Indonesian President Joko Widodo has decided to revive the post of military deputy commander after around two decades of the position's removal - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has decided to revive the post of military deputy commander after around two decades of the position’s removal. The president signed Presidential Regulation No. 66/2019 mandating the return of a deputy commander to assist the national armed forces commander in leading the military.

Generally, the deputy commander is under and responsible to the military commander and becomes the coordinator of the development of national armed forces strength in order to realize and improve the interoperability of the forces. Only a four-star general, admiral or marshal are eligible to hold the deputy commander post, according to the regulation.

The deputy commander is responsible for assisting the military commander in various matters related to, among other things, the implementation of state defense policies, the organizational arrangement of the army and the development of the military strategy. The second in command is also given the mandate to carry out the commander’s duties when the latter is unavailable.

“I need to convey, the proposal does not suddenly appear out of nowadays. It has long been proposed. It will greatly assist the commander in technical matters of the organization, especially when the commander goes abroad and others. So it does not have to then delegate to the chief of staff,” minister of state secretary Pratikno told reporters in Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java on Thursday (11/07).

Pratikno went on, the deputy will also be able to assist in carrying out the daily duties of the commander, giving advice, and to build and develop the military strength. The existence of deputy positions occurred at other institutions in Indonesia for the sake of smooth running of duties, he said.

“The chief of police also has the deputy. Attorney general, chief of staff, some ministries also has their deputy. I think this is something that is very reasonable and necessary,” he adds.

The new regulation, a copy of which can access through the State Secretariat’s website, replaces a regulation on the same matter that was issued in July. Article 13 stipulates that the leadership of the national armed forces ─ which supervises the army, navy and air force ─ comprises a commander and deputy commander.

The deputy commander position was created in 1998 when Wiranto led the military, which was then known as the Indonesian Armed Forces, during which he also served as defense minister.

The last person to serve as deputy commander position was Fachrul Razi before then-president Abdurrahman Wahid removed the post in September 2000 to streamline the military. Razi now serves as the religious affairs minister in Widodo’s second-term Cabinet.

Cutting the Bureaucratic Echelon System

President Widodo in his inauguration speech at the People’s Consultative Assembly on Oct. 20 said that he would streamline the structures of echelon 3 (administrator position), echelon 4 (supervisory position) and echelon 5 (executive position) in the bureaucracy.

Pratikno underlined that streamlining the echelon is intended to reduce the range of decision making so that the government can move quickly. That is an important part of the government’s efforts to carry out bureaucratic reform.

“This is actually an important part of the President’s strategic program, namely deregulation and bureaucratization. This is related to the range of decision making. So how is the range of decision making shortened,” he said.

During this time, the level of echelon that is quite a lot often makes leadership instructions must first pass through a long bureaucratic chain. Optimization of this is the main goal of the echelon downsizing idea.

The minister also emphasized that streamlining the echelons need not be an excessive concern for the state apparatus. Because, the idea is not at all related to the reduction of employees, demotion, reduced space for promotion, let alone to the reduction in income.

“On the other hand, the echelon downsizing actually opens the widest possible opportunity for state civil apparatus to occupy functional positions. It is possible for them to continue to work based on their competencies and expertise,” he ended.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com