08 Juli 2009

Thai's 2010 Defense Spending Proposed 150 Billion Baht (4,4 Billion USD)

8 Juli 2009

Thai's Army during Armed Forces Day (photo : Militaryphotos)

New Front Pushes Cyber Efficiency

The army is dusting off its e-army project introduced during the Thaksin Shinawatra administration to encourage more online and real-time communication among its officers. The project's revival will involve the spending of an additional 6 billion baht, an army source said.

The army had already spent 615 million baht on the project during its first phase from 2004 to 2006.

In 2004, the project was kicked off by then army chief Gen Chaisith Shinawatra. Its implementation was later halted due to political unrest and the 2006 coup.

Under the leadership of current army chief, Gen Anupong Paojinda, the e-army project is set to continue in two more phases. Each phase will cost about 3 billion baht, said the source.

During the second phase, a modern information technology system would be set up at the army headquarters.

In the third phase, the system would be implemented at the divisional and regimental levels, as well as connecting with the Information and Communication Technology Ministry's systems.

Once the full system is operational it will be able to manage a range of functions, such as human resource management, intelligence gathering amd defence operations. The new IT system will provide better efficiency, speed and value.
The army has granted the contract for the entire e-army project to Mfec Plc which beat Loxley Group in the bidding, the source said.

The Defence Ministry's proposed 2010 budget has been cut from 170 billion baht to 150 billion. Of the 150 billion baht, the army requested the largest portion of 72 billion.

The army plans to spend 960 million baht of its budget on 15,000 Israeli-made Tavor Tar-21 assault rifles for Pattani-based infantry rangers, the source said.
However, Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has reportedly negotiated for a higher budget with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of national security.

Mr Suthep eventually agreed to raise the ministry's budget by 3 billion baht, the source said.

(Bangkok Post)

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