contingency plans and unit rules and regulations plans.  These plans must be continuously practice and keep up to date ready to be use in any given situations.

In summary, combat readiness, as one of the most significant aspects in preparing the land forces, mainly concerns force development in personnel, equipment, training and planning.  The Royal Thai Army will pursue all available approaches and means in force development to compensate our limited budgets due to the current economic constraint.

Sustainability:  The Royal Thai Army prepares its forces during peacetime to enhance the capabilities in sustaining combats and win in all undesirable situations.  This is accomplished by means of doing better in logistics and mobilization.  Additionally, Improvement of the reserve system has enabled the Royal Thai Army to increase its personnel efficiency.

Modernization:  Another important aspect of the army’s development is force modernization.   The RTA has initiated various research and development programs in military principles, doctrine, and equipment to modernize its land force. One especially important program is an on-going effort to incorporate information technology into the Command and Control System and the logistics system.  This program is in accordance with the government’s policy of moving the army into an “Electronics Army” or “E – Army”. This will enable staff officers and commanders to have a cleared, more current on which to base their recommendations and decisions in real time.

In addition to preparing the land forces as mentioned above, the Royal Thai Army is also responsible for defending the Kingdom as well as protection the national interests.  The army’s defense strategy is based on flexibility.  The force must have capabilities to adapt to different environments and to cooperate with other Royal Thai Armed Forces, other governmental agencies, and its allied forces.

The Royal Thai Army has four main missions:  to defend the country, to conduct internal security operation, to maintain internal law and order, to support national development, and to assist the Thai people.

Defending the country:  At present, situation along the border areas is relatively stable and under control.  However, there are some problems that are threats to national security such as, border intrusion, illegal immigrants, trafficking of illegal substances, armed bandits, and mines left from previous wars.  The Royal Thai Army handles these problems by establishing task forces comprising of regular forces and other types of forces to maintain stability and security along the borders. Additionally, the Royal Thai Army has devised several plans to confront any threats that may occur.

Internal security operations :  The Royal Thai Army, through the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC), it acting as a central coordinating agency for cooperation of all concerned government organizations, such as the police forces and other civil authorities, responsible for implementing national security policy.  Internal security operations are concentrated on following areas: the border areas, the remote areas, and the special areas with serious security problems where other governmental sectors have limitation to conduct.      The ISOC’s task is to support the establishment of community order and defense along the borders, the prevention of illegal trafficking of human and other substances and especially the launch of offensive operations to tackle the problems of unrests in the southern border provinces.

Maintenance of internal law and order: When ordered by the government, the Royal Thai Army has the responsibility to assist and support civil authorities in controlling and suppressing any violent situation to prevent it from escalation.  Additionally, the Royal Thai Army has prepared a special operations unit ready to support the government in anti-terrorism operations.

National development: The Royal Thai Army, together with other agencies, has continuously been engaging in national development with the emphasis on the Royal Initiated Projects, the Economy and well – being Improvement Project.  At present, the army is responsible for operations of 112 Royal Initiated Projects, 564 villages of the Self – Defense Project of the Border Settlement, and providing assistance to other government agencies in various development projects.   For instance, to support the Human Resource Development Project, the Royal Thai Army has trained more than 100,000 persons each year from various educational institutions and government agencies to be a higher quality citizen that will benefit to the security of the Kingdom.

Apart from the four stated missions, the Royal Thai Army’s role in military operations other than war has been increased and definitely will be prominent in the future.  These non-traditional missions include assistance in natural and public disaster, narcotics suppression, prevention and treatment, protection of the environment and natural resources, psychological and public relation operations, participation in social, cultural and sport activities, educating the new generation and instilling in them the sense of patriotism.  Other international missions include humanitarian efforts, the United Nation’s Peace Operations, and defense diplomacy by posting army attaches in foreign countries to strengthen and enhance friendship and cooperation.

At present, the Royal Thai Army is trying to adapt itself to the ever-changing threats that have negative impacts on the national security.  These threats are more complex and difficult to predict.  Moreover, the development of the Royal Thai Army must be in accordance with the nation’s economy. In this regard, to overcome the most challenging obstacle that the Royal Thai Army is facing today, it must be able to adapt and prepare itself for the new forms of threats.

The Royal Thai Army, under the leadership of the present Commander-in-Chief, is determined to fulfill its stated mission to the best of its abilities to uphold the national integrity, the religions, the royal institution and the constitutional monarchy with His Majesty the King as the Head of State.  We will not waver in our endeavor to fulfill the expectations, trust, and faith that the Thai People have entrusted on us throughout history.





The RTA is an organic unit of the Royal Thai Supreme Command Headquarters. Commanded by the Commander-in-Chief, the RTA is obliged to two primary missions: preparing land forces and employing the prepared forces to defend the nation. Land Forces Preparation The RTA has continuously prepared its forces to stand ready to confront both internal and …

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