Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services

The commander-in-chief of Defence Services (Burmese: တပ်မတော်ကာကွယ်ရေးဦးစီးချုပ်, romanizedTatmadaw Kakweyay Uzigyoke) is the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, the armed forces of Myanmar. Since a state of emergency was declared following the 2021 military coup d'état, the commander-in-chief has been the highest authority in the country, with plenary power delegated by the president and the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC). Even in peacetime, however, the Tatmadaw is an independent branch of government not directly under the command of the president, with the commander-in-chief answering only to the full NDSC chaired by the president.

Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services
Commander in Chief flag of Myanmar.svg
Flag of Commander-in-Chief
Min Aung Hlaing in April 2019 (cropped).jpg
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
since 30 March 2011
Ministry of Defence
StyleHis Excellency
Member ofNational Defence and Security Council (NDSC)
Reports toNDSC
SeatNaypyidaw, Myanmar
AppointerState President
First holderGeneral Aung San
Unofficial namesတပ်ချုပ်၊ကာချုပ်
DeputyDeputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services
WebsiteOfficial website

According to the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar, the commander-in-chief is appointed by the president upon nomination by the NDSC, chaired by the president; the commander-in-chief is also a member of the NDSC. Article 418 of the 2008 Constitution allows the commander-in-chief broad authority over the government if the president declares a state of emergency in coordination with the NDSC. This happened after the 2021 military coup d'état: military-installed Acting President Myint Swe declared a state of emergency and transferred power to Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, who then formed a military junta, the State Administration Council.[1][2][3]

The current commander-in-chief is Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, since 30 March 2011.[4]

List of commanders-in-chiefEdit

No. Portrait Commanders-in-Chief of Defence Services[5] Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
1San, AungMajor General
Aung San
194519 July 1947 †1–2 years 
Patriotic Burmese Forces
2Yar, LetBrigadier
Let Yar
19 July 19474 January 1948169 days 
Burma Army
3Dun, SmithLieutenant General
Smith Dun
4 January 194831 January 19491 year, 27 days 
Burma Army
4Win, NeGeneral
Ne Win
1 February 194920 April 197223 years, 79 days 
Burma Army
5Yu, SanGeneral
San Yu
20 April 19721 March 19741 year, 315 days 
Burma Army
6Oo, TinGeneral
Tin Oo
(born 1927)
1 March 19746 March 19762 years, 5 days 
Burma Army
7Htin, KyawGeneral
Kyaw Htin
6 March 19763 November 19859 years, 242 days 
Burma Army
8Maung, SawSenior General
Saw Maung
4 November 198522 April 19926 years, 170 days  Myanmar Army
9Shwe, ThanSenior General
Than Shwe
(born 1933)
22 April 199230 March 201118 years, 342 days  Myanmar Army
10Hlaing, MinSenior General
Min Aung Hlaing
(born 1956)
30 March 2011Incumbent11 years, 364 days  Myanmar Army


Min Aung HlaingThan ShweSaw MaungKyaw HtinTin OoSan YuNe WinSmith DunBo Let YaAung San


  1. ^ Founder of modern Myanmar Army, leader of Thirty Comrades, father of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San was offered a post of Deputy Inspector General of post-World War II Burma Army under Major General T. Thomas but declined. He never served as Commander-in-Chief of post-World War II Burma Army but became Vice Chairman of HM Governor's council (Prime Minister) and Defence Councillor (Defence Minister from 22 September 1946 to 19 July 1947 according to Myanmar Official History records).
  2. ^ Member of Thirty Comrades, Vice Commander-in-Chief of PBF in 1945. Aung San chose him to replace him as a Deputy Inspector General of post-World War II Burma Army in December 1945. Became Brigadier and replaced Aung San as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister when the latter was assassinated on 19 July 1947. Was made to resign from the post in February 1949 by AFPFL Government according to "Phay Phay Bo Let Yar by his daughter, Dr Khin Let Yar and other Myanmar official history records. Never was a Commander-in-Chief of post-World War II Burma Army.
  3. ^ Ethnic Karen, forced to retire due to the Karen conflict.
  4. ^ Later became President and Chairman of Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP). Position designated as Chief of Staff of Defense Services.
  5. ^ Later became President.
  6. ^ Later became Vice-Chairman of National League for Democracy.


  1. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (2008)" (PDF). Burma Library. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Statement from Myanmar military on state of emergency". Reuters. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Order No (9/2021), Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Republic of the Union of Myanmar" (PDF). The Global New Light of Myanmar. 3 February 2021. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  4. ^ "New commander in chief of defence services: General Min Aung Hlaing" Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Mizzima, 30 March 2011.
  5. ^ Maung Aung Myoe, Building the Tatmadaw, Appendix (6)