Thailand is officially the Kingdom of Thailand (ราชอาณาจักรไทย), a constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia. The nation was known as Siam (สยาม) until 1939, and again, briefly, from 1945 to 1949. Thailand has never been occupied or colonized by another nation, although it did permit the movement of Imperial Japanese troops over Thai territory during the Second World War.
Thailand became friendly with the United States in the years following the war and, although shaken by regime changes after various coups d'etat during subsequent years, was a reliable ally of the USA and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. In September 2006, a military junta overthrew the government and declared martial law, appointing its own prime minister and wrote an abbreviated constitution. Although martial law has since been partially revoked (2007) and a new constitution approved, the nation continues to struggle establishing a fully democratic form of government outside the control of the military.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces (กองทัพไทย) consist of the Royal Thai Army (กองทัพบกไทย), Royal Thai Air Force (กองทัพอากาศไทย), and the Royal Thai Navy (กองทัพเรือไทย, ราชนาวีไทย), the latter of which contains the Royal Thai Marine Corps (นาวิกโยธินไทย). The Border Patrol Police (ตำรวจตระเวณชายแดน) is a paramilitary entity responsible for border security and counter-insurgency operations. Thai military personnel fought in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, only to be faced with a communist insurgency from 1976 to the 1980s and insursions from Vietnamese troops entering through Cambodia (1979-1988). The Royal Thai Armed Forces have been active within the United Nations, serving in peacekeeping roles in East Timor (1999-2002) and Iraq (2003-2004). They have also been dealing with an insurgency in the south of Thailand since 2004, waged primarily by Islamist Malays.
Thailand has been producing camouflage uniforms since the late Vietnam War, and was one of the first countries outside of South Vietnam to issue tiger stripe pattern uniforms to its military personnel. After the war ended, production of camouflage fabrics increased dramatically, leading the nation to become one of the major exporters of military textiles in Southeast Asia during the 1970s and 1980s. Thai factories have supplied military and paramilitary forces in Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and the Philippines, although since the 1990s they have been hard pressed to compete with the major suppliers in South Korea and China. Yet despite being a major producer of camouflage fabric and uniforms, the Royal Thai Armed Forces have not embraced the dozens of different designs found in neighboring nations like Indonesia or the Philippines. Instead, a core number of designs have been re-printed for years, producing sub-variations of their own as a result of the wide number of production techniques, textiles, and available materials such as fabric dyes. Most Thai camouflage designs fall into three major categories: tiger stripe patterns, leaf patterns, and woodland patterns, with a handful of exceptions falling outside. Virtually all branches of service have worn some form of camouflage at one time or another with very little consistency or regulations within the branches of service themselves, and it is seldom a particular version of a pattern can be categorized as being utilized by a single unit or branch of service.