The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Military of Indonesia

Tentara Nasional Indonesia
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 15-49: 62,948,286 (2000 est.)
Fit for military service males age 15-49: 36,826,282 (2000 est.)
Reaching military age annually males: 2,273,324 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures
Dollar figure $1 billion (FY98/99)
Percent of GDP 1.3% (FY98/99)

Indonesia's armed forces (Indonesian: Tentara Nasional Indonesia, or TNI, formerly ABRI) total about 250,000 members, including the army, navy, marines, and air force. The army is by far the largest, with about 196,000 active-duty personnel. Defense spending in the national budget is only 1.8% of GDP but is supplemented by revenue from many military-run businesses and foundations.

The Indonesian National Police were for many years a branch of the armed forces. The police were formally separated from the military in April 1999, a process which was formally completed in July 2000. With 150,000 personnel, the police form a much smaller portion of the population than in most nations. The total number of national and local police in 2002 was approximately 270,000.

Political role of the military

During the Suharto era, the military was sometimes said to have a "dual function" (dwifungsi) in Indonesia; first, it would preserve the internal and external security of the country, preserving it as a unified nation, and second, it would insure that government policy followed a path that the military leadership felt was wise.

This justified substantial military interference in politics. Long-time president Suharto was an army general, and was strongly supported by most of the military establishment. Traditionally a significant number of cabinet members had military backgrounds, while active duty and retired military personnel occupied a large number of seats in the parliament. Commanders of the various territorial commands played influential roles in the affairs of their respective regions.

Indonesia has not had a substantial conflict with its neighbors since the 1963-1965 confrontation with Malaysia, although competing South China Sea claims, where Indonesia has large natural gas reserves, concern the Indonesian government. Without a credible external threat in the region, the military's primary role in practice has been to assure internal security. Military leaders now say they wish to transform the military to a professional, external security force but acknowledge that the armed forces will continue to play an internal security role for some time.

In the post-Suharto period since 1998, civilian and military leaders have advocated removing the military from politics (for example, the military's representatives in parliament have been much reduced), but the military's political influence remains extensive.

Military equipment

The Indonesian Navy purchased a number of ships of the former East German navy in the 1990s.

The Indonesian Air Force is currently having a logistics crisis, especially for the F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-4 Skyhawks that dominated almost 80% of the total number of Indonesian Fighters, that the spare parts supply from the United States for the fighters was stopped because the embargo, that lead to the grounding most of the Western-made Fighters. The Embargo was imposed over Indonesia because a number of violation against civil & human rights in East Timor.

In response to this embargo, in 2003 the Indonesian Air Force bought 2 Sukhoi Aerospace Su-37 Flankers, and 2 Sukhoi Aerospace Su-30 Flanker-D, along with the fighter is the armament, the AA-10 Alamo air to air missile.

References and links

  • Bresnan, John. 1993. Managing Indonesia: the modern political economy. New York: Columbia University Press.
    • Many topics, including the political role of the military at the height of Suharto's New Order.
  • Crouch, Harold. 1988. The army and politics in Indonesia. Ithaca:Cornell University Press.
    • First published 1978. Now somewhat dated, but provides an influential overview of the role of the military in consolidating Suharto's power
  • Kingsbury, Damien. 2003. Power politics and the Indonesian military. London: RoutledgeCurzon.
  • Global Security Org : Indonesia
  • TNI - Indonesian army —Links to news articles, mostly critical of the military
  • Indonesian Air Force

Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01