TNI wants military officers to hold senior posts in ministries, state institutions

CNN Indonesia – January 31, 2019
TNI chief Air Martial Hadi Tjahjanto inspects troops (Puspen TNI)
TNI chief Air Martial Hadi Tjahjanto inspects troops (Puspen TNI)

Jakarta – Indonesian military (TNI) chief Air Martial Hadi Tjahjanto says that the TNI is revising Law Number 34/2004 on the TNI (UU TNI) so that middle- and high-ranking military officers can serve in government ministries and state institutions.

Tjahjanto said that this is in response to efforts to reorganise the TNI to resolve the problem of providing positions for around 500 middle- and high-ranking officers.

Tjahjanto stated that the active TNI officers will be able to occupy positions comparable to echelon I and echelon II civil servants in each of the related ministries.

“Particularly Article 47 [of the UU TNI], we want active TNI officers to be able to occupy echelon I and II positions in state institutions and ministries. Of course this will also absorb lower echelon positions so colonels can get in”, said Tjahjanto at the TNI’s headquarters Cilangkap, Jakarta, on Thursday January 31.

The former air force chief-of-staff said that for now the TNI will obey prevailing regulations because he is still waiting for revisions to the UU TNI to be completed in order to realise the plan.

“What’s clear is that in order for these class revisions we only need to issue a perpres [presidential regulation] because there’s already a keppres [presidential decree]. At the very least it will reduce the 500 [officers] cited earlier to as few as 150 to 200 [colonels], hopefully”, said Tjahjanto.

This will not just be an external change. Tjahjanto also explained that a process of organisational restructuring will be carried out internally to accommodate officers without posts.

He gave the example of sub-regional military commands (Korem) of type B status that are commanded by colonels which will be raised to the status of Korem type A and will be commanded by a someone of brigadier general or one-star general rank.

“Automatically this will add a colonel because the [Koream] assistant [commanders] which were lieutenant colonels will become colonels, this alone will absorb them”, he said.

In addition to this, the position of commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad, Green Berets) Inspectorate which is currently held by an officer with the rank of brigadier general will be raised to a two-star general or major general rank.

Tjahjanto explained that a simulation on improvements to the TNI’s organisational structure has shown that this will be able to absorb around 60 new TNI senior officers with the rank of brigadier general, major general and lieutenant general.

Tjahjanto admitted that this mechanism is being pursued because there are still a majority of colonels, most of which come from the army, who do not yet have posts.

In order to arrange this, the TNI will form Joint Area Defense Commands (Kogabwilhan) and TNI Special Commands (Kopsus) which will be able to accommodate high-ranking TNI officers.

“With the planned 60 additional new slots for high-ranking officers starting with one-star, two-star and three-star [generals], it will absorb at least 150 to 200 colonels”, he said. (rzr/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Revisi UU, Perwira TNI Akan Dapat Jabatan di Kementerian”.]