Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has called on the Indonesian Military (TNI) to become more modern and professional, urging the armed forces to adapt to new potential threats and technological advances.
During a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the TNI on Monday, Jokowi said the military transformation should be directed toward enabling the armed forces to respond to nonconventional and transnational threats, while keeping the pace with state-of-the-art armament.
"Following the Reform Era, the TNI has embarked on various organizational transformations to ensure it is able to deliver apt support for the needs of democratic consolidation and to adapt to potential threats during the post-Cold War era," Jokowi said during a ceremony at the State Palace.
"Such transformations should be backed by technological advancement as well as transformations of the personnel that control [armament]," he went on to say.
Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and a few high-ranking officials attended the ceremony on Monday, which was held with limited attendance and with health protocol enforced due to the pandemic.
During the event, the President also had a virtual engagement with military personnel stationed in various locations, including those deployed at the COVID-19 hospital on Galang Island of Riau, those on guard at the outer border of North Natuna waters and those in the peacekeeping forces in the Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.
In his speech, Jokowi further asserted that advanced military technology was needed to equip the armed forces with strategies and tactics to anticipate wars that may erupt at any time in the future.
"We have to be ready in anticipating new kinds of war in the future that may bring a higher level of destruction, occur within a shorter period and that may use hybrid warfare with a combination of various tactics," Jokowi said.
"We have to make every effort to change our policy from defense spending to defense investment, which is a long-term policy developed systematically and being implemented in a consistent and sustainable manner," he added.
Jokowi went on to say that technological transformation in armament had to be supported by personnel transformation, adding that TNI personnel had to be able to build synergy with various elements, including with the National Police.
The military and the police have long been caught in rivalry manifested through a series of conflicts between the two institutions. One of the latest was an attack on the Ciracas Police station in East Jakarta by TNI personnel in late August.
During the event, Jokowi also thanked TNI personnel who joined humanitarian missions, including in handling disasters and forest fires, and those who were involved in supporting the government's efforts to manage the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the government has increased the deployment of police and military personnel to improve public compliance with health protocols through Presidential Instruction No. 6/2020 issued in August.
Jokowi also appointed Army chief of staff Gen. Andika Perkasa and National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Gatot Eddy Pramono as deputy heads of the COVID-19 handling and national economic recovery committee.