Hun manet, the son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, rose to the rank of Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) – the second most powerful position in the Kingdom’s military – on Thursday after a royal decree.
The order, issued by King Norodom Sihamoni, saw the 41-year-old Lieutenant General replace General Meas Sophea – who was appointed Senior Minister in charge of Special Operations – while General Vong Pisen was promoted to General Commander of the RCAF, the armed forces’ top rank.
The key promotions came on the advice of Hun Sen, who said they were based on “the necessity of the government”, the merit of the men involved and the experience of the senior soldiers.
Manet maintains his positions as the Deputy General Commander and Joint Chief of Staff of the RCAF.
According to the royal decree obtained by The Post on Thursday, Pisen, who was the former deputy commander and chief of staff of the National Military Police, replaces General Pol Saroeun, who was appointed a senior minister.
General Ith Sarath was promoted to the rank of Joint Chief of Staff, in addition to his current position as the Deputy General Commander and Training Chief of the RCAF.
He will replace General Kun Kim who was elevated to the rank of senior minister.
Both General Kim and General Sophea stepped down to contest the July 29 national elections.
Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Minister of National Defence, told The Post that during its sixth mandate, the government will continue to implement deeper reforms to bolster the military.
The move was in line with the government’s aspiration to promote talented army chiefs to modernise the defence sector which was crucial to national security, he said.
He expressed confidence that the three newly promoted senior armed forces staff will carry out their duties to ensure the development of the Kingdom’s defence sector.
“According to the knowledge, talent and experience of these three senior soldiers, I believe that our defence sector can be modernised into a highly [responsive RCAF] that can help protect the nation’s territory,” Banh said.
Manet currently holds a number of key positions in the security forces, including head of the defence ministry’s anti-terrorism unit and deputy chief of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit.
Meanwhile, Sophea, who retired before the national elections and was promoted to senior minister on Wednesday, said he supported the elevation of the three army staff and urged them to continue the reforms of in the military.
The three newly promoted senior military officers could not be reached for comment regarding their promotions yesterday.