Subject: TNI Reform: Removing the Restraints [+House Likely to Back Santoso; Lombok Treaty] 

also: JP: House likely to endorse Santoso as TNI chief; ST: Jakarta's military gets new head; and House ratifies Lombok treaty

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, November 28, 2007


TNI Reform: Removing the Restraints

Warief Djajanto Basorie, Jakarta

How much has the Indonesian Military (TNI) changed? One potential change currently under review is whether military service should be mandatory or voluntary. The Jakarta Post editorial Nov. 21 questions the relevance of pending compulsory military service in a bill now before the House of Representatives (DPR).

"At least until military reform is completed, which should be translated into an armed forces that protects the people and guards democracy, we should think twice, or thrice, about debating the reserve component bill," the editorial concludes.

Meanwhile, on the broader issue of military reform, a U.S.-based scholar pours praise on the TNI for its reforms since the end of former president Soeharto's 32-year authoritarian New Order regime in 1998. Alfred C. Stephan, director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Tolerance and Religion at Columbia University, listed TNI actions that have contributed to Indonesia's progress toward democracy: Giving away their seats in the House, abandoning the dual function concept and turning the police into a separate armed force (The Jakarta Post, Oct. 30 2007).

A closer look shows most of the moves for TNI reform occurred during the presidency of Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid (Oct 1999 -July 2001). A chapter in a recently published study lists at least six TNI reforms during Wahid's 21-month tenure in comparison to two under Megawati Sukarnoputri (July 2001-Oct 2004) and two under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the current president.

The chapter, simply titled Tentara Nasional Indonesia, is in the Almanak Reformasi Sektor Keamanan Indonesia 2007 (2007 Almanac on Indonesia's Security Sector Reform), which was published in August 2007 by the Indonesian Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies (LESPERSSI). The chapter's author, Al Araf, a research coordinator at Imparsial, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, lauds Gus Dur as "serious and successful in pushing forward TNI reform".

Under Gus Dur's watch, the reforms included reorganization of the Defense and Security Department to become the Defense Department (1999); appointing a civilian as defense minister (1999); declaration of political neutrality and disassociation from Golkar, the party in perennial power during Soeharto's New Order (1999); a split in the structure and role of the TNI and the police force (2000); dissolution of the Dual Function doctrine that gave the armed forces a defense role and a social-political role (2000); and appointment of an admiral as TNI commander, a position unfailingly filled by an Army general in the Soeharto years (2000).

Meanwhile Megawati oversaw the enactment of the Defense Law (2002) and the TNI Law (2004). Whereas the changes under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were the abolishment of the military/police faction in the House of Representatives (2004) and an end to the civil unrest in Aceh (2005).

During Yudhoyono's present term, continuation of TNI reform seems to have faltered. Apparently the president, a retired general, has put the matter on the back burner. In his 2007 state of nation address on Aug. 16, the president gave no mention of TNI reform but did speak of reforming the bureaucracy.

Yet TNI reform is still incomplete. Unfinished work includes the restructuring of the territorial command set-up as obligated under Article 11 of the 2004 TNI Act and the transfer of TNI businesses to the government. Also of concern are the unresolved cases of human rights violations and the slow pace of military court reform.

On businesses, Article 39 of the TNI Act emphatically states that soldiers of the TNI are prohibited from becoming members of a political party; engaging in practical politics; becoming involved in business activities; and being elected as legislators or in other political offices.

President Yudhoyono should be able to put military reform back on the front burner. He showed his steel in appointing an Air Force marshal as the TNI commander and not an Army general who had the DPR's backing. Yudhoyono's point was to institutionalize the rotation of the chief of the armed forces among the three services.

Yudhoyono had this to say on leadership when he spoke before business leaders on Oct. 25: "In the scheme of turning a vision into reality, leadership is essential. When I say leadership, it is not just at the very top level at the presidency, but we also need to see leadership applied by ministers in various government agencies, in the Parliament, in local governments, and in civil society, and in the business sector. So leadership means also the ability of the nation's leaders to work together to reach a common goal".

Leadership to Yudhoyono is teamwork. His thumping electoral mandate by winning 61% of the votes against 39 percent for Megawati in the 2004 runoff presidential election is political capital he has not yet totally spent. This is capital to make his team work.

Vested interests may well be blocking the road to further reform. To complete the job, the people in charge must be individuals of resolute mettle to remove these restraints of TNI reform. To envision the big picture of security sector reform and good governance, the president's team must be unbought by and unbowed to entrenched vested interests.

The writer is a Jakarta-based freelancer. He can be reached at


The Jakarta Post
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

House likely to endorse Santoso as TNI chief

Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The House of Representatives has given signals it will support Army chief Gen. Djoko Santoso's nomination to become the next Indonesian Military (TNI) commander.

Legislators from the House's information, defense and foreign affairs Commission I have raised no objections to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's nomination of Santoso to replacing Air Marshall Djoko Suyanto, who will retire as TNI chief on Dec. 2.

Commission members will meet on Dec. 5 to quiz Santoso over his fitness to assume the top military post.

"I'm sure Commission I will not impede (Djoko Santoso's) nomination as proposed by the President .... The House will very likely support him," commission member Yuddhy Chrisnandi of Golkar Party told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

"We could refuse his nomination ... but, it's almost certain that we'll accept him as the new TNI chief."

Yuddhy said Djoko could assume the new post in early December.

Another commission member, Andreas Pareira of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said the "fit-and-proper" test at the commission would be little more than a formality for Santoso.

"We'll hold the fit and proper test only to hear his programs on how to improve the military's professionalism and the social welfare of service people," said Pareira.

The President's nomination letter for Santoso was read out by Deputy Speaker Muhaimin Iskandar during a House plenary session Tuesday.

Jeffrey Massey of the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) said Santoso's nomination and possible appointment as TNI chief, however, should be accompanied by the issuance of new military guidelines for the TNI chief in developing military forces.

"Internal reforms should include measures on putting the TNI under the Defense Ministry, with the TNI leadership to be accountable to the defense minister, instead of the President," Massye said.

Abdillah Toha of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said Santoso's career up to this point, including his many promotions, was evidence of his capability and professionalism.

"Djoko (Santoso) is relatively young and quiet. But he has strong leadership and has not been implicated in any cases, including human rights abuses," Abdillah said.

He acknowledged that based on the tradition of rotating leadership of the TNI since the presidency of Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, the next TNI commander should be from the Navy, following the three previous military commanders from the Navy, the Army and the Air Force.

"But the President has his own considerations in promoting Djoko (Santoso) following the recent reshuffle in the Navy leadership and in anticipation of the 2009 general elections."

Yuddhy said the idea of rotating the TNI leadership was not required.

"Article (13) of the 2004 law on the TNI says the TNI leadership can be rotated among the three military forces. This means the rotation system is not a must."

A military analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Kusnanto Anggoro, said Santoso's nomination would not create any problems within TNI.

"Djoko (Santoso) is younger than the two chiefs (of the Air Force and the Navy), who will both retire next year. If he leads the TNI, a younger officer will replace him as Army chief, triggering faster rejuvenation in the TNI, which is good." (wda)


The Straits Times (Singapore)

Wednesday November 28, 2007

Jakarta's military gets new head

Salim Osman, Indonesia Correspondent

Army chief, who is close to Yudhoyono, nominated as new military commander

JAKARTA - INDONESIAN army chief General Djoko Santoso has been nominated as the new military commander to succeed Air Chief Marshal Djoko Suyanto, who retires on Sunday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono proposed Gen Djoko's name to the Indonesian Parliament, which will soon call the candidate for a hearing before the House goes into recess on Dec 8.

Parliament Speaker Agung Laksono yesterday read out the nomination of Gen Djoko during a plenary session, with several MPs expressing support for the army chief, who will hold a Cabinet rank.

Golkar legislator and military analyst Yuddy Chrisnandi told The

Straits Times that Gen Djoko would not face any problem getting Parliament's endorsement.

'He is the youngest of all the candidates and an experienced career officer,' he said yesterday.

The 55-year-old army chief is the President's choice among the chiefs of the three services in the defence force (TNI). Three other candidates for the top job were air force chief Marshal Herman Prayitno, navy chief Admiral Sumardjono and his predecessor Admiral Slamet Soebijanto, whom he replaced earlier this month.

Gen Djoko had the edge over his rivals as he can serve until 2010, while all his three rivals are due to retire next year.

Analyst Bantarto Bandoro said the decision to choose Gen Djoko was a reflection of his abiliies, as it went against the rotation system, under which the three services took turns to fill the top spot.

When the system went into effect in 1999, navy chief Admiral Widodo became the commander first. He was succeeded by army chief General Endriartono Sutarto, who was followed by Air Chief Marshal Djoko Suyanto.

Under the rotation system, the navy would have been next in line, but Gen Djoko, an army man, was picked instead.

He is also said to be close to the President, a retired four-star army general whom he served when Dr Yudhoyono was the head of the armed forces' social and political unit in 1998.

Analysts say that Gen Djoko has always been the President's choice as military chief because he is someone whom Dr Yudhoyono can depend upon to look after security in the run-up to the 2009 legislative and presidential elections.

The army chief is seen as the most powerful among his peers in the three services and is in the best position to oversee security during the elections. He will have about a year to consolidate his position before the 2009 elections.

Gen Djoko's elevation as defence chief also ties in well with the appointment in September of General Erwin Sujono, formerly Kostrad chief, as the new Kasum, or head of general affairs in the defence force. It will strengthen the army's hold on the defence force. Gen Sujono is Dr Yudhoyono's brother-in-law.

Military analyst Andi Widjajanto of the University of Indonesia said that the President could take advantage of the army network that penetrates right down to the village level.


The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

House ratifies Lombok treaty

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The House of Representatives has ratified a security treaty with Australia that includes a formal acknowledgement of Indonesia's sovereignty over Australia.

During their plenary meeting Tuesday, all parties at the House of Representatives agreed to ratify the treaty, over a year after Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda and his then Australian counterpart Alexander Downer signed it in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

Head of House of Representatives' Commission I on security, defense and international affairs Theo L Sambuaga, who presented the treaty before the plenary session, confirmed after the meeting that there had been no objections to the treaty, and added that it needed only the President's signature the treaty to take effect as a law.

The Australian Parliament ratified the treaty some weeks ago.

"We all feel relief because Australia has formally acknowledged our territorial integration, including on Papua. The treaty also requires Australia to prohibit its territory from being used by separatist movements against us. It means that we have less pressure from separatism," Theo of the Golkar Party told The Jakarta Post.

That pact, among other, specifies that "The Parties shall not in any manner support or participate in activities by any person or entity which constitutes a threat to the stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of the other party, including by those who seek to use its territory for encouraging or committing such activities, including separatism, in the territory of the other party."

The Australian government through its embassy in Jakarta also welcomed the news of the ratification.

"The Australian embassy warmly welcomed news of the House of Representatives' ratification of the Lombok Treaty," embassy spokesman John Williams said in a text message.

Papua has been an ongoing source of tension between the two countries, with Jakarta frequently accusing Australia of supporting a separatist movement and Canberra expressing concerns about allegations of human rights violations in the province.

The two countries signed their first bilateral Agreement on Maintaining Security in 1995, with both nations pledging to meet regularly on defense issues.

However, an angry Jakarta rescinded the treaty in 1999 following Australian military involvement in the former province of East Timor (now Timor Leste) during and after its referendum for independence.

The Lombok agreement has been touted since the beginning of last year but many observers believed it would be left in limbo after Canberra granted provisional refugee status to Papuan asylum seekers in April, causing Jakarta to call its ambassador home as a protest.

Besides formal recognition of Indonesia's territorial integrity, the treaty will also strengthen security ties, with stronger anti-terrorism cooperation and joint naval border patrols.

In addition, the treaty allows greater cooperation on civilian nuclear research and could lead to Australian sales of uranium to Indonesia.

But rights groups have said that the security treaty is a "dirty deal" which casts Australia as a de facto Indonesian ally in the conflict in Papua.

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