Indonesia’ Military Wants to Returns the Dual-Function

Photo by: Indonesia Army

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The plan for the Indonesian Army Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto to expand the new jobs of high-ranking army officers and state institutions has drawn criticism. Efforts to channel high-ranking officers without a position to civil’ jobs are considered to create new problems.

The plan to add new posts to the army emerged last week at the military leaders meeting in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, which was attended by President Joko Widodo.

“We want that the institutions or ministries that can be occupied by the active militarists first or second echelon. Of course it will also absorb the echelons below, so the colonel can enter there,” he said.

Previously, Widodo also had the opportunity to reveal a restructuring plan in the military in the form of adding 60 new structural positions to high ranking officers, Widodo said at the State Palace on Tuesday last week.

But Tjahjanto said that this step was still hampered and needed to wait for the revision of Law No. 34 of 2004 concerning the military, especially Article 47 so that middle officers and high-ranking officers could serve in state institutions.

This discourse was highlighted by the Parliament because it was considered to have returned the dual function military of the New Order.

Deputy chairperson of the Indonesian Parliament Herman Khaeron said basically civil officials should not be occupied by active military soldiers. He emphasized that the work of military soldiers to ministries and civil institutions was not in accordance with Law No. 34 Year 2004, concerning the military and was contrary to the mandate of reform.

“In article 47 it is stated, soldiers can only occupy civilian positions after resigning or retiring from active military service,” Khaeron said.

The law also states that active soldiers can only occupy positions in an office in charge of the coordinator of the political and national security sector, national defense, presidential military secretary, state intelligence, state code, National Defense Agency, National Defense Council, Search and Rescue, national narcotics, and the Supreme Court.

But Khaeron stated, that to this day the draft revision of the Law had not been sent to the parliament. It will wait for the proposed revision and do not want the military dual-function to be revived.

Similar criticism was conveyed by researcher Center for Strategic and International Studies, Evan Laksmana. He said that the soaring number of unemployed generals could be predicted since Law Number 34 Year 2004 concerning the military was ratified.

The general retirement age which increased from 55 to 58 years caused the queue to increase the rank of officers below it to be longer. In addition, the end of the dual-function (the period when the army could occupy civilian positions) since the reform era caused many high-ranking officers to lose their jobs.

Supposedly, said Laksmana, the government took anticipatory steps since the law was made. Resolved through good personnel management and regeneration. It cannot only pass through short-term solutions with the addition of new structures.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Imparsial, said that the revision of the Military Law was not in line with the military reform agenda and could disrupt the democratic governance system. The reform requires the military to stop politics and one of its features is that the active military no longer occupies civilian positions.

The Director of Imparsial, Al-Araf, assessed that the addition of dozens of new post positions in the military was only a short-term solution. At the same time, the state budget for the military will swell. He estimates that at least 40-50 percent of the defense budget will be used up to pay for militarists personnel.

While on the other hand Indonesia is in desperate need of improving the welfare of soldiers and strengthening a weapon in the midst of a limited budget.

Al-Araf also assessed that the accumulation of the number of officers was also caused by the recruitment of military staff and command schools that were not downsized. Every year, there are around 300 graduates. If the number of school recruitment is not reduced, there will be 600 officers unemployed by 2027, he said.

Based on data from the Ministry of Defense, the number of high-ranking military officers who have been unemployed has continued to accumulate since nine years ago. In the Army, for example, in 2011 there were 11 generals who did not get positions. That number jumped to 63 generals in 2017.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: