Lawmakers seek to cut Vietnam's large corps of military generals

By Manh Quan-Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Xuan Ty, National Assembly's representative for Ben Tre Province, speaking during an NA session held on Nov 6. Photo: Ngoc Thang

Vietnamese lawmakers called on the government to thin the crowded ranks of Vietnam's military generals during a National Assembly session held Thursday. 
During a discussion of proposed amendments to the Law on Officers of the People’s Army, several legislators pointed out that Vietnam has more generals today that it did during the war. 
Nguyen Anh Son, an NA rep for Nam Dinh Province, said the number of military officers who hold the rank of general accounts for up to 8 percent of the nation's total officer corps. 
He proposed that the law should reduce that rate to five percent. 
Nguyen Ba Thuyen, an NA rep for Lam Dong Province, said “general” has become a common army rank in Vietnam. 
“In the war, our army had only 36 generals. Now that we have around 480 generals, does it mean the army is much stronger?” he said. 
Nguyen Xuan Ty, an NA rep for Ben Tre Province, said he himself spent 41 years in the army, of which 14 years were spent on the battlefield, but it took him 17 years to be promoted from colonel to general. 
Nowadays, many officers are promoted to the rank of general despite the fact that they've never seen combat, he said. 
The lawmakers said the government should re-consider awarding the rank to, for example, lecturers at military training institutions. 
These individuals should be acknowledged as professors or PhDs, not generals, they argued.

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