Defence Services Academy

Defence Services Academy
Defence Services Academy (DSA)

The DSA, Pyinoolwin
Motto Triumphant Elites of the Future
Established 1954[1]
Type Public
Rector Colonel Zaw Win
Principal Brigadier General Nyo Saw
Academic staff 300
Undergraduates 5000
Postgraduates 1500
Doctoral students 50
Location Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Division, Myanmar
Coordinates: 22°01′26.68″N 96°26′55.27″E / 22.0240778°N 96.4486861°E / 22.0240778; 96.4486861

The Defence Services Academy (Burmese: စစ်‌တက္ကသိုလ်, pronounced [sɪʔ tɛʔkəθò]) located in Pyin Oo Lwin, is the premier military service academy of Myanmar, training future officers for all three branches of Burmese military. The Ministry of Defence administered academy offers bachelor's degree programs in liberal arts, combined physical sciences, and computer science. As of 49th intake in 2007, the academy is open only to male applicants.[citation needed]

The DSA graduates are commissioned in one of the three branches of Burmese military. The country's premier military training school has produced many of the top military officers of Burmese military.



The DSA was established in Fort Ba Htoo in southern Shan State in 1954, and was moved to its current home, a former British hill station of Pyinoolwin (formerly, Maymyo) in June 1957.[2] The first commander of DSA was Col. L. Khon Naung.[citation needed]


The purpose of the academy is to "train a new generation of highly educated and well-rounded officers for Myanmar's armed forces who are capable of leading the nation". The DSA emphasizes on the academic curriculum alongside the military training with the intention of developing individuals who are capable of running the entire nation. (In contrast, the mission of Officer Training School is to train the future commanders who can lead the Armed Forces in times of war. Furthermore, the OTS does not offer any additional academic qualifications, and the admission is usually open only to degree-holders. From 1999 onwards, it is open only to non-commissioned officers and servicemen holding degrees who demonstrate extraordinary qualities to become officers. Training duration is nine months. It has two in-takes per year.)[citation needed]


As the country's most prestigious military academy, the DSA receives many applications from high school graduates each year. Unlike at most other Burmese universities, the selection process goes beyond the matriculation exam marks, including physical fitness tests, teamwork and comradeship screening, psychometric assessments and general interviews. The academy is open only to male applicants.[citation needed]


The DSA offers four-year bachelor's degree programs in liberal arts, combined physical sciences (with specializations in areas such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, geology) and computer science. The undergraduate degree programs used to take 4 years but from the 42nd intake onwards, the duration has been reduced to 3 years.[citation needed] The DSA comprises two main branches: the academic wing and the training wing.


  1. Department of Burmese
  2. Department of English
  3. Department of Mathematics
  4. Department of Applied Mathematics
  5. Department of Chemistry
  6. Department of Nuclear Chemistry
  7. Department of Physics
  8. Department of Nuclear Physics
  9. Department of Electronics
  10. Department of Geography
  11. Department of History
  12. Department of Economics
  13. Department of Computer Science
  14. Department of Computer Technology
  15. Department of Research

Military education

All cadets receive mandatory military training. The structure of the DSA is based on British and American (i.e. Sandhurst and West Point respectively) military training traditions as well as home-grown practices.

In the tradition of American system, the senior cadet officers are assigned to mentor junior cadet officers, overseeing day-to-day training, discipline and welfare of the juniors in general, with the aim of developing the so-called "guardian brotherhood" so as to develop a sense of community, comradeship, faith and trust, chain-of-command and looking after one another. This function is supervised by an officer (known as company officer), usually at the rank of Captain, who is then supported by a senior non-commissioned officer, usually at the rank of Master Sergeant. The sergeant more closely interact with the cadet officers and is directly in the chain-of-command, and is similar to the British system.

Unlike in American and British systems, which maintain separate military academies for different branches of armed forces, the DSA trains for all three branches of Burmese military (army, navy and air force). Its cadets select the branch to enter upon their graduation, subject to fulfilling further health and training requirements.

In general, cadets at the DSA starts their day in the early mornings with rigorous physical training, followed by academic lectures, then by military training. After the exams, they also spend a period devoted solely for military training which take place at various locations across the country. As part of their study requirements, they are taught political science, general law, international relations and other related subjects alongside their main studies regardless of specialism. In common with other universities in the country, the cadets are required to study Burmese, English and mathematics regardless of the subject they major in.

The first few weeks of the 1st year is known as "soldier indoctrination week" when newly recruited cadet officers are trained to have military mentality. Further more, cadet officers are not allowed to keep in touch with the outside world, not even with family (unless under exceptional circumstances such as death of a family member), for the first six months of the first year which is a period meant to transform these young high school graduates from civilians into potential military officers. Cadets are subject to further disciplinary requirements such as having to refrain from visiting the restricted areas of the city and the dress-code both while on DSA grounds and while in the city, even during their private time.

The board and room, uniform and food, as well as other essential supplies, for the cadet officers and their tuition costs are borne by the academy. In addition, they also receive a small amount of monthly allowance. In the past, up to 18th Intake, the academy allowed so-called private cadets who are well-qualified, and satisfied by admission board, but do not want military service obligation upon graduation. Such applicants pay tuition fees to the academy and fund their own cost of living while receiving education and training at the academy in exactly as the same way as the other regular cadet officers. Such private cadets are not obliged to serve in the Armed Forces upon graduation. However, they may choose to serve, at their own discretion, in the Armed Forces. Private cadets made up about 5~10% of each intakes. Private cadets are, however, no longer admitted after 18th Intake. The minimum contract of the military service for the regular cadet officers upon graduation is 10 years.


  • Planetarium (one of two planetariums in Myanmar)
  • Library
  • Computer laboratory for parallel and distributed computing, and software engineering
  • Computer clusters
  • Computer-assisted foreign language facilities
  • Telescope facilities
  • Chemistry and geology teaching laboratory
  • Radiation physics research laboratory
  • Electronics laboratory with clean room facilities
  • Olympic-size swimming pool
  • Several large sports fields with football grounds and tennis courts
  • Gymnasiums


  • Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, army chief and second senior in SPDC, State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar - DSA 1st intake
  • U Thaung, Minister of Science and Technology - Awarded Best Cadet in DSA 1st intake.
  • General Thura Shwe Mann, Joint Chief of Staff (Army, Navy and Air Force) and third senior in SPDC, State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar - DSA 11th intake
  • General Thein Sein, Prime Minister - DSA 9th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Tin Aye, Chief of Military Ordnance - DSA 9th intake
  • General Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo, Secretary-1 of the SPDC, Minister of Military Affairs and Quartermaster General - DSA 12th intake
  • Brigadier-General Hla Myint, 13th intake[3]
  • Lieutenant General Myint Swe, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation-5 - DSA 15th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Ye Myint, Directorate of Military Affairs Security - DSA 15th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Ohn Myint, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation - 1 - DSA 17th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Min Aung Hlaing, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation - 2 - DSA 19th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Ko Ko, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation - 3 - DSA 19th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Tha Aye, Chief of Bureau of Special Operation - 4 - DSA 16th intake
  • Lieutenant-General Hla Htay Win, Chief of Armed Forces Training - DSA 20th intake
  • Director General Wunna Maung Lwin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar - 16th intake

See also


  1. ^ Helen James (2005). Governance and Civil Society in Myanmar. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 0415355583, 9780415355582. 
  2. ^ Kyi Kyi Hla (2001-04-01). Valiant Sons of Myanmar. Myanmar Perspectives. 
  3. ^ "Retired ambassador Hla Myint likely to replace Rangoon Mayor". Mizzima News. 2011-03-09. 

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