(Tatmadaw Kyi)
   The largest of the Tatmadaw's three services. Its commander in chief is a full general (in 2005, General Maung Aye, who also serves as vice chairman of the State Peace and Development Council). Since 1988, when its personnel numbered approximately 170,000 and its order of battle included weapon systems dating back to World War II, the Army has experienced a dramatic expansion in terms of men and women under arms (an estimated 400,000 by the end of the 1990s) and equipment, mostly imported from the People's Republic of China, Singapore, and Pakistan. In 2000, the Army contained 437 infantry battalions (including 266 light infantry battalions, which serve as a mobile force) and an enhanced number of armored, artillery, engineer, signal, military intelligence, transport, and medical units using modern, though not state-of-the-art, equipment.
   Although the Army is far better funded and equipped than before 1988, harsh command practices (which some observers suggest were inherited from the Japanese Imperial Army), poor training, inadequate logistics (in some areas, Army units must grow their own crops or confiscate them from local, usually ethnic minority, residents), and the forceful recruitment of child soldiers has severely damaged morale. Moreover, officers, who before 1988 cultivated close ties with their men in combat against ethnic and communist insurgents, now devote themselves to making money through graft and control of military-owned enterprises. Nevertheless, the Army has evolved into one of the most formidable land forces in Southeast Asia, with enhanced "force projection" not only internally, but also along the borders with Thailand, Bangladesh, and India.
   See also Tatmadaw, History of.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.


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