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SECURITY SECTOR REFORM IN BURMA/MYANMAR  

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2014 URL: http://peaceanddialogueplatform.libguides.com/content.php?pid=581450 Print Guide Email Alerts

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Books

Myo, Maung Aung. Building the Tatmadaw: Myanmar Armed Forces Since 1948. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009. [Google Book]
About: "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."

Callahen, Mary. Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma. Utica: Cornell University Press, 2003. [Google Book]
About: "Mary P. Callahan seeks to explain the extraordinary durability of the Burmese military regime. In her view, the origins of army rule are to be found in the relationship between war and state formation."

Selth, Andrew. Burma's Armed Forces: Power Without Glory. Pacific Century Press, 2002. [Amazon]

About: "This book is essential reading for any student of Burma, China-India relations, politico-economic security in the region, or military and strategic priorities in Asia."

 

Articles

International Crisis Group (ICG). "Myanmar: The Future of Armed Forces," Asia Briefing. Brussels: ICG, 2002.

 

Summary: "As then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated in characteristic fashion, some security issues are easily researched and well understood, while others pose greater problems. Failure to recognize these “known knowns” and “known unknowns”, or to acknowledge information gaps, can lead to misconceptions and errors of judgement. There are also mysteries — the “unknown unknowns”. The study of Myanmar’s armed forces (or Tatmadaw) is a case in point, yet anyone attempting to study them faces problems at three levels. At the first are the traps lying in wait for all who engage in such intellectual exercises, and strive for precision, balance and objectivity. At the second level are the challenges inherent in the study of any country’s military capabilities. At the third level are the difficulties encountered by anyone studying modern Myanmar. Due mainly to the lack of reliable data, however, an accurate, detailed and nuanced assessment of Myanmar’s military capabilities is currently impossible. It is difficult even to make judgements about its order of battle and defence expenditure, let alone the Tatmadaw’s combat proficiency. Yet these kinds of issues are critical to an understanding of Myanmar’s security."

Selth, Andrew. "Known Knowns and Known Unknowns: Measuring Myanmar’s Military Capabilities," Contemporary Southeast Asia, Volume 31, Number 2 (2009): 272-95.
Summary: "As then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated in characteristic fashion, some security issues are easily researched and well understood, while others pose greater problems. Failure to recognize these “known knowns” and “known unknowns”, or to acknowledge information gaps, can lead to misconceptions and errors of judgement. There are also mysteries — the “unknown unknowns”. The study of Myanmar’s armed forces (or Tatmadaw) is a case in point, yet anyone attempting to study them faces problems at three levels. At the first are the traps lying in wait for all who engage in such intellectual exercises, and strive for precision, balance and objectivity. At the second level are the challenges inherent in the study of any country’s military capabilities. At the third level are the difficulties encountered by anyone studying modern Myanmar. Due mainly to the lack of reliable data, however, an accurate, detailed and nuanced assessment of Myanmar’s military capabilities is currently impossible. It is difficult even to make judgements about its order of battle and defence expenditure, let alone the Tatmadaw’s combat proficiency. Yet these kinds of issues are critical to an understanding of Myanmar’s security."

 

Selth, Andrew. "Burma and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Claims, Controversies and Consequences", Future Directions International, 9 (2012). 

Summary: "Over the past nine months, President Thein Sein’s hybrid civilian-military government has repeatedly promised that Burma would cut its controversial defence ties with North Korea, and end any weapons of mass destruction programmes.[1] There is strong evidence, however, that it has done neither. Naypyidaw’s relations with the international community have greatly improved over this period, but the potential remains for these two issues significantly to impede, or even stall, the related processes of diplomatic rehabilitation and domestic reform. Should this occur, it would have far-reaching consequences not only for the long-suffering people of Burma, but also for the wider region. 
 

Book Chapters

Selth, Andrew. 'Burma's Defence Policy: Programme or Polemic?', in D.S. Mathieson and R.J. May (eds.), The Illusion of Progress: The Political Economy of Reform in Burma/Myanmar. Adelaide: Crawford, 2004. 

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Selth, Andrew. 'Burma's Maritime Strategy', in Jurgen Shwarz, W.A. Herrmann and H-F. Seller (eds.), The Maritime Strategies of Asia. Bangkok: White Lotus, 2001. 

 

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Selth, Andrew. 'The Future of the Burmese Armed Forces', in Morten B. Pedersen, Emily Rudland and R.J. May (eds.), Burma-Myanmar: Strong Regime, Weak State. Adelaide: Crawford House, 2000.

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