Myanmar has created the new post of National Security Advisor by releasing an order from the Office of the President on January 10, acknowledging the country’s need to respond to rising internal and external threats.
Thaung Tun, a retired Myanmar ambassador to several countries including the EU (European Union), was appointed as the National Security Advisor to the Union Government in order to advise the President and government on internal and external threats by assessing situations from a strategic point of view.
The post was agreed during a late 2016 Union Government meeting and is ranked as equivalent to Union Minister status, a statement from the President’s Office said.
Thaung Tun formerly served as a diplomat to the Philippines, Belgium, the Netherlands and the EU under the military-led government and also took office as director-general at the political affairs department within the ministry of foreign affairs before his retirement in April 2010.
The establishment of the National Security Advisor position came amid the escalating minority insurgents in the country’s north-east and the resurgent communal strife in the west sparked by a set of organised Islamic terrorist attacks that claimed lives of police personnel at border guard posts in northern Rakhine state, an area long plagued by a recurrent Islamic militancy. However, the announcement for the appointment of the new position did not elaborate on the threats and the specific responsibilities of the new official, and it was also unclear that whether the National Security Adviser would have a dedicated ministry or council to assist him.
This marks the second time for the incumbent Myanmar administration to create a government office which is unusual to the country and never existed during the previous cabinets. Earlier, the State Counsellor position was created for Aung San Suu Kyi who is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Following his service under the military-led government, Thaung Tun also took the job title of executive director at the Myanmar Development Resource Institute (MDRI) under the predecessor president Thein Sein.