Prime Minister Hun Sen praised more than 20 high-ranking officials in the armed forces Monday who were awarded graduate degrees from a Vietnamese military school, saying the academic credentials were a feather in the cap for the country’s military.
“In terms of the Cambodian government and myself, I would like to express my honest appreciation…for all of these achievements,” the premier said, speaking at the morning award ceremony held at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Conference Hall.
“I think it is another great achievement to build up and develop the human resources of our Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,” the prime minister said.
The written theses that led to the academic awards for the RCAF officials, the prime minister said, dealt only with national defense and not offensive military operations, specifically along the Thai-Cambodian border.
“So no neighboring countries needs to worry about [the themes of] your theses,” the premier said. “I would like you all to use this research appropriately through the real situation,” he added.
The prime minister also called on the military top brass to link RCAF military regions 3, 4 and 5 so that they are “easily assigned and commanded during the situation that we are facing now.” RCAF regions 3, 4 and 5 cover all provinces along the country’s western border with Thailand.
Commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Pol Saroeun and Kun Kim, RCAF deputy commander-in-chief, received doctorates from the Vietnamese infantry academy, while the other senior military officers earned master’s degrees, said General Pol Saroeun, who received a post-graduate degree from Vietnam’s Dalat Military Academy in 2004 before pursuing another PhD, which he earned in September 2007.
Mr Pol Saroeun said about 100 Cambodian students are studying at the infantry academy, which is being made possible through a bilateral agreement between the two countries.
SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said the military degrees were nothing more than padding the officers’ resumes. “The provided certificate is just to strengthen the receivers’ power over their subordinates, but the quality of the certificate is worthless,” he said.