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The Nature and Future of Civil-Military Relations in Indonesia Terence Lee Asian Survey, Vol. 40, No. 4. (Jul.

- Aug., 2000), pp. 692-706.

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Terence Lee
Since Suharto's fall from grace in May 1998, there has been mounting pressure for the Indonesian armed forces (TNI, Tentara Nasional Indonesia) to end their role in politics. Events and developments over the past few years, such as the handling of the May 1998 riots and reports of its abuses, have cast doubt on the armed forces' claims to fulfilling their selfassigned dual function (dwifungsi) role in the country. Indeed, the armed forces' reputation is at the lowest point that it's been in more than 30 years. In a survey the Indonesian Center for the Study of Development and Democracy conducted some three months after Suharto's downfall and just when the extent of the military's abuses was becoming apparent, more than half of the respondents did not believe or were uncertain about whether the armed forces were comrnited to the peop1e.l The topic of civil-military relations in Indonesia has generated a fair amount of scholarship over the years. Of the works that have appeared over the past three decades explaining the Indonesian armed forces' involvement in politics, two in particular have stood out. The first, propounded by Harold Crouch, suggests that the Indonesian military's participation in politics can be attributed to two factors. First, the military's orientation has been political from the very beginning. Most officers did not join the armed forces because they were interested in pursuing a professional military career; rather, they
Terence Lee is an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The author is grateful to Khong Yuen Foong, Ang Cheng Guan, and the anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments on an earlier draft.

Asian Survey, 40:4, pp. 692-706. ISSN: 0004-4687

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1. "Survey Reveals ABRI's Poor Image," Jakarta Post, September 29, 1998.



were motivated by the nationalist struggle against colonialism. Many continued to involve themselves in politics over the years and never regarded themselves as apolitical. Second, this political orientation was strengthened by what these officers saw as the failure of successive civilian governments in the post-independence period. The military considered itself as the only political force capable of ensuring order and stability in a nation that had seen continuous political turmoil since independencee2 The second approach, suggested by Ulf Sundhaussen, adapts S. E. Finer's work on military intervention to explain the expansion of the Indonesian armed forces nonmilitary roles from 1945 to 1967. Finer suggests that armed forces move into the political realm when there is a confluence of internal ("disposition" to intervene) and external ("opportunity" to intervene) factors. Using these two categorizations, Sundhaussen argues that the Indonesian armed forces' active and direct involvement in politics since independence is attributable to the military defending its corporate interests against civilian infringements (the disposition) and the failure of civilian governments to run the country (the ~pportunity).~ This article adapts and improves on Sundhaussen's study by presenting an analytical framework that will not only elucidate the nature of civil-military relations in Indonesia but also comment on the possible future of this relationship. This will be done by adopting a two-step framework that involves elucidating the reasons why the Indonesian armed forces' intervened into politics in the first place and subsequently noting what attempts, if any, have been made to enhance civilian authority or supremacy in the country.

Evolution of the Indonesian Armed Forces' Role in Politics

The Indonesian armed forces' involvement in politics is epitomized by the dwifungsi doctrine. Dwifungsi is an assertion that it is legitimate and necessary for the Indonesian armed forces to take on both military and nonmilitary roles. In its traditional role, the military's responsibility is to ensure the defense and security of the republic; in its nonmilitary role, the armed forces are a political entity that function as the guardian of the people and can control appointments to important civil service and governmental positions. The
2. Harold Crouch, "Indonesia," in Military-Civilian Relations in Southeast Asia, eds. Zakaria Haji Ahmad and Harold Crouch (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 50. A similar but less fleshed out argument by Crouch also appears in Harold Crouch, The Army and Politics in Indonesia (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University, 1988), p. 35. 3. S. E. Finer, The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics (London: Pall Mall Press, 1962), chaps. 4-6; and Ulf Sundhaussen, The Road to Power: lndorzesian Military Politics 1945-1967 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 255-73.



concept of dwifungsi was endorsed as a doctrine for the armed forces in 1966 and given constitutional standing when it was passed as state law in 1982.4 However, dwifungsi and its idea that the military should play a political role did not originate with Suharto's New Order period; since independence, the Indonesian military (the army in particular) has involved itself in politics to varying degrees. They have asserted their right to do so on the basis of the key role the embryonic army played in the war of independence. While the civilian political leadership led by Sukarno sought to negotiate with the Dutch, the military leaders rallied for an armed struggle to the end. The defining moment that gave rise to the Indonesian military's belief in its political role occurred in December 1948 when the army became the government after the civilian leadership led by Sukarno allowed themselves to be taken prisoner following the Dutch capture of the capital, Yogyakarta. This event had two important consequences. First, it set the stage for a period of guerrilla resistance in which the army continued the struggle for independence with the support of the general population. As a consequence, many Indonesians came to equate the army with the nascent republic. Second, the capture of Sukarno and the rest of the civilian leadership gave rise to the belief among the army that the civilians had betrayed the nation at a time when they were needed most.5 In essence, by the time the Dutch handed sovereignty to Indonesia in 1949, a mindset had developed among the army that they were not merely the "executive agents but shareholders of the corporate body-the Republic of Ind~nesia."~ The other key event in defining and entrenching the armed forces' political role occurred in 1957 with the collapse of parliamentary democracy. As in its intervention during the war for independence, the army this time "saved the nation from impending crisis by putting down the Pemerintah Revolusioner Republik Indonesia (PRRI, Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia) and Piagam Perjuangan Semesta Alam (Permesta, Universal Struggle Charter) rebellion^.^ These revolts were crushed after martial law came into effect throughout the archipelago. The key consequence of this intervention was the penetration of military officers into political, administra4. Muthiah Alagappa, "The Military: Professionalism and the Developmental Role," in Soldiers and Stability in Southeast Asia, eds. Soedjati Djiwandono and Yong Mun Cheong (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1988), p. 25. 5. David Jenkins, "The Evolution of Indonesian Army Doctrinal Thinking: The Concept of Dwifungsi," Southeast Asian Journal of Social Sciences 11:2 (1983), pp. 16-17. 6. Guy Pauker, "The Role of the Military in Indonesia," in The Role of the Militaq, in Underdeveloped Countries, ed. John Johnston (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 207. 7. The PRRI and Permesta rebellions were regional uprisings, the former occurring in Sulawesi and the latter in Sumatra. Both originated with the regional military commanders' dissatisfaction over Jakarta's unequal distribution of political power and economic returns from regional exports of raw materials.

tive, and economic functions. To justify the army's continued role in these areas, then-Army Chief-of-Staff Major-General A. H Nasution, speaking in Magelang in November 1958 at the first anniversary of the National Military Academy, formulated the concept of jalan tengah (Middle Way). He contended that the army's role in Indonesian society was to be neither just a "civilian tool" as in Western countries nor a "military regime" that dominates state power. Rather, it was to operate as one of many forces in society, literally, a force for the struggle of the people (kekuatan perjuangan rakyat), which works together with other people's forces (kekuatan rakyat l ~ i n n y a ) . ~ As such, the army must, as Daniel Lev noted in his summary of Nasution's speech, be "granted an opportunity to participate in the government on an individual basis and to make use of their nonmilitary skills in helping develop the nation. . . . Officers must be permitted to participate in determining economic, financial, international and other policies. Therefore they must have a place in all institutions of the ~ t a t e . " ~ Analytical Framework The analytical framework necessary for understanding the nature and the future of the Indonesian military's involvement in politics comprises two steps. First, understanding the nature of civil-military relations in Indonesia entails comprehending at the outset how and why the Indonesian armed forces got involved in politics in the first place. These questions, I contend, hold the key to grasping the nature of civil-military relations in Indonesia. As I show below, throughout Indonesia's post-war history there has been a repeated confluence of two variables-the military defending its corporate interests (dispositions) and the failure of political institutions (opportunities)-each time the armed forces intervenes into the political realm. Second, assessing the future of civil-military relations in Indonesia involves noting attempts to enhance civilian authority or supremacy in Indonesia. In other words, the future of the TNI's role in politics depends largely on the degree of civilian authority or supremacy within the Indonesian polity. When civilian authority is ascendant, the military is more likely to be disengaged from the political realm for it will face a greater impediment to any attempt to intervene in politics. Enhancing civilian authority in this context would require more than simply minimizing the TNI's ability to get involved in politics. It would call for establishing the primacy of civilian officials (both executive and legislative) in all areas of policy, including the formula8. See Sundhaussen, The Road to Power, p. 127; Daniel Lev, The Trarzsition to Guided Democracy: Indonesia12 Politics, 1957-58 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University, 1966), pp. 191-92; and A. H. Nasution, Totzggak, Tonggak Dwi Fzlrzgsi (Milestones of dwifirngsi) (Jakarta, mimeograph, 1981), p. 17. 9. Lev, The Transition to Guided Democracy, p. 191.



tion and implementation of national defense policy. How this process of augmenting civilian authority should be carried out, and how one recognizes if such augmentation is indeed being attempted, will be discussed in the remainder of this article.

Understanding the Nature of Civil-Military Relations in Indonesia

To analyze how and why the TNI came to be involved in politics, it is important to realize that militaries cannot just force their way into that area simply because they are predisposed to do so-they also need suitable opportunities to intervene.1 If a military intervenes when there are only dispositions to do so but no opportunities, the consequence will be an abortive coup attempt. Conversely, if there are ample opportunities but no dispositions, interventions are unlikely to occur. The ability of a military to stage a successful entry into politics is therefore dependent on the confluence of both dispositions and opportunities.l A military's disposition to intervene in politics is generated by the perception that it needs to protect its corporate, or internal, interests. At a basic level, this may simply be a fight to maintain pay and other fringe benefits, determine promotions and assignments, and gain or retain access to modern or new facilities or weaponry. On a deeper level, the military may believe it necessary both to maintain the ability to make autonomous decisions over what it regards as internal affairs and protect its ability to execute the functions it performs from the interference of other forces and institutions, civilians in particular. As for opportunities for intervention, these are created when civil and political institutions face imminent collapse or when civilian leaders fail to gain the acceptance of the domestic populace (i.e., loss of legitimacy). It is thus not uncommon to see the military entering politics to fill a constitutional and institutional vacuum after state institutions and order in civil society break down. Certainly the disposition to intervene was present throughout much of the Indonesian armed forces' early history, for its soldiers were poorly supplied and underpaid. The military might have been expected to intervene in politics to protect this corporate interest, but it never did on this basis alone. In fact, the soldiers often fought without pay during the independence struggle and the military budget was even cut after the armed forces came to power in 1966. Indonesia's military has involved itself in politics only on those occasions when there was a confluence of both dispositions and opportunities.
10. Much of the discussion here on the reasons behind the Indonesian military's involvement in politics has been drawn from Sundhaussen, The Road to Power, chap. 7 . 11. Finer, The Man on Horseback, pp. 83-84.



Such confluences have occurred three times in the military's history: during the 1945-48 struggle for independence; in 1957-58 when martial law was declared and the Middle Way concept proclaimed; and in 1965-66, which saw an abortive coup attempt that eventually culminated with the overthrow of Sukarno. In each case, the military saw both a need to defend its own interests that generated the disposition to intervene and a failure of civil and political institutions that created an opportunity to step in. Civil-military relations in Indonesia have been strained since the declaration of independence in 1945. The central government's indecisiveness over creating a national army at independence was perceived by the early military leaders as gross negligence, leading them to assume that they had no choice but to take their own initiative in the formation of their organization and the selection of their own leadership. Thus, Sudirman (a former schoolteacher turned revolutionary) and Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogyakarta were chosen to be chief of the army and minister of defense, respectively.12 The incoming socialist administration headed by Prime Minister Sutan Sjahir, instead of accepting the military's choice of leaders, labeled the early armed forces' leadership fascists and mercenaries and sought to reverse their appointments. A compromise eventually was reached in which Sjahir's government accepted the military's choice to head the army while the latter agreed to Sjahir's preferred minister of defense candidate, Amir Sjarifuddin. However, relations between the armed forces and the government did not improve. In fact, they further soured when Sjahir's government promoted paramilitary laskar units that had grown out of youth movements during the war to be organizations with a status that would make them rivals of the nascent armed forces. The list of provocations against the army was capped off by Sjarifuddin's attempt to indoctrinate the army with his own brand of socialism. The disposition to intervene that such actions created was matched by the opportunity presented by the weak bureaucratic machinery and tumultuous state of politics of the first few years of independent Indonesia. The tendency for President Sukarno to rule solely by ideological and rhetorical appeal and his lack of interest in administrating the new state and government eventually led to the breakdown of order and chaos for external defense and internal security. As a result of this combination of factors, the army assumed a political role in 1948.13 The Indonesian armed forces' reentry into politics in 1957 and the promulgation of the Middle Way concept was also preceded by intrusions from ci12. For an account of these elections see Nasution, Sedjarah Perdjuarlgan Nasional Dibidang Bersendjata (History of the national armed struggle) (Jakarta: [n.p.], 1966), p. 85, cited in Sundhaussen, The Road to Power, pp. 20-21. 13. For more details, see George McTurnan Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia, (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1952), chaps. 6, 9, and 10.

vilian politicians and the repeated failure of successive governments to secure legitimacy. Civilian politicians made several assaults on the military's prerogatives throughout the 1950s up to 1957; arguably, of greatest significance was the 17th of October affair of 1952. Between 1950 to 1952, the Indonesian army was headed by a group of military technocrats, most of whom were graduates of the pre-war Dutch academies. The military also had numerous less well-trained officers who had been members of Pasukan Sukarela untuk Membela Tanah Jawa (PETA), a Japanese-created indigenous paramilitary force that had assisted in the defense of Java during the Japanese occupation. The technocratic officers, led by Nasution, favored the military's withdrawal from a direct political role, arguing that it should concentrate instead on modernizing the "large, cumberThe some, and imperfectly integrated army left over from the rev~lution."'~ ex-PETA officers, who were likely to have their status downgraded in relation to their more professional counterparts, resisted the reform plan. Opposition politicians took up the cause of these disgruntled ex-PETA officers as part of their own attempt to attack the government. However, while the parliamentarians saw this as an expression of their legitimate political rights, the armed forces' technocratic leaders regarded it as interference in the military's internal affairs. Frustrated by the continued infringements of the parliamentarians, a group of army officers organized large-scale civilian demonstrations in front of the Presidential Palace on October 17, 1952, while a delegation of senior officers that included Nasution met with Sukarno and demanded that he dissolve Parliament. Sukarno refused and sided instead with the ex-PETA officers. By late 1952, Nasution had been dismissed along with several of his closest colleagues, all representatives of the modernisttechnocratic faction within the military. These attacks on the military were actually manifestations of a larger malaise in the Indonesian polity at that time. The parliamentary system of government that emerged in the early 1950s was based on an uneasy coalition and marked by frequent changes of leadership. With successive governments struggling to assert their legitimacy, the situation in the country was in no way any more stable than it had been during the war for independence. Finally, in the years leading up to the abortive coup attempt of 1965, the army was again on the defensive. It had been pushed into wars with the Netherlands in the campaign to capture West Irian and Malaysia, the latter of which it stood no chance of winning. These military campaigns were actually part of an attempt by Sukarno and the Indonesian Communist Party to
14. Herbert Feith, The Decline of Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1964), p. 171; Crouch, The Army and Politics, p. 28; and Jenkins, "The Evolution," p. 15.

erode the army's political strength. Sukarno's calls for the "NASAKOMization" of the military and proposals for a "Fifth Force" threatened the military's monopoly of external defense and internal security and endangered its ideological cohesiveness.15 Although the early years of Guided Democracy saw the formation of a stable political coalition between the army and Sukarno, its later period bore all the signs of a disintegrating polity. Ulf Sundhaussen summarizes the situation aptly:
Riots, demonstrations, violent clashes between parts of the community coupled with economic decline, increasingly secretive and unstructured court politics, the creation of ever-multiplying state agencies with overlapping functions, and the decreasing will and capacity of the government, were brought to their logical conclusion in the events of 1 October 1965, the massacres of late 1965 and, ultimately, the toppling of Sukarno who had presided over the incremental disintegration of this polity.16

Civil-Military Relations in the Post-Suharto Era

The present state of civil-military relations sees the Indonesian armed forces in retreat from their previously active and direct role in politics. Since the demise of the Suharto regime, the military, in an apparent response to the growing tide of public discontent, has made several moves that indicate that it is heading in this direction. First, changes have been made to the Indonesian armed forces doctrine. On the occasion of the military's 53rd anniversary in October 1998, the armed forces issued a document entitled ABRI in the 21st Century in which rather than denying past abuses they apologized for them. The military also acknowledged that it had "exceeded its dual-function role" during Suharto's New Order period and conceded it was used as a political tool by the former president.17 What was needed in the post-Suharto era, the military postulated, was a new paradigm premised on four principles:
(1) The military will no longer be in the forefront of politics;
15. Sundhaussen, The Road to Power, pp. 166-70 and 180-95. The term NASAKOM-ization is derived from Nasionalis (nationalism), Agama (religion), and Komunis (communism), which Sukarno identified as the three major sociopolitical forces in Indonesian society. The NASAKOM-ization effort represented his attempt to unify these forces into a singular ideology. For more details, see Donald Weatherbee, Ideology in Indonesia: Sukartzo's Indonesian Revollction (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1966). The Fifth Force was suggested by Sukarno as a parallel service to the army, air force, navy, and police that would be staffed by peasants and workers. It likely was meant to counterbalance the influence of the army. 16. Ulf Sundhaussen, The Road to Power, p. 266. 17. These admissions of past abuses have been repeated by current TNI Chief Admiral Widodo and Army Chief Tyasno in April this year. See "TNI Begins to Reassess Its Role, Plans



(2) The military will influence the political process indirectly; (3) The military will shift its sociopolitical position from that of occupier to that of influence; (4) The military will concede some of its sociopolitical functions to nonmilitary partners. l8

The military has also retreated from daily politics by accepting fewer seats in the House of Representatives (DPR). The representation of the military in the DPR is now pegged at 38 seats, down from the 75 seats allocated in the later years of the New Order period; furthermore, all military representation in the legislature is to be eliminated by 2004.19 In addition, the appointments of military officers to civilian posts (the kekaryawan program) are to be made more open and transparent, and active military personnel will have to quit the service before they can assume any government or civilian positions. Three other changes have been made by the military to ensure its continued relevance in the post-Suharto era. First, attempts have been made to discard the old security-driven paradigm by reducing the number of combat troops in the problematic provinces of Aceh, East Timor (now no longer part of the Indonesian republic) and Irian Jaya in September and October 1998.20 Second, that November, the armed forces abolished its sociopolitical position, an appointment within the military that had long been associated with the political role of the armed forces.21 And third, in April 1999, the armed forces changed its name from ABRI (Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia) to its former name of Indonesian national armed forces TIVI-a move largely seen as an attempt by the military to show that it is a national institution. Coinciding with this name change was also the separation of the national police force from the armed forces. The police force is to be integrated with the Attorney General's Office and become an independent institution under presidential authority in January 2001.22
Action," Jakarta Post, April 20, 2000; and "Tyasno Apologizes for Army's Past Mistakes," Jakarta Post, April 27, 2000. 18. Derwin Pereira, "ABRI Concedes It Was Tool of Suharto," Straits Times, October 7, 1998; and Imanuddin, "1998: A Year of Questions and Turmoil for ABRI," Jakarta Post, December 31, 1998. 19. Deriwn Pereira, "Indonesia's ABRI Goes Into Soul Searching," Straits Times, July 2, 1998; and David Jenkins, "Army Reform Vows Fall on Skeptical Ears," Sydney Morning Herald, June 1, 1999. TNI Chief Admiral Widodo also reaffirmed this commitment to quit the legislature by 2004. See "Widodo Says Military Ready to Quit Parliament," Straits Times, February 26, 2000. 20. Imanuddin, "1998." 21. Derwin Pereira, "Key Position in ABRI Scrapped in Line with Reform," Straits Times, November 11, 1998. 22. "Police Will Be Under President's Control," Indonesian Observer, May 24, 2000.



However, the military's distancing itself from an active and direct role in politics does not mean that it has completely withdrawn from the political realm. Despite its attempts at reform, the Indonesian military continues to be politically omnipresent and still wields significant political clout within the country. The three key foundations of the asmed forces' role in politics throughout its history-representation of the military in the bureaucracy and government, the territorial command s t ~ u c t u r eand its involvement in eco,~~ nomic activities-remain intact. As Harold Crouch has noted:
Whatever the theoretical arguments in favor of reform, the interests of many ABRI [TNI] officers are tied to the old system. . . . Most officers are more concerned with the short-term implications of reform for them personally. In the absence of adequate military pensions, officers have become accustomed to a system which channels them into civilian positions as their military careers draw to a close. For them dwifungsi is an ideology with very practical consideration^.^^

Explaining the Current State of Civil-Military Relations The armed forces' retreat from an active and direct political role may be attributable to a non-confluence of dispositions and opportunities. The TNI has been unable to restore its hitherto prominent role in politics because there have been no opportunities to do so following the transformation of the Indonesian political landscape resulting from the downfall of Suhasto in May 1998. One change has been the empowerment of Indonesian civil society after the prominent role it played in the demise of Suhasto's New Order regime. The newfound freedom and openness in Indonesia and the public's vehement opposition to the military's role in politics have become crucial in preventing any opportunity for the military to intervene into politics from arising. To comprehend the influence of Indonesian civil society in politics today, one need only look back to September 1999 when the military's heavy-handed pushing through of a new security bill sparked off fierce opposition from several segments of the Indonesian population and triggered street protests throughout the archipelago. The government, bowing to extreme public pressure, was eventually forced to delay ratifying the bill.

23. The armed forces are organized primarily along territorial lines. The country is divided into 10 regional commands, which are further subdivided all the way down to the village level. For greater detail on the command structure, see Robert Lowry, The Armed Forces of Iizdoizesia (St. Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 1996), pp. 57-63. 24. Harold Crouch, "Wiranto and Habibie: Military-Civilian Relations Since May 1998," in R e f o m s i : Crisis and Change in Indonesia, eds. Arief Budiman, Barbara Hatley, and Damien Kingsbury (Clayton, Australia: Monash Asia Institute, 1999), pp. 139-40.



The other change has been the rapid delegitimation of the military's role in Indonesian society. The emancipation of civil society following the demise of Suharto's rule has left the armed forces open to a deluge of mass resentment over the extent of their past abuses, not only in such provinces as Aceh, East Timor, and Irian Jaya, but almost everywhere in Indonesia, including Jakarta. The TNI's credibility suffered a further setback in August 1999 after pro-Jakarta militias, aided by elements of the military, went on a killing and burning spree in East Timor following the province's overwhelming vote for independence from Jakarta. However, although these changes in Indonesian society have been important for democratization, it is important to emphasize that they cannot be seen as a one-stop panacea that will prevent any future opportunities from arising that will enable the TNI to again intervene in politics. The present civilian government led by Abdurrahman Wahid remains on shaky grounds. It has struggled to resolve the country's varied problems, including the continued economic malaise; the protracted ethnic bloodshed on the Moluccan Islands, and the separatist inclinations of such provinces as Aceh and Papua. In addition, the controversial and erratic behavior that Wahid has displayed in his handling of the daily affairs of state seems to be sowing more uncertainty about the country's path toward recovery and eroding the very legitimacy that brought him into office in the first place.25 Evidence of this behavior could be seen in the controversial sacking of State Minister of Investment and Promotion of State Enterprises Lalcsamana Sukardi-widely regarded as an honest and progressive individual who has a friendly and productive relationship with the International Monetary Fund-ostensibly for corruption and failing to cooperate with the other economic minister^.^^ The disposition for the Indonesian military to intervene into politics is also evident at the present moment. The TNI is facing a severe challenge to its corporate interests. The new civilian government is infringing on the military's internal affairs by deciding the appointments and promotions of senior officers and setting defense policies. For the first time in the history of the armed forces and the country, key defense and military portfolios are not in the hands of the army. In June 2000, the TNI was commanded by a naval officer, Admiral Widodo; a civilian academic, Juwono Sudarsono, headed the Defense Ministry, and an air force officer, Air Rear Marshall Ian Santoso, leads the armed forces' Strategic Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Strategis). President Wahid's authority over the TNI in this area of military
25. See Wimar Witoelar, "But Does Gus Dur See the Problem?711te1national Herald Tribm e , May 12, 2000; and Donald K. Emmerson, "Indonesia's Problems Mount, and Jakarta Isn't Doing Much," International Herald Tribune, June 2, 2000. 26. "Gus Dur Fires Two Ministers," Jakarta Post, April 25, 2000; and "Laksaman Denies Graft Allegations," Jakarta Post, April 29, 2000.



affairs was also clearly demonstrated when he replaced military spokesperson Major-General Sudrajat with Air Vice-Marshall Graito Husodo after Sudrajat reportedly told the press that the president had no right to interfere in the armed forces' internal affaimZ7 With respect to defense policy, Wahid has implemented his promise that the navy should play a larger part in Indonesia's defense structure in order to better protect the archipelago's vast sealanes and maritime resources. His appointment of Admiral Widodo to head the TNI can be seen as part of this effort; to this can be added the decision to create the new Ministry of Maritime Exploration, which will oversee this new i m p e r a t i ~ e .In ~ ~ view of these developments, one must wonder: how long the military can be expected to refrain from an active and direct role in politics?

Enhancing Civilian Supremacy

What does enhancing civilian authority or supremacy mean within the context of civil-military relations? And how does one know if attempts made to enhance civilian supremacy are successful? In concrete terms, this would mean that civilians should have the "capacity to determine budgets, force levels, defense strategies and priorities, weapons acquisitions, and military curricula and doctrines; and the national legislature must at least have the capacity to review these decisions and monitor their Before any attempt can be made to strengthen civilian implementati~n."~~ authority, I suggest that two preconditions are necessary: the existence of strong civilian political institutions and the achievement of legitimacy. As the historical record of both the Indonesian armed forces and military interventions in other parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America has shown, militaries do not wrest power from viable and legitimate civilian regimes. Armed forces intervene in politics when civilian political institutions fail, civilian politicians and political parties are weak and divided, and these divisions and failures result in the collapse of governance and order. Enhancing civilian authority requires a two-pronged approach. First, the military must be disengaged from the political realm. In Indonesia, this means that the military would have to be removed from such nonmilitary activities as rural development, domestic intelligence, policing, and direct participation in the political activities. The military's involvement in programs for economic and social development-the so-called civic actions
27. "President Announces Replacement of TNI Spokesman," Antara, January 13, 2000; and "TNI Spokesman Sudrajat Set to Be Replaced," Jakarta Post, January 14, 2000. 28. "A Blind Seer Points the Way: Indonesia's Frail New President Has Given His Country a Clear New Start," Economist, October 30, 1999; and Susan Sim, "Gus Dur Names Diverse Team," Straits Times, October 27, 1999. 29. Larry Diamond and Marc Plattner, "Introduction," in Civil-Military Relations, pp. xxviii. Much of the discussion here has been adapted from this article.



meant to reduce poverty and aid in national development-naturally erodes its distinct professional role as a fighting force. So, too, does military ownership and control of businesses, industries, and sources of mass media. Such activities involve the military in a variety of domestic issues and conflicts and symbolically convey to the armed forces the message that "their involvement in broad economic, political and social problems is legitimate."30 Second, civilian authority must be extended into military affairs and the country's national-defense functions must be subjected to civilian oversight and control. The defense establishment should be civilian-led and staffed, with ultimate authority over the armed forces resting with the civilian head of government or state. Over time, ruling civilian elites should have control over top military promotions and assignments as well as budgets and acquisitions.

The outlook for civil-military relations in Indonesia is uncertain in view of two diametrically opposed developments unfolding in Indonesian politics. On the one hand, there are signs that the military will not return to an active and direct political role. President Wahid appears to have made headway in augmenting civilian authority over military affairs in three areas. First, Wahid's regime possesses-albeit in the interim and tenuously-legitimacy, one of the two preconditions that I have argued is needed to increase such authority. Wahid's government differs from the last few years of Suharto's presidency and Habibie's 18-month tenure in that it possesses this asset. Second, the president has a strong grip on the appointment and promotions of senior military officers. This has been amply demonstrated by Wahid's ability to reshuffle key defense and military portfolios since his ascension to office in October 1999. And third, the president appears to have extended his influence over the formation of the country's defense policies. However, on the other hand, there are also indications that the armed forces' current abeyance from politics may be short-lived. Again, three factors point toward such an outcome. First, there are growing doubts over Wahid's popular legitimacy and the long-term viability of his government. As Wahid continued his struggles to solve the country's multitude of problems, several parliamentarians have raised the possibility that the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) might impeach the president for his in-

30. Alfred Stepan, The Military in Politics: Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), pp. 253-66.



eptness and missteps after he delivers his accountability speech in August 2000.3~ Second, Indonesia lacks strong civilian political institutions, the other prerequisite for augmenting civilian supremacy. Indonesia remains a bureaucratic polity in a highly patrimonial state. Politics, power, and participation in national decision-making are limited almost entirely to the political elite, a group consisting of individuals from the top echelons of society, the bureaucracy, and the military. In addition, politics in Indonesia continues to exhibit patrimonial tendencies and the practices of corruption, collusion, and nepotism (Korupsi, Kolusi, Nepotisme) are still rampant. Third and more importantly, little has been done to disengage the armed forces from the political realm. With its pervasive territorial command structure, the Indonesian military remains involved in rural development through its Masuk Desa ("enter the villages") program aimed at improving local infrastructure and hence the rural population's quality of life.32 Domestic policing, although technically separated from military command, remains essentially under the purview of the Defense M i n i ~ t r y .Indonesia's domestic in~~ telligence coordinating board (Badan Koordinasi Intelijens Negara) remains firmly under the control of the Indonesia mi1ita1-y.34 Finally, Wahid has attempted little to reduce and eventually eliminate either the military's huge business holdings or the size of the armed forces' representation in the cabinet. In fact, the number of military officers in the current cabinet exceeds the representation of the armed forces in both Suharto's last cabinet and Habibie's 18-month Reform Development cabinet. Given the forces that are pulling Indonesia's civil-military relations in opposing directions, one can plot two divergent trajectories for the future. The first comes out of the positive steps Wahid has taken to augment civilian supremacy over military's affairs. In this scenario, the military will continue its retreat from taking an active and direct political role and may even withdraw from the field entirely. Buoyed by its initial successes in the areas of appointments, promotions, and policy formulation, the Wahid governmentadhering to the emblematic Javanese way of alon alon asal kelakon ("slowly but surelyv)-could gradually assert its supremacy in the other spheres where the military still has influence. This would involve eliminating the roles of
31. Susan Sim and Robert Go, "Criticize but Don't Impeach," Straits Times, June 8, 2000; and ".4lliance Reprimands Gus Dur," Jakarta Post, June 10, 2000. 32. See Kebijakan Pertahanan Keamanan Negara Republik Indonesia (The policy of state defense and security of the Republic of Indonesia) (Jakarta: Departemen Pertahanan dan Keamanan, 1997), pp. 59-63. 33. "Indonesian Police Formally Separates from Armed Forces," Agence-France Presse, April 1, 1999. 34. "Abdurrahman to Install New Army Chief of Staff," Jakarta Post, November 20, 1999.


Indonesia's armed forces in such nonmilitary areas as rural development, domestic intelligence, policing, and direct participation in politics. The TNI's pervasive territorial command structure would have to be dismantled and the military's involvement in economic activities would also cease. This ideal case scenario would be completed by the development of resilient civilian political institutions and the success of efforts to eradicate corruption, collusion, and nepotism in society. Such a scenario could come to pass under two conditions. First, the civilian regime has to be resolute and see through its efforts to enhance civilian authority. Second, and more importantly, the TNI has to be amenable to changes to its hitherto preeminent political position in Indonesian society. This is an important consideration. The use of armed force remains largely under the control of the military, and the TNI could decide to resist any move to change its political role by using this force.35 The alternate trajectory for civil-military relations envisages the Wahid government's further attempts at gaining an upper-hand vis-A-vis the military running into a dead end. The TNI could refuse to move in tandem with the regime's endeavors to curb its economic and political activities. The armed forces may also insist that the domestic policing and national intelligence functions must remain under their jurisdiction and not be placed under civilian control. A standoff between the civilian government and the TNI would ensue, resulting in a test of brinkmanship the potential results of which could be a coup d'etat. However, whether this is likely to occur or not depends largely on the interplay between the two key variables discussed above: the dispositions and opportunities for intervention. With the disposition to intervene already discernible, whether or not the military actually follows through will depend on the presence or lack of opportunities to do so. If the second scenario were to unfold, the TNI would have to ask itself whether the civilian government had indeed lost its legitimacy to rule and if state institutions and civil society had irrevocably collapsed. The answers to these questions will determine the course of action the armed forces are likely to take.

35. It is important to note that there are armed groups in Indonesia aside from the military itself. See Vedi R. Hadiz, "Paramilitaries: Civil Society Gets Ugly," Jakarta Post, May 24, 2000, p. 4; and "Civilian Guards 'Hamper TNI,' Kostrad Chief Agus Complains," Jakarta Post, April 26, 2000.