The core problem of RMA implementation exclude US and Europe are the superstructure and infrastructure do not ready yet. In Asia, China is only one country that has already implemented the RMA with different character between in US and Europe. Except Israel, the process of defense modernization in Asia has just fulfilled the weapon requirement and defense system. Indonesia, as a big country in Asia, and in the past, they have a great history as a big country in military in Asia and Pacific but still has problem with the internal reform. yet, the reform of Indonesia military has been running in structure and culture . However, Gray has formulation to know how is a country can implementation the RMA concept in its military. That is very interesting to see that how is possible that Indonesia can be apply the concept into the military.

Keywords: RMA, Indonesia Armed Force (TNI), Military Reform, , Strategic Industry, Political Intervention

I. Introduction

This paper discusses the probability theory of Gray’s RMA Life-Cycle in Indonesia is. The implementation of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in Indonesia became a “hot issue” when China carried out a transformation in defence affairs and its characteristics. For a while, Indonesia is far behind, at least when related to the effort in modernizing military force after the downfall of Soeharto’s regime. The reform in military is carried out because of pressures from society demanding a new professional military force with focused power at defence tasks. It is important to know that since the independence of Indonesia, Indonesia Armed Forces (TNI) have experienced various roles besides defence. This was assured by the emergence of the “Middle Way” concept by General Nasution in 1958 , where Armed Forces have been legitimized to do various roles besides their core task in defence.

As the biggest country in South East Asia, Indonesia after the fall of Soeharto was tend to occupy with internal settlement, including the defence reform. The momentum becomes an important part in developing the new Indonesia military. For the last thirty years of Soeharto and New Order Regime, military played the role of a political machine to support the ruling power. After the fall of Soeharto, TNI has articulated various demands to be a professional institution.

During the last ten years, civil government in Indonesia and TNI have done various internal and external correction, so that Indonesia military returns to the main duty in function of defence only, and make Indonesia become respecting and influential country in South East Asia . However, the various corrections and responses for reform are still at the surface level, real problems which become the main concept of modernizing the armed forces is not yet touched. One of the ideas for example, is the use of sophisticated information technology as one of prerequisites in modernizing the armed forces. Transformation in defence that happened has just touched the defence posture with various limitations of appliance in weapon system, as part of the core of the process.

The nine steps introduced by Colin Gray in development and implementation of RMA, there are only four steps implemented in Indonesia: preparation, strategic moment, institutional agency, and instruments. These are implemented with few notes, and not circular of perfection, while the rest are not yet realized due to various limitations and constraints. The four conditions and steps in Indonesia are still separated problems. Indonesia truly had a golden period of when Soekarno become the first President of Indonesia . At that time, Indonesia became one of the most influential countries, not only within the Asia and Pacific nations, but also in the world . One of the reason was the military budget and strength as one of modern and biggest military country in the world. It was a good turn by Soviet Union to support various military requirements of Indonesia Armed Forces at the time, so that Indonesia would become one of the powerful allies against the United States domination in Pacific and Asia .

This paper explains how the Colin Gray theory in steps in implementation of RMA in a state is. Indonesia as one of the core nation in South-East Asia, and have the influence in the past, was able to push its armed forces modernization by implementing RMA. This paper also will see how to face limitation and constraints in Indonesia based on Gray’s RMA Life-Cycle Theory.

II. Gray’s RMA Life-Cycle in Indonesia: Constraints and Limitation

The desire to modernize the armed forces has not yet become the government’s priority for the last ten years, especially after Soeharto and the New Order Regime collapsed. The government is still busy with democracy consolidation in building an effective political position, and bringing the armed forces as an instrument of defence so they shall no longer got mixed up with various non-defence activities, which have been carried out for the last forty years .

The problems of military reform in Indonesia for the last ten years is how Indonesia military really leave their interferences in social, politics, and economics field. There are doubts, since the character and culture of the institution of civil government in making the reform of Armed Forces walk tardily. This matter is marked by letting the military reform in Indonesia to be carried out by military leaders, while the government and parliament only giving fringes and hoping the process runs better .

At political area, Indonesia Armed Forces still involve indirectly and directly in practical, at the national and local level. The indirect involvement of military in politics is marked by the effort to push Generals with good potency and character as a candidate in national and local elections, as Parliament members or regional leaders. Even, the number is qualitatively and quantitative decreasing, but some successes are recorded. One example is Major General Prijanto as Deputy Governor of Jakarta. He won the election last year . Example of indirect involvement is at the influence of various policies related to state regulation in social, economic, and also the unsolved problems of military business until this time. This condition makes the effort to develop the professional Indonesia military tends to be pursued, whereas equivocation of Generals in Armed Forces concerning disinclination delivers the business asset managed in the form of institution, co-operation, limited liability, is striving internal TNI so that it can fulfill prosperity of soldiers, due to the limited state budget for defence. Another is that of the business management also gives advantage and prosperity for society around the housing for soldiers. It is assumed that there is social effectiveness at the management level of military business .

Based on the problems, in fact, there were a few free tests to see the steps of implementation of Gray’s RMA. This matter is caused by empirical difficulties to assure that steps can be fulfilled by Indonesia military in adopting RMA. More than anything else, Gray assures that history have noted that the effective military strategy is not yet suitable to adopt RMA . It means that Indonesian military’s steps to disband Fast Response Unit will face a long path.

Colin S. Gray offers nine steps to implement and adopt RMA in a state . The nine steps are: Preparation, Recognition of Challenge, Parentage, Enabling Spark, Strategic Moment, Institutional Agencies, Execution and Evolving, and Feedback and Adjustment. Gray highlights that steps might possibly take place concurrently, might possibly overlap each other, or also on the contrary, during and at the different periods . However, author tries to build stages according to the sequences to see how Indonesia military probability in implementation and adaptation of RMA as follows.

First is Preparation. Gray describes preparation as an early step that does not plan but emitted the prerequisites of military to start the implementation and adaptation of RMA. Gray also affirms that the preparation phase can happen in the middle of the process, at an early stage, or even it may take a long time during the implementation of RMA. In Indonesia contextual steps, as Gray stated, can be found. The moment military officers of Indonesia release sixteen points as positive response to demand for Armed Forces as professional institution . Starting points of the process to be professional army is the integrated part in planning step. TNI commits to release the Dual Function concept, leave practical political arena and parliament, return all military business assets to the government, and focus on the duty in defence affairs. This phase is also caught up by the change in military doctrine , The White Paper of Defence and various soft ware’s and prerequisites of professional military . The mentioned items are also assured by the separation of Indonesia Police from Armed Forces in 1999 and stipulated in Law by 2000.
The reform of the armed forces is at issued of Law No.3/2002 on State Defense, and Law No. 34/2004 on Indonesia Armed Forces. Both Laws become corridor for armed forces in experiencing the transformation process from conventional to professional military. The defence budget in ten years also increased up to 300% compared to defence budget during the period of Soeharto. Still, the defence budget of Indonesia military only met requirements for operation, routine posts, and weapon maintenance. The defence budget only meets 40% of all requirements; the rest is fulfilled by leaders of the Indonesian Armed Forces through business .

Second, the recognition of challenge. The challenge is obvious and the Indonesian existence does not cover security regions by armed forces, especially at the borders and against non-conventional crimes. In the last ten years, Indonesia has lost some territory due to poor monitoring and control, especially at the borders. Island of Sipadan and Ligitan, are finally controlled by Malaysia because of Indonesia Government was poor control on both islands . Besides that, the friction between Indonesia and Malaysia also happened at the borderlines of Borneo (Kalimantan) , and the effort of Malaysia to control Ambalat Island also becomes separated problems . Not to mention intercontinental geopolitical position of Indonesia has become crossed; a position that causes various threats to the sovereignty, from illegal fishing to sea piracy, and many others.
Based on the perspective of the existence of challenge, Indonesia have to respond to various challenges by modernizing the armed forces, as China did after the Korea war due to the United States’ domination in East Asia and the emerging Japan strength. After the war, Korea was divided in two and the new island country Taiwan asked for weapon supply from United States for almost 40 years. The fall of Soviet Union has also made United States as the single super power in the world.

However, in reality, the existence of challenges cannot be responded fully by modernizing the armed forces. The limited defence budget and also economic crisis are real problems and make the government leave the focus on modernizing the armed forces, and focus on bureaucracy and economic reforms instead. It is assumed that the mismanagement of the state caused the economic crisis. Although there is an increase in defence budget, the condition of equipments of operation budget is not increasing. In fact, the requirement of military equipments, in the end, met by ‘cannibalism’ with similar equipments, especially before Soeharto stepped down. Indonesia was hit by embargo of military training and weapons. So that, in the end the improvement of various weapons cannot be done . Meanwhile, strategic industry like PT. Dirgantara Indonesia, PT. PAL, PT. Pindad, PT. Dahana, PT. LEN, PT. Karakatau Steel and others cannot meet requirements of modern weapons because of poor capital and limited human resources .

Third, Parentage. Indonesia had figures of Presidents who were greatly concerned to the armed forces. For example, Soekarno with his capability assured Soviet Union of supply and developing the Indonesia military as one of the strongest military in Asia and Pacific. Soeharto, although could not build a strong military force, was respected in the context of the South-East Asian region, at least when compared to the recent leaders. Presidents Habibie, Abdurachman Wahid, and Megawati, were not strong enough to keep this nation as a powerful state in South East Asia. Megawati even developed ‘See the East’ policy just like Soekarno did, by exploiting defence technology from Russia and Eastern European countries. However, the trade level was poor because the offer of product trading system between weapons and natural products owned by Indonesia, did not give profit for the manufacturing state . The purchase of Sukhoi for example, is not equipped by adequate equipment and technicians. Once it is damaged, the fighter plane cannot be used .
The expectation grows when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), a former four star general, won the Presidential election in 2004. The figure of SBY and the election make SBY as the legitimated strength to get support from the Indonesian Armed Forces. However, the main idea of parentage step, as depicted by Gray is not found at his presidency. Support from the parliament is also divided into two between the supporting faction and opposition. It is not strange then that SBY cannot develop the reinforcement and transformation in the armed forces due to limitation of budget and support. The test is obvious when Malaysia tries to occupy coral islands of Ambalat, known for natural gas contents. Warships of Indonesia Navy were commissioned to take care of the archipelago. They could only chase the Malaysian warship and crash the prow to the Malaysia ship. Actually the step is effective, because the Malaysian warship finally retreat from the area, but most Indonesian people know that the collision with Malaysia warship is caused by no weapons and ammunition in Indonesia warship .

Fourth, enabling spark. Based on descriptions in the third step, after Soekarno and Soeharto, the effort to develop defence system, and armed forces is only just found. After Soeharto stepped down, figure leaders in Indonesia concern in modernizing armed forces. In the last era, Soekarno did not take a fancy to military circle at the time, but maintain the trust of armed forces by developing armed forces as a response of Indonesia’s geopolitical position and threat from Malaysia and Australia as ally of the UK. They were considered as a threat for Indonesia. Despite that, the desires to start the war with the Netherlands concerning Papua become a statement for Soekarno’s efforts to modernize the armed forces . On the contrary, Soeharto was not highly motivated to modernize armed forces; Soeharto took care of sovereignty of the state, by giving a role on territorial defence system, which provides more space for the Army. Although it is opposed by many sides, the step was proven effective to guard every area of Indonesia against foreign claim and domination .

At periods after Soeharto, the political leadership in Indonesia is not sturdy, even tends to drop and happened during period of Habibie and Abdurachman Wahid. Although in Gray’s perspective, leadership of a strong political figure will guarantee implementation and adoption of RMA by the state. These weaknesses make Indonesia as one of the biggest archipelagic country with big population but vulnerable against foreign military because of its weak armed forces. President Susilo is now also beginning to do a charming disperses of approaches which are not balmy among army .

Fifth, Strategic Moment. Indonesia experiences this step nicely. This means that strategic momentum happened almost every 30 years. The first strategic moment was when Soekarno stepped down from his presidency and released his power to military, in this case Soeharto. However, the momentum was not improved because Soeharto and New Order regime developed political and economic stability and also arrested kingpins of unsuccessful communist coup in 1948 and 1965. The problem then became complicated when Soeharto preferred military leaders as leaders in the region. Indonesia military leaders then enjoy multi task and function as part of the implementation of Nasution’s “Middle Way’, which is formulated as a “Dual Function” of TNI .

After thirty two years, Soeharto stepped down from his power in 1998. Politicians then instructed TNI to be a professional institution. This step was relatively running, but at selected phase it faces constraints. Various efforts to push professionalism in Indonesia Armed Forces were responded to, but the main idea of professionalism is still not yet fully adopted by armed forces. One of them is the handover of military business to the government and the territory defence system which puts Army as the front guard compare to Navy and Air Force . The reason is very simple, because state cannot meet requirements for military budget and poor weapon system due to embargo.

Besides that, the control and oversight of Parliament and executive are not running properly. The analogy is, after 10 years of reform, the armed forces have become the hard iron. It shall no longer easily form hot iron like ten years ago. Then, the strategic momentum might possibly be created by pushing accomplishment to various requirements, especially related to operation and prosperity. This one means to develop defence information technology as core of change of conventional to the professional military.
Sixth, Institutional Agency. There are efforts to develop the Indonesia military as professional military and implementation of RMA. For example, the existence of strategic industries like PT.PAL for the Navy, PT. Pindad for the Army, PT. DI for the Air Force, PT. Dahana for explosive requirements, PT. LEN for network, communications, and electronic warfare. Ministry of Defense and Headquarter of TNI also have to follow the path as expected in instructing armed forces to be professional institution, while the executive and parliament, with all limitations, should have same desire to develop professionalism in the armed forces. The commitment is assured with strategic steps and supports every step development of armed forces. The limitation is still in budget support to meet various requirement and expectation of armed forces. Even during the last ten years the budget of Indonesia military increase to 300 %, but it only meets 40% of all requirements or less than 1% of Indonesia GDP .

The situation, in the end, let armed forces to have initiative in certain steps in fulfilling requirements and operation. Still, based on approaches of steps by Gray, the sixth step can be told fulfill the prerequisites raised by Gray as part of process for implementation RMA in Indonesia. However, the note is this institution must also develop the military culture. Meaning, the military culture in armed forces is important, so that professionalism can be placed forward, including the implementation process of RMA .

Seventh, instruments. At this step, Indonesia armed forces have become available. The change of organization affect the role and duty to focus at defence area only by reducing primal structure from Armed Forces, Head of Social and Political Affair and Head of Territory Commander. Despitefully, the strive to develop military concept as professional become the governmental principal, one of them is by altering the paradigm concerning state law to support the leadership. Military leaders shall no longer starve for power of politics, but deliver power to civil politician by esteeming the democracy mechanism .
Based on the doctrine, armed forces still adopts the pattern of total people defense system with guerrilla approaches due to limitation of military equipments, rather than developing pattern of effective coordination. The new doctrine replaces the old doctrine of Catur Dharma Eka Karma (Cadek) meaning Four Nobel Works for A Great Purpose into Tri Dharma Eka Karma (Tridek) meaning Three Nobel Works for A Great Purpose . The training pattern of members of armed forces shall no longer be instructed to be political and enter the social politic area, but on how to develop professionalism in the institution .

Eighth, Execution and Evolvement. This step is not yet fulfilled by Indonesia. The release of Indonesia Armed Forces from non defence activities and trust from government to arrange and control regulation can develop professional institution as prerequisites for implementation of better. Some examples depict that armed forces cannot yet realize their demand to release control of military business and territory command as relevant problems of armed forces in responding changes.

This condition becomes difficult for armed forces, since the expected prerequisites cannot yet be fulfilled by government, such as budget. The difficulty faced in realizing professionalism with limited budget is to develop character among officers, soldiers, and inside the institution. Level of professionalism is also stacked by the military culture as the valid owner of the Republic based on historical rights as the institution is highly active in independence wars. So, that effort disrupts the existence of the Republic, in many forms, where armed forces do various direct and indirect resistances. One example of resistance from armed forces is in the period of Soekarno and Abdurachman Wahid, where political movements at the time were supported by armed forces.

Ninth, feedback and adjustment. At this step, Gray emphasizes that it is not the part of action and reaction of RMA process. This step is focused on positive existence of both sides of TNI as institution related to professionalism process and adoption of RMA. Despite efforts of adjustment from the part of the TNI to various changes systematically. At least related to the reform process, the armed force is the symbol of professional soldier. Based on the last 10 years of process, the mutual effort of armed forces and adjustment of role and function which is focused on defence is better . Both sides and adjustment of new role and function is not yet felt by society. It means, there are still doubts from the internal part of the armed forces and government to support the fundamental change of armed forces, related with anew role and function .

These matters have implications on the relation between civil-military in Indonesia which is not yet effective. In general, civil and military groups adjust themselves due to slow reform of the armed forces, even tends to step out of the roadmap. Nonetheless, the reality cannot be argued that civil politicians tend to become a determinant factor to interrupt the reform process in the armed forces, simply by the example when President Abdurachman Wahid was toppled from Presidency, that shall be deemed to have impinged the constitution, the armed forces was entangled by civil politician but they did not support the Presidential Promulgated Decree.

Based on nine steps suggested by Gray in implementation and adaptation, Indonesia has just fulfill four steps with various notes and not fully implemented the RMA as Gray intended. The limitation faced by armed forces becomes serious part of decomposing problems of unprepared in implementation and adaptation of RMA. The limitation is for example, first, TNI is a typology of third world military institution, where they always rely on history rights during war for independence, so they can involve highly and also in a passive way for the good and bad of the nation. So that, when the armed forces is rammed with reality that professionalism is a step to implement RMA, there is doubt in the armed forces to metamorphose as a professional institution. Because the commitment of the government of Indonesia cannot assure the military elite to soon possibly become professional armed forces .

Second, TNI is always proud with guerrilla war tactic during the early years of independence and also doctrine of total war . Because those are concepts used to defend the independence. TNI believes that both concepts are still relevant with current situations. The pride of the army has become demand to differ the role of defence compare to navy and air force in order of balance. The pride is legitimated by the condition of state’s finance of being unable to develop defense system, due to limited budget.

Third, limited defence budget. As the biggest state in South-East Asia, Indonesia has the smallest defence budget compared to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines. The budget defence of Indonesia for 2008 is Rp. 33,7 Trilyun, or only US$ 3,5 billion, less than 1 % of Indonesia GDP . Unavailability of policy and facility to support the RMA implementation and adaptation in Indonesia is because of the ability of state in supporting the availability of supporting facilities. The limited defence budget, where government only fulfills less than 40 % requirements of the budget is raised by Ministry of Defense and armed forces . It is not strange if within the next 50 years, Indonesia still use the territory defence system, neglecting the potency of sea and air. It means, once the enemy enters the Indonesia Island, they will face guerrilla tactic, which was working during the independence war. The guerrilla doctrine implemented by armed forces, is not an indication that Indonesia does not wish to implement RMA in military, but the strength of military culture and low budget has made armed forces focus only at the reality. The focus is to guard the sovereignty of state by might and main, with equipments combat are patch up and limited .

Fourth, the existence of strategic industries in Indonesia is an advantage for armed forces because they will be able to meet requirements of combat equipments and supporting miscellaneous. However, there is no budget, raw materials, and quality human resources that make strategic industries cannot fulfill requirements of specific appliances of better weapons . The strategic industries this time carry out non-military orders, which is easier to be fulfilled and using not too difficult technology compare to fulfill requirements of military equipments. So, the transformation of defence based on information and technology in Indonesia is not yet started. This matter is based on condition of equipments of Indonesia military which still use appliances made in 1960s and early 1970s .

Despite that, it should also be comprehended that besides mentioning limitations, theoretically, the steps on the market by Gray is precisely tested with nations with an onward phase, like nations in North and East Europe with modern political stability, nations in East Asian minus North Korea. It means, based on approaches of military professionalism of a state, Indonesia becomes one of the state not in Gray’s qualification. This means, RMA as a next step of military professionalism is not yet realized by the government of Indonesia and its armed forces in the near future. It requires at least 50 years to develop steps described by Gray, with assumption that the armed forces require 25 years to build professional institutions and another 25 years to fulfill the criteria of nine steps of RMA.

III. Conclusion

Based on above descriptions, the probability of Gray concerning steps to be passed by a state, including Indonesia, require uneasy prerequisites, at least based on reality faced by Indonesia. Conceptually, the Gray theory draws serious study on how a state realizing the professionalism in armed forces as a step before implementation of RMA. But, with spectacles of western countries, for certain, it did not only work successful in Indonesia to fulfill nine steps, but also in most developing countries.

More than anything else, steps are not self-supporting among one another. Then, if one phase failed to be fulfilled, the next step hereinafter will be pursued with failure. Indonesia as one of the nation in transition to the democracy state is pursued with various reform constraints, including in military affair. Because that, the priority of development is not only focused at defence. This matter is also added with the illusion of pride and culture in armed forces in responding various changes and demands. Both problems, in the end, make armed forces as incapable institutes in examination RMA steps based on Gray.


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“TNI AL Tambah 40 Prajurit Kopaska dan Taifib”
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http://www.tni.mil.id/patriotweb/?action=NewsDetail&id=53&catid=91&ed=7 (accessed May, 20 2008)

“TNI Siap Kandangkan Alutsista Tua”
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“Veteran di Aceh: Bina Kepercayaan Dalam Menjaga Damai”
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“West Kalimantan as ‘Border Area’: A Political-Demography Perspective”
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