BANGKOK — The government on Monday issued an order placing key military units under the direct command of His Majesty the King.
The royal decree was enacted without going through the usual parliament channel due to unspecified “emergency” circumstances. It effectively separated the 1st and 11th Infantry Divisions from the military chain of command and handed them over to King Vajiralongkorn’s control.
Relevant personnel and operating funds were also transferred to the palace’s Royal Security Command, which would now oversee the two units.
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The decree said the urgency of the move was necessary to provide better security to the Royal Family, royal residences, and VIP guests visiting on the monarch’s invitation.
Since coming to the throne in 2016 after the death of his father King Bhumibol, His Majesty the King has been taking steps to ensure closer ties between the monarchy and the armed forces.
Changes he introduced to the armed forces include new haircut, new salutes, and transfers of some bureaucratic departments to the palace’s direct command.
In August, His Majesty the King also dispatched a group of “model soldiers,” who were trained under army courses devised by His Majesty, to pass on the new training methods to other military units across the country.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the two units as regiments. In fact, they are divisions.