Armed Forces Overview: The Indonesia Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia—TNI) totaled some 346,000 active-duty personnel in 2004. The component services are the Army (TNI—Angkatan Darat), 265,000; Navy (TNI—Angkatan Laut), an estimated 57,000, of which 15,000 are marines and 1,000 are part of Naval Aviation; and Air Force (TNI—Angkatan Udara), 24,000, of which 4,000 are “quick-action” paratroopers. There is a reserve force of 400,000. With the transition to democratic rule beginning in 1998, the government endeavored to undertake steps to reform the TNI in order to improve public opinion about the military and to bring the military under civilian control. Among such steps were the devolution of the national police from the armed forces to the Office of the President and official transfer of responsibility for internal security from the TNI to the police in April 1999, focusing the military’s attention on national defense rather than domestic policing. Another important reform was a provision that military personnel had to retire or resign before occupying an elected or appointed civilian government position. However, the TNI successfully resisted transformation of its territorial command structure because of threats of terrorism and separatism, and because it needs this structure to support its huge business empire, from which it obtains an estimated two-thirds of its funding (the government budget provides only one-third of the funds needed to operate and equip the military and national police). After several years in disrepute because of revelations of extensive human rights abuses, the TNI has regained much of its lost prestige. Many Indonesians appear to favor military firmness as the country is facing terrorist, separatist, and ethnic conflict as well as a moribund economy.
Foreign Military Relations: Indonesia enjoys cordial military-to-military relations with a wide range of nations. Its closest ties are with fellow members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Formerly close ties to the United States, Australia, and some European countries became strained in the 1990s over human rights issues; many countries cut back their military relations with the TNI after the rampage of army and army-supported militia forces in East Timor in 1999. Because of arms sales embargoes imposed by its primary sources in the United States, Indonesia has turned to Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union, South Korea, and Poland, among others, for major arms purchases.
Human rights and political issues have also affected sales of foreign military equipment to Indonesia, but such tensions eased after East Timor gained independence in 2002. In 1992 the U.S. Congress terminated grant military training assistance (International Military Education and Training—IMET) after learning of Indonesian military human rights abuses in East Timor. This restriction was partially relaxed in 1995, but assistance was suspended again in 1999 as a result of violence following the referendum on East Timor’s separation from Indonesia.
External Threat: Indonesia has no conventional external threat to its security. The primary outside threat is that of international terrorism. Terrorists belonging to the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (Community of Islam) have conducted a number of recent bomb attacks, including the bombing of two night clubs on Bali in October 2002 that killed 202 people and injured more than 300, while a bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August 2003 killed 12 people and injured 150. Prompt police investigative actions and international cooperation resulted in the arrests of dozens of suspects and revealed an extensive network of affiliations among al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Islamic extremist groups inside Indonesia. More than 30 men were convicted in the Bali bombing case and several more in the Jakarta attack. Many of them were also involved in other terrorist attacks across Indonesia dating back to 2000. Another terrorist bombing, that of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in September 2004, killed ten people and injured 160 and led to a new round of investigations and tightened security. Other threats to Indonesian security include piracy, particularly in the Strait of Malacca, smuggling, and maritime poaching.
Defense Budget: Indonesia’s defense budget officially totaled approximately Rp1.26 trillion (US$1.4 billion using an exchange rate of Rp9,000 to US$1), or 1.06 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in FY 2004. However, most analysts believe that approximately two-thirds of military spending is derived from sources other than the official defense budget (diversions from other budgetary entities and from the military’s huge business empire) and that actual expenditures for FY 2003 were closer to nearly Rp 3.8 trillion (US$4.2 billion).
Major Military Units: The army includes 30 battalions under the centrally controlled Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), 100 battalions under 12 Military Regional Commands (Kodams), 3 operational groups in the Army Special Forces Command (Kopassus), and a 2-squadron Aviation Command. The navy has two fleets (Armadas), and the air force has two operational commands (Ko-Ops).
Major Military Equipment: The army is equipped with 325 light tanks, 175 armored reconnaissance vehicles, more than 600 armored personnel carriers (APCs), 245 towed artillery pieces, 70 self-propelled artillery pieces, 415 air defense guns, more than 100 surface-to-air missiles, 11 fixed-wing aircraft, and almost 100 helicopters. The navy’s inventory includes 2 submarines, 15 frigates, several dozen patrol and coastal combatants of various sizes, 12 mine warfare ships, and 26 amphibious forces ships (landing ship tanks). Many of the navy’s main line ships are in poor or non-seaworthy condition, particularly those acquired in the mid-1990s from the former East Germany. The navy has no combat aircraft but does have more than 40 non-combatant fixed-wing aircraft, 37 armed helicopters, and 17 transport helicopters. The marines (Kormar) have 100 light tanks, 10 anti-infantry fighting vehicles, 84 APCs, 48 towed artillery pieces, and about 50 air defense guns. The air force is equipped with 94 combat aircraft, 3 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, 2 tankers, 63 transports, 100 trainers, and 40 helicopters. As is the case with the navy, many of the aircraft are non-operational because of a lack of spare parts and other maintenance problems. The current inventory has arms supplied by the Netherlands, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There is increasing emphasis on domestic production of such items as light aircraft, small arms, and ammunition; helicopters and transport aircraft are assembled under licensing agreements. Senior officials with the air force and navy have complained that few ships, planes, or weapons systems are operational, and most are obsolete.
Military Service: The earliest age of service is 18, and two years of selective conscription of males are authorized.
Military Forces Abroad: Indonesian forces abroad are currently involved in several United Nations peacekeeping operations: the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC; 13 peacekeepers, including 4 observers), United Nations Organization Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG, 4 observers), and United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL, 10 observers).
Police: The strength of the Indonesian National Police stood at approximately 285,000 in 2004. The national police force was formally separated as a branch of the armed forces and placed under the Office of the President in 1999. It also includes 12,000 marine police and an estimated 40,000 People’s Security (Kamra) trainees who serve as a police auxiliary and report for three weeks of basic training each year. There has been occasional friction between police and the military, with several instances of armed combat between them, usually caused by disputes over “turf” and shady business enterprises.
Internal Threats and Terrorism: There are two general threats to Indonesian domestic security: terrorism and ethnic and religious conflict. The terrorists causing the greatest problems in Indonesia are members of the regional group, Jemaah Islamiyah (Community of Islam). Although Jemaah Islamiyah operates primarily in Indonesia, it has operational units in peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. Jemaah Islamiyah has perpetrated significant terrorist acts and is believed to have strong links with al-Qaeda. The government announced at the time of the October 2002 Bali bombings that terrorism was “a real and potential threat to national security” and has called upon the public to confront domestically based terrorists.
Center-region relations have been perennially problematic, with the government continuing to experience difficulties in maintaining order and the rule of law in outlying regions. The most pressing threats are separatists in Aceh and Papua (formerly Irian Jaya). The major insurgent groups are Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM—Free Aceh Movement), which wants an independent Islamic state in Aceh and has an estimated strength of 2,000 armed activists; and Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM—Free West Papua Movement), which seeks independence for Papua and has an estimated 150 activists.
Other regions also experienced outbreaks of violence, some of them very serious, after 1996. These include religious violence in Maluku and Central Sulawesi, ethnic violence over land use and local power in Kalimantan and other locales, and violence involving both political-religious hostility as well as hysteria about the misuse of supernatural powers in East Java. There have been many incidents of anti-Chinese riots in urban areas, some of them very destructive. On several occasions, most notably in 2001, radical Muslim groups have “swept” parts of Jakarta, cities in central Java, and other tourist areas, threatening Westerners.
Human Rights: The United States Department of State’s Human Rights Report for 2003 (issued in February 2004) rates the Indonesian government’s human rights record as “poor” and notes that Indonesia has “continued to commit serious abuses.” Murders, torture, rape, beatings, and arbitrarily detaining civilians and members of separatist movements were all documented as abuses by security force members. The government also was accused of having frequently failed to protect adequately the fundamental rights of children, women, peaceful protesters, journalists, disabled persons, religious minorities, and indigenous people, among others. Aceh and Papua provinces were seen as the scenes of the most apparent human rights abuses, but human rights appeared to have improved in some provinces, for example Maluku and North Maluku, despite sporadic outbreaks of violence.