Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters

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Emblem of the Royal Thai Armed Forces HQ.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters (Thai: กองบัญชาการกองทัพไทย) or the RTARF HQ, is the joint headquarters of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, which is made up of the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force. Formerly the Supreme Command Headquarters (Thai: กองบัญชาการทหารสูงสุด), the name was changed in February 2008 to the "Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters". The Headquarters is divided into two branches: the "Command Group" and the "Joint Group". The Headquarters is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces (Thai: ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด), currently General Worapong Sanganetra of the Royal Thai Army. The Chief is supported by several departments and directorates, including four Deputy Chiefs. The Headquarters is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand and the Defense Minister.


The headquarters is the supreme commander of the armed forces and therefore at the apex of the military in Thailand. The headquarters is charged with the command and execution of military operations in wartime. In peacetime, it is charged with maintaining military readiness in case of attack. The headquarters is also in charge of the security of the Royal Family and the king. In addition to the command of the armed forces during times of war, the headquarters also commands Thai forces overseas in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance operations.[1]

The headquarters includes all three branches of the Thai military:


Temporary command[edit]

The Supreme Command Headquarters of the Royal Thai Armed Forces was originally a temporary position that had only been called into existence twice: Once, during the Franco–Thai War in 1940 and again during the Greater East Asia War (Second World War: Pacific Theatre). During both of these conflicts, the Headquarters was commanded by Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram, the Prime Minister of Thailand and creator of the Supreme Command system. Temporary personnel were called from their existing units and released after conflict subsided in 1945.

Permanent Command[edit]

On September 27, 1957, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Head and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (Thai: จอมทัพไทย), appointed Field Marshal Sarit Dhanarajata to the position of "Supreme Commander". The Defense Staff Department was also created to serve as the commander's administrative office. Field Marshal Sarit became Prime Minister in 1959 and subsequently relinquished command of the Supreme Command Headquarters on his deathbed in 1963. He was succeeded by Thanom Kittikachorn.

During the 1960s, the Government saw the establishment of the permanent Supreme Command Headquarters as a necessity for the preparation of military forces and national defense. On March 16, 1960, the passage of the "Organization of Ministry of Defense Act of 1960" upgraded the Defense Staff Department to Supreme Command Headquarters.

This action originally created four groups of agencies within the Supreme Command Headquarters: Staff, Special Services, Combat Support, and Education. The Supreme Command Headquarters is currently organized into five groups: the Command Group, the Joint Staff Group, the Operations Group, the Special Services Group, and the Education Group.

The Supreme Command Headquarters also has operational control of the Border Patrol Police.


On February 2, 2008, the "Supreme Command Headquarters" became the "Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters" under the "Organization of Ministry of Defense Act, 2008". The position of Supreme Commander became the Chief of Defense Forces.[2]

List of Commanders[edit]


The RTARF HQ comprises five groups:[3]

Command Group[edit]

  • Office of the Chief of Defense Forces
  • Headquarters Company
  • Office of the Chief of Defense Forces' Secretary
  • Offices of Inspector General
  • Audit Office
  • Royalty Security Command
  • Medical Office
  • Department of Border Affairs
  • Counter Terrorist Operations Center

Joint Staff Group[edit]

  • Directorate of Joint Personnel
  • Directorate of Joint Intelligence
  • Directorate of Joint Operations
  • Directorate of Joint Logistics
  • Directorate of Joint Civil Affairs
  • Directorate of Joint Communications
  • Office of the Comptroller General

Operations Group[edit]

  • Armed Forces Development Command
  • Armed Forces Security Center

Special Services Group[edit]

  • Adjutant General’s Department
  • Finance Department
  • Royal Thai Survey Department
  • Support Service Department
  • Military Information Technology Department

Education Group[edit]


Chiefs of Defense Forces[edit]

The "Chief of Defense Forces" (Thai: ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด) and the Deputy Chiefs of Defense Forces (Thai: รองผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด) are responsible for the command and execution of military operations of the armed forces of Thailand.[4]

Office Name Branch
Chief of the Defense Forces General Sommai Kaotira Royal Thai Army
Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces 1 General Wichien Sirisoonthorn Royal Thai Army
Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces 2 Admiral Prasarn Sukasetara Royal Thai Navy
Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces 3 Air Chief Marshal Taworn Maneepluek Royal Thai Air Force
Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces 4 General Prasooth Rusmepate Royal Thai Army
Chief of Joint Staff General Surapong Suwana-adth Royal Thai Army

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]