Questioning The Next Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander
In March next year, Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo will retire from his position as the Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander. The basic questions is who will be chosen by President Jokowi to be the next Indonesian Military commander. The 2004 TNI law stipulates that candidates for the TNI’s top post must be the chief of staff of one of its three forces.
However, a tradition emerged after the fall of the new order regime that established a pattern to decide where the next TNI commander should come from Navy-Army-Air Force-Army.
Now, as the nation gears up for regional elections across 171 regions next year, as well as legislative and presidential elections in 2019, Jokowi may once again defy tradition when considering a replacement for Gatot Nurmantyo.
Analysts, however, have urged Jokowi to return to the pattern, arguing that the tradition is important to maintain the spirit of TNI reform, especially regarding military professionalism, as well as to ensure harmony among the three forces.
Taking that into account, Air Force chief of staff Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto could be the strongest candidate for the position of TNI commander, followed by Navy chief of staff Adm. Ade Supandi, while Army chief of staff Gen. Mulyono is the least likely option.
According to Al A’raf from Imparsial, a TNI commander from Air Force fits with the ambition to develop maritime security, which requires synergy between the Air Force and the Navy.
“Another TNI commander with Air Force background could assist Jokowi in realizing gis vision of transforming the contry into a global maritime power by developing its maritime defense system which also requires an outward-looking security policy,” Al Araf said as quoted The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
He acknowledged that, as the country prepares for elections in 2018 and 2019, it was necessary for Jokowi to name a TNI commander who could safeguard the military’s neutrality. “Historically, the Air Force has a relatively minimal experience with politics”, he said.
Meanwhile, many of political and security analyst have suggested that Jokowi’s 2019 political aspiration could also influence his pick for the next TNI commander. However, it will be better if Jokowi not to name Gatot’s successor based on such political considerations. What should be taken into consideration is concerns over the sectoral ego between the three forces.
Separately in Bandung, defence analyst Muradi of Bandung-based Padjajaran University said the next TNI commander should be able to develop more effective communication avenues to avoid misapprehensions with the Defence Ministry as well as Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Ministry, which has been apparent in several issues, including the recent furor surrounding weapons procurement.
In my point of view, the next TNI commander must choose from the Air Force or the Navy, because the current core target of national development is boosting and spurring a maritime sector as a main leading sector of national development purposes. The Navy admiral will be know better than the Air Force marshals and the Army general related to the potential threats from a maritime sector which could be endangering the national development program, which had been decided by Nawa Cita program during Jokowi’s administration tenure.
Beside of that, the Navy admiral or the Air Force marshals whose to be the next the Indonesian Military commander relatively can be promised about the neutrality of the armed forces during the next presidential elections, even less related to several pollsters institution survey result that Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo is also a potential vice presidential candidate.
I think the neutrality of three pivot national security pillars such as the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) during the next legislative and presidential elections is a must, because one of them will be un-neutral at the next general elections, the people will be judged them as un-professional institutions and public trust could be down-graded to them.
Essentially, the main task of the next TNI commander is how to build TNI’s member pride serving to the lovely country through just only at TNI institutions, even though TNI’s member could be assigned at civil institutions referring the Indonesian Military law.
Basically and honestly, we can see that every TNI’s member will be happy if they are wearing their uniform during they are fullfiling their job, because its look like more handsome, gallant, and prestigious be comparing if they are wearing civil uniform because they are assigning as civilian high-rank officials.
Other main job of the next TNI commander is how to maintain and to strengthen closed-cooperation with the National Police in order to handle several the next strategically threats such as cyber war and cyber crime, e-commerce trap war, stealing national resources, the negative effects from several strategic development efforts such as Jakarta bay reclamations, which has been analysing with several political interest, it could be hub and center of strategic surprises for the next national security conditions and last but not least the next threats from the scenario of blue oceans power struggles and spatial power struggles. Hopefully.
*) Agung Virdianto, an observer especially on the subjects of political studies.