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Jakarta Post

Insight: How do we know a successful defense minister when we see one?

  • Evan A. Laksmana
    Evan A. Laksmana

    Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 19, 2019   /  09:38 am
Insight: How do we know a successful defense minister when we see one? President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo greets Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto during the inauguration of ministers and Cabinet officers at the State Palace (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Retired general Prabowo Subianto does not appear to have hit the ground running as defense minister. Last week, during his first public hearing with House of Representatives Commission 1, which oversees, among other matters, defense, he acknowledged he was still “taking stock” of the numerous defense challenges. This is perhaps why he did not propose anything fundamentally different from his predecessors. His presentation of Indonesia’s strategic outlook (“defensive, not offensive”), broad goals (“handling three hot spots simultaneously”) or basic defense posture are essentially decades-old ideas. Some are also skeptical of his underdeveloped notion of reviving the Total People’s Defense system and his insistence on keeping budget details away from public scrutiny, although he probably gave details of his work plan to lawmakers in a c...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.