Jokowi grants TNI demand for new structure to boost attacks
The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo agreed on Friday to continue with an Indonesian Military (TNI) plan for the formation of defense groups under a joint command, locally abbreviated as Kogabwilhan, designed for flexible and rapid troop deployment.
The plan will integrate the regional resources of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force into multi-service groups that will be positioned in certain defense flashpoints integral to preserving the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Each Kogabwilhan group will be equipped with its own fleet of warships, jet fighter squadrons and Army units. Each group's commander, a three-star general, will be given the authority to respond without having to go through red tape at the TNI headquarters in Jakarta.
'As soon as possible, we will have it materialized. Let the plan be discussed and finalized by the officials before it is given to me,' said Jokowi during a meeting with TNI commander Gen. Moeldoko and commanders of major commands from across the country on Friday at the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java.
'The plan not only includes the Kogabwilhan, but also the Central Armada,' Jokowi said.
Jokowi was referring to the Navy's strategic plan to have three major armadas by 2024, namely the Western Armada, the Central Armada and the Eastern Armada.
Currently, the country divides the Navy's tasks between two commands: the Western Region Armada Command (Armabar) with headquarters in Jakarta and the Navy's Eastern Region Armada Command (Armatim) in Surabaya, East Java.
The plan will set the Eastern Armada flashpoint at Sorong, in West Papua, while it will make Surabaya the headquarters for the Central Armada.
Earlier during the meeting, Moeldoko said that he had proposed the establishment of the three Kogabwilhan to the government.
'We have proposed the plan. We will just wait for the President to give the final say,' he said.
Moeldoko also revealed a plan to built two new Army commands in Manado, North Sulawesi, and Papua.
- New military command structure to speed-up deployment responses
- Structure grants limited autonomy to regional commanders
- Navy to be divided into three main armadas: east, west and central
The idea to build the Kogabwilhan had actually been raised in 2008 under the leadership of Jokowi's predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who failed to issue a regulation endorsing the formation of the new structure.
The previous government had reportedly planned to have four Kogabwilhan groups covering several flashpoints in Aceh, Natuna in Riau Islands, Papua and Atambua in East Nusa Tenggara.
During the meeting, Jokowi also discussed the importance of having what he called 'a big plan' for the TNI's future, including a plan to improve military defense systems.
Measures to deter prevalent illegal fishing by foreign ships operating in Indonesian waters was also high on the agenda, beside the planned policies to improve the welfare of military personnel.
Relevant ministers and officials had previously supported a plan to sink illegal foreign vessels involved in poaching.
Jokowi has repeatedly said the country lost around Rp 300 trillion (US$24 billion) annually from poaching and that there were currently 5,400 illegal ships operating in Indonesian waters because of a lack of firm action by the military and law enforcement authorities.
Several officials have complained about the alleged role of military personnel in backing poaching
However, Jokowi refused to reveal the kind of military policy to be introduced in the near future, saying that regular follow-up meetings with the officers from major commands across the country were needed.
'Later in the next meetings we will discuss the policies thoroughly,' he said.
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