Military Wiki
Chief of Defence Forces
Thai language: ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด
Flag Thai Chief of the Defence Forces.svg
Flag of the Chief of Defence Forces
Pornpipat Benyasri 2018 (cropped).jpg
General Pornpipat Benyasri

since 1 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Member of RTARF HQ
Reports to Minister of Defence
Seat Lak Si, Bangkok
Nominator Minister of Defence
Appointer King of Thailand
Formation 13 November 1940
First holder Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Website Official website

The Chief of Defence Forces, previously known as the Supreme Commander, (Thai language: ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด) is the overall field commander of Royal Thai Armed Forces. He is also in charge of managing the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters (abbreviated as the RTARF HQ). Prior to 1960 the post was an ad hoc creation by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, during World War II. However, under Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat the position became permanent, and in its early life was even combined with the post of Prime Minister of Thailand. In February 2008 the English name of the post was changed from Supreme Commander to Chief of Defence Forces with the reorganization of the Supreme Command Headquarters into the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters (though the Thai term remained the same). It is customary to appoint the chief of defence to four-star rank in all three branches in the Armed Forces. The current commander is General Pornpipat Benyasri since October 2018. Not to be confused with the ceremonial Head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces who is the constitutional Head of State and Monarch of Thailand. Since the Chief of Defence Forces of Thailand acts more like a coordinator between three military branches and he commands smaller military force than the Army, the Navy, of the Air Force has, the position is usually reserved for Thai army generals who does not be appointed as the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army.

List of Chiefs[]

Supreme Commanders (1941−2008)[]

Supreme Commander Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
Temporary command during the Franco-Thai War
Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Phibunsongkhram, PlaekField Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram
13 November 194030 April 1941168 days Thailand Army
Temporary command during the Pacific War
Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Phibunsongkhram, PlaekField Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram
12 November 194124 November 19432 years, 12 days Thailand Army
Permanent command
Sarit Thanarat
Thanarat, SaritField Marshal Sarit Thanarat
27 September 19578 December 1963 †6 years, 72 days Thailand Army
Thanom Kittikachorn
Kittikachorn, ThanomField Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn
11 December 196330 September 19739 years, 293 days Thailand Army
Dawee Chullasapya
Chullasapya, DaweeAir Chief Marshal Dawee Chullasapya
1 October 197330 September 1974364 days Royal Thai Air Force
Kris Sivara
Sivara, KrisGeneral Kris Sivara
1 October 197430 September 1975364 days Thailand Army
Sangad Chaloryu
Chaloryu, SangadAdmiral Sangad Chaloryu
1 October 197530 September 1976365 days Royal Thai Navy
Kamon Dachatungkha
Dachatungkha, KamonAir Chief Marshal Kamon Dachatungkha1 October 197630 September 1977364 days Royal Thai Air Force
Kriangsak Chamanan
Chamanan, KriangsakGeneral Kriangsak Chamanan
1 October 197730 September 1978364 days Thailand Army
Serm Na Nagara
Na Nagara, SermGeneral Serm Na Nagara1 October 197930 September 19811 year, 364 days Thailand Army
Saiyud Kerdphol
Kerdphol, SaiyudGeneral Saiyud Kerdphol1 October 198130 September 19831 year, 364 days Thailand Army
Arthit Kamlang-ek
Kamlang-ek, ArthitGeneral Arthit Kamlang-ek
1 October 198331 August 19862 years, 334 days Thailand Army
Supa Gajaseni
Gajaseni, SupaAdmiral Supa Gajaseni1 September 198630 September 19871 year, 29 days Royal Thai Navy
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
Yongchaiyudh, ChavalitGeneral Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
(born 1932)
1 October 198731 March 19902 years, 181 days Thailand Army
Sunthorn Kongsompong
Kongsompong, SunthornGeneral Sunthorn Kongsompong
1 April 199030 September 19911 year, 182 days Thailand Army
15Kraprayoon, SuchindaGeneral Suchinda Kraprayoon
(born 1933)
1 October 19914 April 1992186 days Thailand Army
Kaset Rojananil
Rojananil, KasetAir Chief Marshal Kaset Rojananil
(born 1933)
6 April 199231 July 1992116 days Royal Thai Air Force
Voranat Aphichari
Aphichari, VoranatAir Chief Marshal Voranat Aphichari1 August 199230 September 19942 years, 60 days Royal Thai Air Force
Watanachai Wootisiri
Wootisiri, WatanachaiGeneral Watanachai Wootisiri1 October 199430 September 1995364 days Thailand Army
Viroj Sangsanit
Sangsanit, VirojGeneral Viroj Sangsanit1 October 199530 September 1996365 days Thailand Army
20Amphornpisit, MongkonGeneral Mongkon Amphornpisit1 October 199630 September 20003 years, 365 days Thailand Army
Somphao Chusri
Chusri, SomphaoGeneral Somphao Chusri1 October 200030 September 2001364 days Thailand Army
Narong Yuthavong
Yuthavong, NarongAdmiral Narong Yuthavong1 October 200130 September 2002364 days Royal Thai Navy
Surayud Chulanont
Chulanont, SurayudGeneral Surayud Chulanont
(born 1943)
1 October 200230 September 2003364 days Thailand Army
Somtat Attanand
Attanand, SomtatGeneral Somtat Attanand1 October 200330 September 2004365 days Thailand Army
Chaiyasit Shinawatra
Shinawatra, ChaiyasitGeneral Chaiyasit Shinawatra
(born 1945)
1 October 200430 September 2005364 days Thailand Army
Ruangroj Mahasaranon
Mahasaranon, RuangrojGeneral Ruangroj Mahasaranon
(born 1946)
1 October 200530 September 2006364 days Thailand Army
th (Boonsrang Niumpradit)
Niumpradit, BoonsrangGeneral th (Boonsrang Niumpradit)
(born 1948)
1 October 200630 September 20081 year, 365 days Thailand Army

Chiefs of Defence Forces (2008−present)[]

Chief of Defence Forces Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
Songkitti Jaggabatara
Jaggabatara, SongkittiGeneral Songkitti Jaggabatara
(born 1950)
1 October 200830 September 20112 years, 364 days Thailand Army
Thanasak Patimaprakorn
Patimaprakorn, ThanasakGeneral Thanasak Patimaprakorn
(born 1953)
1 October 201130 September 20142 years, 364 days Thailand Army
th (Worapong Sanganetra)
Sanganetra, WorapongGeneral th (Worapong Sanganetra)
(born 1955)
1 October 201430 September 2015364 days Thailand Army
th (Sommai Kaotira)
Kaotira, SommaiGeneral th (Sommai Kaotira)
(born 1956)
1 October 201530 September 2016365 days Thailand Army
th (Surapong Suwan-ath)
Suwan-ath, SurapongGeneral th (Surapong Suwan-ath)
(born 1956)
1 October 201630 September 2017365 days Thailand Army
Thanchaiyan Srisuwan
Srisuwan, ThanchaiyanGeneral Thanchaiyan Srisuwan
(born 1958)
1 October 201730 September 2018364 days Thailand Army
th (Pornpipat Benyasri)
Benyasri, PornpipatGeneral th (Pornpipat Benyasri)
(born 1960)
1 October 2018Incumbent3 years, 16 days Thailand Army

See also[]


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