Citing Israel as an example, Ryacudu champions national defence program

Tribune News – October 12, 2015
State Defense Program parade in Salemba, Jakarta - October 22, 2015 (Kompas)
State Defense Program parade in Salemba, Jakarta - October 22, 2015 (Kompas)

Jakarta – Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has reaffirmed his commitment to realising a national defence movement.

This will moreover be demonstrated through an education program for movement trainers in 45 regencies in Indonesia. Through the Training and Education Board, On October 19 the Ministry of Defence will be promoting a national defense education and training program for 4,500 selected cadre across these regencies.

There will be 100 cadres chosen from more than 500 regencies in Indonesia that will be brought together in the 45 regencies. The program, said Ryacudu, will be a pilot project to train cadre as trainers, which will be followed up by proclamation of the national defence movement on January 1, 2016.

“The cadres will be fashioned to create an Indonesia that is strong in the midst of the complexity of various forms of concrete threats”, said Ryacudu at his office in Central Jakarta on Monday October 12.

According to Ryacudu, this movement is important because he sees Israel as a benchmark where with a total population of only around 7 million it is able to withstand attacks from Palestine. This kind of defense has only been able to be realised because all citizens have consciousness of the need to defend the state.

The former army chief of staff imagines that similar conditions could be put into effect in Indonesia. With a total population of 250 million or more, he believes that the fatherland has a huge potential to defend the state.

If just half of the population is able to mentally digest the importance of national defense then it is certain that Indonesia’s defense forces will not be disparaged.

“We have 100 million of the population that has the potential to become national defense cadre. Imagine if 100 million Indonesian citizens had the personal capacity to defend the state, it would be the same as having 100 million soldiers”, he said.

Ryacudu hopes that the cadreisation process will be a success and the national defense movement will be able to proceed. The target over the next 10 years is for half the population or 100 million Indonesians to join the program. Ryacudu however insists that the program will have no relationship with military conscription as applied in other countries.

In order to ensure its success, the Ministry of Defence has already drafted a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with other ministries such as the Ministry of Culture and Education (Kemendikbud).

In order to put state defense into practice as an element of the education curriculum, this will be done by cultivating an attitude of state defence early on in the Indonesian nation.

“This program is not military conscription, but the cultivation of a consciousness of national defense. So we are preparing to develop individual discipline, from which will emerge group discipline, which will develop into a consciousness of national defence”, said the minister.

The implementation of this movement, according to Ryacudu, is in accordance with Article 27 of the 1945 Constitution pertaining to the rights and obligations of citizens in national defense.

The supervisors of the state defence cadres will be made up of local government personnel and social and religious figures from around the country. Because of this therefore, Ryacudu will also bring in Ministry of Home Affairs (Kemendagri) in order to take advantage of local governments in the fatherland.

“So later on regional governments will cooperate with local Kodam [regional military commands] and Kodim [district military commands]. In the initial stage we can call on governors and regents to get things warmed up. What’s important is how to synchronise citizen’s minds, namely to love the state”, he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Contoh Israel, Ryamizard Komitmen Realisasikan Gerakan Nasional Bela Negara.]


Ryamizard Ryacudu is a former army general known for his hardline stance on separatism and xenophobic remarks and criticism of rights activists. In 2001 he praised the killing of prominent Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay, saying the Kopassus (Special Forces) soldiers who murdered him were “heroes”. He is a close ally of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri and as army chief of staff during her presidency oversaw military operations in Aceh and Papua resulting in countless civilian casualties.