Indonesia Presents White Paper On National
Defence Strategy (1 Apr
On Monday, the Indonesian government released a white paper on
the defence policy. The white paper, which was written by the
Defence Ministry, addressed the various current threats facing
the country. These issues include separatist movements, terrorism,
piracy, illegal logging and people trafficking.
The white paper also appealed for sustaining the army's controversial
territorial function. The territorial function involves Army bases
and posts at all administrative levels down to the village level
and had been blamed for TNI's dictatorship role during the leadership
of former president Soeharto.
But according to Major General Sudrajat, the military's territorial
function was still relevant in relation to building up the country's
defence. This is because Indonesia, unlike United States or Britain,
is not an established country. Indonesia suffers from armed separatist
movements while the police face difficulties in controlling the
movements. However, the government should monitor the territorial
function closely to avoid departure from the socio-political context.
Following the People's Consultative Assembly (DPR) decree No.
7/2000, the police force is assigned with handling home security
while the TNI is allocated to defend the country from external
threats. The military still posses the authority to decide if
it needs to intervene in handling local defence issues.
The 1998 reform movement wanted to dispose the TNI's social and
political function also known as dwifungsi (dual function), as
the Army has abused the role for certain interest.
Some experts argue that such wariness was not necessary as long
as the military carries out its responsibility well and that the
territorial function was the answer to separatist problems and
will also allow the military deal with various external threats.