Putu Savitri, Fadhli Ruhman – On Wednesday, House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani said that the parliament had received a Presidential letter proposing a single candidate, General Andika Perkasa, for the post of the Indonesian Military (TNI) commander.
She stressed that the TNI Commander promotion agenda is of strategic importance for preserving Indonesia's sovereignty.
The DPR will give its full attention to the matter and assign Commission I to test the worthiness of the TNI Commander candidate, who is currently the Army Chief of Staff, she said.
The Presidential letter was conveyed directly by the Minister of State Secretary Pratikno to the House Speaker.
The letter confirmed the projections made by military observers, such as Ridlwan Habib, concerning who will replace Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who is set to retire this year.
Earlier, Habib had said that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had provided three clues on his choice of the future TNI Commander.
One of them was General Perkasa escorting the President to the airplane before he departed for Rome, Italy, to attend the G20 meeting, he said.
With the State Secretary Minister delivering Jokowi's letter to the House Speaker, Perkasa officially became the TNI Commander candidate for replacing Air Chief Marshal Tjahjanto.
Born on December 21, 1964 in Bandung, West Java, Perkasa has dedicated his life to the military.
He graduated from the Military Academy in 1987 and started his career as a subaltern officer, serving in the Kopassus' (Special Forces Command) Group 2 Para Commando and Unit-81/Terror Mitigation for 12 years.
He has held several positions, such as the Personal Secretary to the TNI's Chief of General Staff.
The son-in-law of A.M. Hendropriyono, former head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), was eventually promoted as the head of the Army's Public Relations Department in November 2013.
The position can only be held by an officer of the Brigadier General rank. Thus, with the promotion, Perkasa became a one-star general.
He was later promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed as the Commander of the Presidential Security Force.
This promotion came two days after the inauguration of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as Indonesian president and vice president for the 2014-2019 period.
On May 30, 2016, Perkasa, an alumnus of the Military College of Vermont, Norwich University, Vermont, US, became the Commander of Kodam XII/Tanjungpura, a Regional Military Command.
In less than two months, on January 15, 2018, Perkasa was reassigned to Jakarta as the Commander of the Army Doctrine, Education, and Training Development Command (Kodiklat).
He held the post of Kodiklat Commander for just six months before being appointed as the Commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command, a prestigious position within the army.
His rise did not stop there. On November 22, 2018, Perkasa, who was deemed the best graduate in the Army Command and Staff School in 2000, was appointed by President Jokowi as the Army Chief of Staff.
He replaced General Mulyono who was to retire in January 2019.
The appointment was made based on President Decision No. 97/TNI/2018 on Discharging and Promoting Army Chief of Staff.
Now, almost exactly three years after his appointment as the Army Chief of Staff, Perkasa has officially become the lone candidate for the post of TNI Commander.
Perkasa has bagged several achievements, both national and international, during his time in the rapidly developing military world.
In November 2019, he took the initiative to carry out a unit training exchange program with the United States.
In November 2020, Indonesia once again sent the army unit to train at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) Fort Polk, Louisiana, United States.
In addition, the graduate from the National War College, National Defense University, lent active support to strengthening the cooperation between the Apache Helicopter unit, Squadron 11/Serbu Penerbad with the US Army's 16 Combat Aviation Brigade.
In the eyes of the international world, specifically the United States government, Perkasa has shown extraordinary dedication in strengthening relations between the armies of Indonesia and the United States.
This has impacted security stability in the Indo-Pacific region as well as intensified relations between the Indonesian and US armies, both at the institutional and individual level, observers said.
This was the reason why, on January 30, 2020, at Whipple Field, Arlington, US, United States Army Chief of Staff General James C. McConville bestowed the Legion of Merit, Degree of Commander medal on Perkasa.
The award was signed by US Defense Minister Mark Esper.
Furthermore, on the national stage, Perkasa has helped the government carry out a vaccination drive themed "Serbuan Vaksinasi" to help reach the national vaccination target by utilizing members of the army.
Perkasa has also shown bravery through his willingness to make tough decisions, observers said.
This was seen when he declared that he was willing to discharge 31 soldiers rather than tarnish the army's name after the assault on the Ciracas police station in East Jakarta on August 29, 2020, they added.
These achievements have made Perkasa a worthy official candidate for the post of TNI Commander, observers said.