We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Building the Tatmadaw

Myanmar Armed Forces Since 1948

Maung Aung Myoe

Publication Year: 2009

Ever since Myanmar regained her independence in January 1948, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) has been crucial in restoring and maintaining law and order. It is one of the most important institutions in Myanmar politics. Various aspects of the Tatmadaw have been studied. The most notable area of study has been the political role of the military. This study looks at the organizational development of the Myanmar armed forces. It analyses four different aspects of the Tatmadaw: military doctrine and strategy, organization and force structure, armament and force modernization, and military training and officer education. It sets out security perceptions and policies, charting developments in each phase against the situation at the time, and also notes the contributions of the leading actors in the process. Since early 1990s, the Tatmadaw has implemented a force modernization programme. This work studies rationales and strategy behind the force modernization programme and examines the military capabilities of the Tatmadaw. Drawing extensively from archival sources and existing literature, this empirically grounded research argues that, while the internal armed security threat to the state continues to play an important role, it is the external security threat that gives more weight to the expansion and modernization of the Tatmadaw since 1988. It also argues that, despite its imperfections, the Tatmadaw has transformed from a force essentially for counter-insurgency operations into a force capable of fighting in limited conventional warfare.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute


pdf iconDownload PDF

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. vii

List of Tables

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. viii-ix

List of Figures

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. xi

A number of people in Myanmar, Australia, and Singapore have made it possible for me to produce this book. In Myanmar, first and foremost, I am indebted to the many people who provided me with sources, gave me advice, and granted me interviews. Without their kindness, support, and encouragement, this work could not have been accomplished. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xii-xiv

read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-15

Ever since Myanmar regained its independence in January 1948, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) has been crucial in restoring and maintaining law and order. It is one of the most important institutions in Myanmar politics. During the civil war of late 1940s and early 1950s, the Tatmadaw suppressed both communist and separatist insurgencies, ...

read more

2. Military Doctrine and Strategy

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 16-46

This chapter primarily discusses the historical development of the military doctrine and strategy of the Tatmadaw since Myanmar’s independence in 1948. It sets out both security perceptions and policies, charting developments in each against the situation at the time, and also notes the contributions of the leading actors in each period. ...

read more

3. Organization and Force Structure

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 47-104

This chapter discusses how a weak, small, and disunited Tatmadaw in Myanmar has emerged into a considerably strong, large, and more or less united one, with a dominant role in Myanmar politics. In the process of building a strong and united Tatmadaw, any split along the lines of racial background, organizational origin, and political affiliation was resolved; ...

read more

4. Armament and Force Modernization

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 105-134

Before 1988, the Tatmadaw had been poorly equipped and modestly maintained and its weapons were of World War II vantage. Most of the Tatmadaw’s major arms procurements, including aircraft and surface ships, were made in the 1950s and early 1960s. ...

read more

5. Military Training and Officer Education

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 135-162

Military training in Myanmar is the second task of the Tatmadaw, the first being combat duty and the third being public works. Training is the most important business of the Tatmadaw in peacetime and can take many forms. Military training is the key to achieving combat readiness. ...

read more

6. Financing Force Modernization and Troops Welfare

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 163-192

Although the national budget and government expenditure have never been a secret in Myanmar, any attempt to calculate Myanmar defence expenditure is fraught with peril. This is particularly true since 1988. The published figures are unreliable. Besides, there are several other factors that should be considered in calculating Myanmar defence expenditure. ...

read more

7. Conlusion

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 193-208

Building the Tatmadaw since 1948 has been a challenge. It has gone through various phases of development. In July 1947, Bogyoke Aung San, father of the present day Tatmadaw, expressed his view on the future of Myanmar’s national defence and the armed forces in the following terms: ...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 209-239


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 240-246


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 247-254

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. 255

Maung Aung Myoe received his B.A in International Relations from University of Mandalay and M.A in the same discipline from International University of Japan, and Ph.D in Political Science and International Relations from Australian National University. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9789812308498
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812308481

Page Count: 255
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 646982949
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Building the Tatmadaw

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Burma. Tapʻ ma toʻ.
  • Burma -- Armed Forces -- History.
  • Burma -- Armed Forces -- Political activity.
  • Burma -- Military policy.
  • Burma -- Politics and government -- 1948-.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access