The Myanmar Army (Burmese: တပ်မတော်(ကြည်း)), ) is the land component of the Military of Myanmar, Myanmar Armed Forces. The Myanmar Army is the largest branch of the Armed Forces of Myanmar and has the primary responsibility of conducting land-based military operations. The Myanmar Army maintains the second largest active force in Southeast Asia after Vietnam's Vietnam People's Army.
The Myanmar Army had a troop strength of around 350,000 As of 2006. Myanmar Army had around 500,000 soldiers in 2012. The army has extensive combat experience in fighting insurgents in rough terrains, considering it has been conducting non-stop counter-insurgency operations against ethnic and political insurgents since its inception in 1948.
The force is headed by the Commander in Chief (Army) (ကာကွယ်ရေးဦးစီးချုပ်(ကြည်း)), currently General Soe Win with Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as the Commander in Chief (တပ်မတော်ကာကွယ်ရေးဦးစီးချုပ်). The highest rank in the Myanmar Army was Senior General, equivalent to Field Marshal position in Western Armies and was held by Senior General Than Shwe who retired his role since the establishment of the constitution of Republic of Union of Myanmar 2010.
In 2011, following transition from military junta government to civilian parliamentary government, the Myanmar Army enacted a military draft for all citizens, all males from the age 18 to 35 and all females age between 18 and 27 years of age can be drafted into military service for two years as enlisted personal in time of national emergency. The ages for professionals are up to 45 for men and 35 for women for three years service as commissioned and non commissioned officers.
An official publication has revealed that almost one-quarter of Myanmar's new national budget will be allocated to defense. The Government Gazette reports that 1.8 trillion kyat (about $2 billion at free market rates of exchange), or 23.6 percent of the 2011 budget will go to defense.
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“A poor widow, by the name of Baird, has a son in the Army that for some offence has been sentenced to serve a long time without pay, or at most, with very little pay. I do not like this punishment of withholding payit falls so very hard upon poor families.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)