Ministry of Defense

Ministry of Defence

Background History of Ministry of Defence

      "Government of Burma Act, 1935” was enacted on 2nd. August 1935 by the British government, until which it was administered as a state of India, consequently followed by official separation of Burma from India and became a separate colony within the British Empire on 1st. April, 1937. Since then Government of Burma was organized independently.

      During the period leading to separation of Burma from provinces of India, "Restructuring Department" was founded around 1930s to maintain the momentum of administrative proceedings when separate "Government of Burma" was established later. One of the important tasks of that department was to draw a plan in order to establish an armed forces and long-term defence of Burma after its separation from India.

      When "Government of Burma" was established after separating it from India, the aforementioned "Restructuring Department" was reorganized as "Department of Defence". "Secretary of Restructuring" was also re-appointed as "Secretary of Defence". Hence, Department of Defence, Government of Burma was established on 1st. April, 1937 at “Office of the Secretariat “in Rangoon.

      Although Burmese nationals were appointed as ministers in other departments, the Governor himself managed the defence department with the assistance of counsellors, not exceeding three in number, according to Article 7(2) of the Burma Act. Though it was named " Department of Defence ", it discharged administration of defence, ecclesiastical affairs, Territories of Shan States Saophas, Arakan Hill Tracts, Chin Hills, Kachin Hills, the Somra Tract, Triangle region, Hukaung Valley region lying to the north of the Upper Chindwin District, the Salween region, administration of other undeveloped tribal areas, monetary policy, currency and coinage, plus relations with remote areas in Burma not under control of the government. Functions with respect to external affairs, relationship with all other countries within the British empire and with other independent countries across the world, were to be under the direct control of His Majesty's government, i.e., which means the British Governor in Burma.

      By the time Burma Defence Department was inaugurated on 1st. April, 1937, Burma Army comprised 4 Burma Rifle Regiments 1 unit of Officer Auxiliary Corps, 8 battalions of Burma Territorial Forces, 3 battalions of Burma Military Police Forces, 5 battalions of Burma Frontier Forces with battalions in the Northern and Southern Shan States, the Chin Hills, Bhamo and Myitkyina and some garrison troops. Minorities from hill tracts, excluding Burmese, were recruited as warrant officers and privates in Burma Rifle Regiments. By 1940, Sir Joseph Adolphus Maung Gyi, a Burmese national, was appointed as counsellor, and a policy was agreed to recruit ethnic Burmese, just a section strength, deliberately dispersed to serve in other regiments as a test. Around that period, however, the threat of Japan from the Far East was getting closer and closer. As a result, it was decided to expand the Burma Army urgently. Military police forces and territorial forces were transformed into army regiments in which members of the officer auxiliary corps were appointed as officers, and they took defensive action against the Imperial Japanese troops in Taninthari Division when the war actually reached Burma.

      Burma Volunteer Navy and Volunteer Air Force were formed in the same year in which a Burmese national was appointed as counsellor. At that time, there was no aircraft in the Volunteer Air Force, and only a few coast guard cutters in the Burma Volunteer Navy.

      When Burma Independence Army together with the Imperial Japanese Army stormed into Taninthari through Thailand, then "Department of Defence” in Rangoon and subordinate forces retreated to India via Maymyo on 21st. February, 1942. As each and every unit under the department was separated and dispersed, some officers and soldiers went along to India with the British and Indian troops and some went back to their native places.

      Then "Department of Defence” reorganized its office in Simla, India in the middle of June 1942. It recollected the dispersed infantry units to launch counter attacks in Burma. Officers and soldiers of Navy and Air Force were appointed at Royal Indian Navy (British) and British Royal Air Force respectively.

      British troops re-occupied Rangoon in March 1945 and governed by military rule for a while, making then “Department of Defence “to move back from Simla to Rangoon on 23rd. November, 1945.

     General Aung San became the first Burmese appointed as counsellor to the Governor at Defence Department on 28th September, 1946, as a result of political instability after re-conquest of Burma by the British. During his tenure as defence counsellor, plans were made by General Aung San to separate the foreign department.

      The Defence Department took full control of national defence and resumed a few remaining ecclesiastical affairs. When General Aung San was assassinated on 19th. July, 1947, Brigadier General Let Yar was appointed as counsellor to the Governor.

      On 15th. December, 1947, the Burma Volunteer Air Force was reorganized as Burma Air Force and the Burma Volunteer Navy as Burma Navy on 24th. December, 1947, respectively. The very first flagship of Burma Navy was UBS Mayu.

     The Government of Burma Act 1935 came to an end when the National Constitution was declared and enacted right after declaring independence by hoisting the national flag of Burma on 4th. January, 1948.

      Since then Department of Defence discharged affairs of national defence only. Burma Army, Burma Navy and Burma Air Force became distinguished with their own flags and emblems, each of which was manned by Burmese professionals in such a way that defence, development and prosperity were prioritized in a Burmese way. Burmese nationals had escaped from the burden of performing duties for interest of the British Government, and now could serve noble duties for safeguarding their own people and religion.

      Required laws for "Ministry of Defence" were being enacted at two parliaments by majority votes according to Burma Constitution. Critical matters were submitted for final decision to the government cabinet instead of the Governor only, which was the standard practice before independence.

      "Counsellor for Defence" was renamed as Minister for Defence for administering the War Office under which was Headquarters of the Army, Naval and Air Force Offices.

Locations of Minister’s Office, War Office

      On 8th. May, 1948, War Office was established by combining Burma Military Headquarters, Burma Navy Headquarters and Burma Air Force Headquarters. Bo Let Yar started discharging duties as minister. Minister’s Office and Permanent Secretary Office were moved into the compound of War Office at No.77, Signal Pagoda Road, Rangoon.

     Permanent Secretary Office of War Office remained as the "Secretariat of Defence Department of War Office" in 1952. The secretariat comprised 17 branches with 10 officers and 135 men, totalling 145, who served as office staff.

      The War Office was reorganized as Ministry of Defence on 1st. January, 1956. At that time, Minister for Defence was U Ba Swe. In that reorganized ministry, there were Office of Commander-in-Chief, Office of Adjutant General, Office of Quartermaster General, the Secretariat (Defence), Office of Appointment Secretary, Office of Military Inspectorate General, and Comptroller of Military accounts.

      During the period of Caretaker Government from September 1958 to March 1960, General Ne Win discharged responsibilities of Prime Minister and Minister for Defence concurrently. During the government led by Union Party, the winning party of the 1960 elections, Prime Minister U Nu also served as Minister for Defence as well.

       On 2nd March, 1962, Revolution Council Government led by General Ne Win came into power and he served as Commander-in-Chief and Minister for Defence concurrently.

     The Secretariat (Defence) was abolished in the afternoon of 15th. March, 1972 according to the Union of Burma Revolution Council Communique No. 97 of that date, and Minister’s Office, Ministry of Defence performed its duties with three branches.

      Minister’s Office was situated in Ministry of Defence Compound at No. 77, Signal Pagoda Road, Rangoon from 1948 to 22nd May, 1978. Then it was moved to former National Defence College building (now Yuzana Garden Hotel) at No. 44, Signal Pagoda Road, Mingalar Taungnyunt Township.

      In March 1995, it was moved to former Directorate of Resettlement building at No. 24, corner of Maw Kun Taik Street (formerly Stewart Street) and Min Kyaung Street ( formerley Lloyd street), and then on 18th. April, 2002, it was moved again to Nawaday Compound, Kabaraye Pagoda Road, Mayangone Township, Yangon.

      After that, it was moved to Office building No. 20, Nay Pyi Taw on 7th. February, 2006, and again to Office building No. 24 on 23rd. July, 2010.

Senior Officers who served as Commander-in-Chief as well as Minister for Defence

      There are 6 senior officers who concurrently served as Commander-in-Chief and Minister for Defence from General Ne Win to Senior General Than Shwe as follows:

No.

Name

Tenure

From

To

1.

General Ne Win

2-3-1962

20-4-1972

2.

General San Yu

21-4-1972

7-3-1974

3.

General Tin Oo

8-3-1974

6-3-1976

4.

General Thura Kyaw Htin

7-3-1976

27-7-1988

5.

Senior General Saw Maung

28-7-1988

19-3-1992

6.

Senior General Than Shwe

20-3-1992

29-3-2011

Set-up and Functions of Ministry of Defence

      The set-up of Ministry of Defence is different from other ministries. Other ministries exercise and administer directly to its subordinate departments, corporations and boards.

        However, Ministry of Defence is a unique one in combination with offices such as office of the Minister, Headquarters of Army, Navy, Air Force, offices of Adjutant and Quarter Master Generals, and directorates of respective arms and services corps. Furthermore command offices within the Ministry of Defence co-operate and co-ordinate with each other in discharging duties.

      In 2014, reorganization efforts were made to modify organizational structures of government administrative mechanism to keep up with current situation. As a result, the cabinet meeting of Union Government (17/2014) endorsed to adopt office of the permanent secretary for every ministry, and consequently the Ministry of Defence has been discharging its functions in accordance with the said organizational structure.

List of Successive Ministers for Defence

No.

Name

Tenure

From

To

1.

Bo Let Yar

1-8-1947

13-9-1948

2.

U Nu

14-9-1948

3-4-1949

3.

Major General Ne Win

4-4-1949

9-9-1950

4.

U Win

18-9-1950

15-3-1952

5.

U Ba Swe

16-3-1952

4-6-1958

6.

Bo Hmu Aung

9-6-1958

28-9-1958

7.

General Ne Win

29-9-1958

15-3-1960

8.

U Nu

16-3-1960

2-3-1962

9.

General Ne Win

3-3-1962

20-4-1972

10.

General San Yu

21-4-1972

7-3-1974

11.

General Tin Oo

8-3-1974

6-3-1976

12.

General Thura Kyaw Htin

7-3-1976

27-7-1988

13.

Senior General Saw Maung

28-7-1988

19-3-1992

14.

Senior General Than Shwe

20-3-1992

29-3-2011

15.

Lieutenant General Hla Min

30-3-2011

7-9-2012

16.

Lieutenant General Wai Lwin

8-9-2012

12-8-2015

17.

Lieutenant General Sein Win

25-8-2015

current

 

Website လိပ်စာ

www.mod.gov.mm

ရရှိနိုင်သော ဝန်ဆောင်မှုများ

၁။ ရေဒီယိုအစီအစဉ် ထုတ်လွှင့်ပေးခြင်း