The Irrawaddy

Defense Council, Not President, to Decide Military Chief’s Retirement Age

NAYPYITAW — While the president has the authority to appoint the commander-in-chief of the Defense Services, determining his retirement age is the task of the 11-member National Defense and Security Council (NDSC), a senior civil servant said on Thursday.

In response to The Irrawaddy’s questions about the age at which Myanmar Army chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, 61, will retire, Union Civil Service Board (UCSB) spokesperson U Saw Valentines said his agency had no authority to set the retirement age of the army chief, adding that the NDSC is ultimately responsible for this according to the 2008 Constitution.

U Saw Valentines made the comments at a UCSB press conference in Naypyitaw.

Under the law, the retirement age for most civil servants is 60, but this provision does not apply to Defense Services personnel, he said. Constitutionally, the president shall appoint the military chief based on the proposal and approval of the NDSC, he said.

“We don’t have authority to decide the retirement age for the commander-in-chief of Defense Services. But as far as I know, according to the 2008 Constitution, the president can appoint him with the proposal and approval of the NDSC,” said U Saw Valentines.

The 11-member NDSC consists of the president, the two vice presidents, the speakers of the two houses of Parliament, the army chief, the deputy army chief, the foreign affairs minister, the border affairs minister, the home affairs minister, and the defense minister.

Chief of General Staff (Army, Navy and Air) General Mya Tun Oo said in July 2016 that the retirement age for both the army chief and deputy army chief is set at 65.

Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing was born on July 19, 1956. He was appointed commander-in-chief when president U Thein Sein’s government was sworn into office in 2011 and was promoted to the rank of senior-general in March 2013.

Article 291 of the 2008 Constitution stipulates that relevant military laws shall be applied to military personnel because the nature of military service differs from that of the civil services.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.