The House of Representatives (DPR) finally approved the appointment of General Andika Perkasa as Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI). For critics, the fit test that took place three days after the delivery of Presidential Letter R-5 / Pres / 10/2021 tended to be greeted pessimistically and interpreted as nothing more than a simple formality.
In fact, there are four substances that can be learned from the submission of a work plan that will be performed for approximately 400 days by the 1987 Military Academy alumnus.
The first is a commitment to military professionalism. In addition to Law 34/2004, the government and the DPR have established a number of sectoral regulatory frameworks relating to the implementation of defense and security, including disaster management (2007), transport maritime (2008), aviation (2009), handling social conflicts (2012), maritime affairs (2014) and search and rescue (2014). Since 2004, the TNI has carried out “non-war military operations” on several occasions, both at home and abroad.
In a meeting with Commission I, General Andika stressed that the implementation of TNI obligations based on existing laws should be reorganized so as not to assume functions and develop skills that should be the responsibility of ‘other ministries / agencies. This commitment appears to be materialized by updating regulations and operational guidelines related to military operations other than war. Thus, the TNI can focus more on developing its capabilities as the “war force” of the Republic of Indonesia.
Second, the future military reorganization plan. In accordance with Presidential Regulation No. 66/2019, the TNI headquarters and the armed forces initiated various structural changes, such as the formation of new units or commands and the validation of existing organizations. Many duties await the successor of Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto. Among other things, the establishment of the TNI Supply Center and the Republic of Indonesia Fleet Command and the validation of the National Air Defense Command.
Indonesia’s security environment is expected to become more complicated due to hegemonic competition and resource struggles in the Indo-Pacific region. Apart from having to align with the direction of Indonesia’s foreign policy, military cooperation can no longer be structured on a sectoral basis without taking into account the consequences for national interests outside the defense sector. . In this context, the role of the TNI International Cooperation Center will be increasingly central in consolidating activities, such as personnel exchanges and military training between Indonesia and partner countries in the future.
No less important are the cases of violence involving members of the TNI in recent times. The appointment of the Deputy Attorney General for Military Crime to the Attorney General’s Office is the latest step in ensuring that there is no practice of impunity in the military. These efforts should be continued by General Andika by revitalizing the role of oversight units, such as the Military Police Center and the Legal Development Agency in enforcing military discipline and promoting legal awareness among soldiers. .
The third substance concerns the priority of developing defense capabilities and capabilities. With a relatively short tenure of around thirteen months, the military modernization program that the new TNI commander can fulfill tends to be limited. The focus is likely to be on institutional strengthening and improving support infrastructure to enhance the operational readiness of troops.
The current dynamics in the waters of North Natura Sea and Sulu actually require an increase in border patrol activities. However, limited resources are a classic problem that still haunts Indonesia’s defense development. Accordingly, improvements in the command and control mechanism are a priority to increase the speed of response of TNI units to incidents of territorial violations by foreign countries or transnational groups.
General Andika also stressed the urgency of coordination between intelligence units in conflict-prone areas, such as Papua and Poso. The speed and accuracy of weather, terrain and enemy information is one of the main determinants of the success of counterterrorism or counterinsurgency operations. Without this, it will be difficult for TNI to win “the hearts and minds” of the local community.
Another program that will be carried out next year is the strengthening of cyber defense capacities. The majority of military organizations around the world are trying to develop their capabilities in cybertechnology. Over the past five years, Indonesia has established two organizational cyber military units, namely the TNI Cyber Unit (2016) and the Army Cyber and Crypto Center (2020).
The plan to constitute a “rapid reaction team” indicates that the new commander of the TNI tends to adopt a cyber defense doctrine of a defensive nature rather than relying on an offensive strategy to neutralize the adversary’s capabilities.
Fourth, the issue of interoperability between dimensions. “Integrated three-dimensional” jargon is actually not something new in TNI. Former TNI commanders in chief have always referred to the need for synergy and integration between dimensions. Both at meetings with the DPR Commission I and at various public occasions.
It is undeniable that the TNI have adopted the latest technologies in the fields of command, control, communication, IT, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance since the launch of military reform in 2004. However , there is still a lot of work to be done. made so that interoperability between dimensions can really work. All these advances must be tested in various juda simulations to develop new military operational procedures.
Doctrinal and organizational change
To face an increasingly competitive strategic environment in the future, doctrinal and organizational changes must not become a taboo in the military environment. While leading the Army Doctrine, Education and Training Command in 2018, General Andika pioneered the updating of operational doctrine. Among others, the field of operation doctrine raid the release of prisoners, the doctrine of the field of operations to defeat terrorist attacks and the doctrine of the operation of electronic warfare.
General Andika appears to be trying to institutionalize the three-dimensional principle embedded in various models of joint TNI operations. In a meeting with Commission I last weekend, he said that determination would be achieved through the integration of doctrine, strategy and tactics across dimensions. The process of operational codification obviously requires strong military leadership and internal cohesion within the armed forces.
In general, General Andika is very realistic in determining what he can accomplish at the TNI headquarters until the end of 2022. In addition to asserting the identity of the TNI as the “army of the people ”, the short and concise jargon of“ TNI is us ”seems a sign that he must manage his time, which does not reinforce the professionalism of the Indonesian military. Good job, new commander!