Selasa, September 16, 2014
JAKARTA-(IDB) : As president-elect Joko Widodo — popularly known as Jokowi — prepares his first Cabinet and plans to govern, it is perhaps a good time to take a step back and consider the broader picture of Indonesia’s military reform. After all, he did campaign on a reformist platform; he even had more detailed defense policy ideas than his rival, Lt. Gen (ret) Prabowo Subianto.

What have we accomplished thus far in reforming the military following the end of Soeharto’s authoritarian New Order? How has the process of military reform evolved and what should we expect next?

What would defense policy and military reform look like under Jokowi’s first administration? Should we expect more continuity rather than change from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono era when it comes to military reform?

After the fall of Soeharto, military reform between 1999 and 2004 under presidents B. J. Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri essentially focused on erasing the legacies of authoritarian rule.

The Indonesian military changed its name from the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) to the Indonesian Military (TNI) when the separation from the police officially took place in 1999.

The TNI then abolished the “dual function” doctrine that had previously allowed officers to hold various political and economic posts throughout the country. Its non-elected legislative seats were eliminated by 2004, along with any official ties to any political parties.

Additionally, Law No. 34/2004 on the Indonesian Military not only banned military officers from running for office but also mandated the eventual transfer of the TNI’s recorded business and commercial enterprises by 2009.

In short, the focus has been on getting the military out of politics and business, ending its domestic security and policing roles, and returning its function as the primary actor for national defense. By one account, the TNI issued 29 institutional reform policies to follow these broad visions from 1998 to 2006.

Believing that the New Order’s legacies had been erased, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2004 – 2014) went on to focus on rebuilding the TNI’s overall combat effectiveness and readiness. Indeed, then-defense minister Juwono Sudarsono claimed in 2008 that military reform was 85 percent complete.

As Indonesia’s economic strength grew during Yudhoyono’s presidency, soldiers’ welfare was gradually increased in terms of salaries and benefits; education and training began to gain importance (as seen from the establishment of the Indonesian Defense University), and technological modernization took center stage.

Indeed, with the Minimum Essential Forces (MEF) as the main guiding vision, the defense budget more than tripled, from approximately US$2.1 billion in 2003 to about $7.7 billion in 2012. It is further estimated that completing the MEF shopping list requires around $7 to $10 billion.

Arguably, MEF is the centerpiece of Yudhoyono’s defense modernization vision, which represents the next step in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian military reform. The passing of the 2012 defense industrial law further cemented this vision.

What should we expect therefore from the president-elect? According to Jokowi’s campaign platform documents, he has four main defense priorities.

First, continue supporting the professionalism of the Indonesian military by improving soldiers’ welfare and its main weapons systems by increasing the defense budget to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) within five years.

Second, seek defense independence by reducing foreign technological imports, strengthening the domestic defense industry and diversifying Indonesia’s defense partnerships.

Third, complete the MEF blueprint and build the military to eventually become a respectable maritime force in East Asia.

Finally, place defense policy as an integral part of a comprehensive and resilient national security system that reorders various defense, internal security, public safety and human security functions managed by the National Security Council (DKN).

Assuming Jokowi takes his campaign promises seriously, these priorities suggest that he would build on and continue many of Yudhoyono’s defense modernization policies. This vision, however, should be taken with an extra pinch of salt.

First and foremost, with more money being spent on technology, personnel development is taking a back seat — despite the fact that a military is only as effective as the men and women running it.

According to IHS Jane’s projections, spending on personnel between 2010 and 2017 will, on average, be around $4.79 billion annually. While these figures represent around two thirds of the defense budget, they seem minuscule when we think about the level of expertise needed to boost technological innovation and to effectively run and maintain high-tech military systems.

This is particularly the case when we consider Indonesia’s mediocre human capital development. In 2013, we were ranked 61 globally by the World Economic Forum’s education measures. Presumably, the low quality of our human capital spills into the TNI’s manpower quality as well.

Additionally, a review of the TNI’s educational curricula — from the academy to the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) — suggests that while sociopolitical courses are fewer now than under the New Order, they continue to make up a significant proportion of available classes.

And even though overseas education and training opportunities have expanded, messy personnel policies have created promotional logjams, with the number of posts shrinking while the officer corps grew from 46,168 in 2004 to 52,940 in 2009.

Consequently, tours of duty have become increasingly shorter and higher educational qualifications are becoming less relevant, if not detrimental, for officers competing for a small number of billets. All of these are counterproductive to the long-term development of a professional modern military career pattern.

Secondly, the Yudhoyono-led process of technological modernization for the past decade has had some harmful, unintended consequences for the TNI’s weapons platform readiness and maintenance.

As defense planners have been more concerned initially with procuring weaponry from suppliers who would not impose political conditions of usage, the military has been incrementally stocking up platforms from various different countries.

As of 2006, the TNI had been operating 173 different medium and advanced platforms imported from 17 different countries. While “partner diversification” sounds politically convenient, complex weapons systems do not work that way. Indeed, such a “rainbow mix” entails significant costs in terms of maintenance and personnel training and has affected operational readiness due to inter-operability problems.

Source : JakartaPost

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