TNI Needs to Redefine Security Threat and Work to Handle It

Indonesian navy. Photo contributed by Dunia Marinir

Indonesia Herald-Jakarta.  Due to its low budget for defence equipment in 2016, TNI needs to redefine Indonesian national security threats so that its every development effort is aimed at handling them effectively. 
National threats will not likely to come from foreign states and TNI needs not to worry to get involved in a total war against another country. For instance, recent experience has shown that despite some misunderstandings regarding border issue with Malaysia, we all know that Malaysia prefers solving these misunderstandings through dialogues.
Today TNI faces non traditional security threats posed by transnational crime organizations through terrorism and criminal activities such as illegal logging, human trafficking, and illegal fishing.
These new kinds of threats and enemies consequently require TNI to change its focus on which force it wants to develop and involve in combating them. Although TNI still needs to involve army, however, concerning Indonesia’s vast geographic area, TNI should perhaps prioritise its development in the navy and air force.
In handling the threats, there are several things which TNI can do. Firstly, in combating terrorism, through its intelligence unit (BAIS), TNI needs to deploy its officers to terrorism breeding grounds such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan. Working with its foreign counterparts, TNI gathers intelligence and pass it on to National Anti terrorism Agency (BNPT) for analysis and raid of terrorist groups in Indonesia.
To combat illegal logging, TNI needs to set up more army outposts along the borders, for instance between Indonesia and Malaysia in Kalimantan. In these outposts TNI needs to build helipads and provide helicopters for transporting soldiers and logistics. To monitor illegal activities along the borders, TNI needs to deploy air force’s surveillance aircraft whose surveillance results will be followed up by the army.  To attract its officers or soldiers manning these posts and prevent them from colluding with illegal loggers, TNI needs to reward them with high salary and promotion. Working with police in the border areas, TNI would hand in any illegal loggers arrested for crossing Indonesian border and destroying Indonesian forests.
If TNI can guard Indonesian borders from illegal loggers, TNI does not only protect Indonesian sovereignty, but economically it also saves Indonesian daily loss of Rp. 83 billion from illegal logging.
In combating human trafficking, TNI can deploy the navy ships to patrol maritime borders with Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Once the navy finds boats loaded with smuggled people, they can detain them and hand them over to the police for legal processes.
In combating illegal fishing TNI can play its important role by deploying its navy ships to patrol Indonesian sea more often and constantly conduct maritime surveillance.  Working with the Department of Marine and Fisheries (DKP), the navy monitor illegal fishing ships in Indonesian waters. Then, working with Air and Water Police (Polairud), the navy detain illegal fishers and ships.
To maximise its role in this, TNI’s BAIS also needs to work with BIN to gather information on overseas fishing companies operating in Indonesian waters. The intelligence gathered then can be forwarded to the navy and Polairud to detain the companies’ ships.
If successful, TNI through the navy and BAIS will not only protect Indonesian waters but also will save Indonesia’s annual loss of Rp. 30 trillion caused by illegal fishing.
To realise its roles in protecting Indonesia from non traditional security threats, TNI needs human resource development in particular in the area of intelligence gathering and it also should upgrade its defence equipments.
BAIS needs to recruit more intelligence officers for overseas deployment to gather intelligence on foreign actors masterminding or involving in illegal logging, human trafficking, terrorism and illegal fishing.
For the army, TNI needs to buy or at least deploy more helicopters for border protection from illegal loggers in Kalimantan. Likewise, TNI also needs to buy faster patrol boats such as Polish made NS-935 for the navy to protect Indonesian waters from illegal fishers, people smugglers, terrorists or illegal logger’s ships. In addition, for the air force as well as for the navy, TNI needs to buy more surveillance aircrafts to monitor the presence and activities of illegal loggers, people smugglers, terrorists and illegal fishers.
        Finally, for TNI to be able to protect Indonesia from non traditional security threats, TNI firstly should beat its main enemy which is its self by combating corruption within its high rank officers. If what President SBY said to national media in February 2005 that TNI was involved in illegal logging is still true today, TNI’s oath to protect Indonesia will be in vain. (IH-067). 

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