Subject: Investigate TNI Aircraft: SBY [+Op-Ed: RI's Defense Transformation]

also: Op-Ed: RI's Defense Transformation

The Jakarta Post

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Investigate TNI Aircraft: President

Yos Hasrul and Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Kendari, Bogor

After a series of crashes involving military transport President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the Indonesia Military to evaluate its air transport system and aircraft fleets to ensure their safety.

Seven military aircraft have crashed so far this year, killing 83 military officers.

Speaking to the press before a public campaign event in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, on Saturday, the President said a team would be established not only to carry out a thorough investigation into an Air Force chopper crash at the Atang Sanjaya Airbase in Cilangkap, Bogor, on Friday, but to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all military aircraft. Friday's crash was the second of its kind in less than a week.

"The team is still being set up. As it was done with the increasing crashes of commercial aircraft two years ago, I set up a national team to conduct an evaluation and thank God, civilian aviation is now in a good condition. Maintenance, training, education and leadership will all be examined as part of the evaluation," he said.

He said the evaluation, which will involve military aircraft experts, will give recommendations as to what the military and the government should do to improve the safety of military aviation.

During the comprehensive evaluation, all aircraft, except those in regular operation, will be grounded.

In the past two months five military aircraft, including two choppers, have crashed in accidents in Papua, Bandung, Madiun, Cianjur and Bogor.

In the most recent incident, which killed four soldiers, an Air Force Puma helicopter crashed during a test fl ight just after repairs had been carried out.

The series of accidents has raised concern among legislators at the House of Representatives, who are urging the government to scrap all old war ships and aircraft and raise the defense budget.

"The House has asked the government to double the defense budget but the latter allocated only Rp 33 trillion (US$3.2 billion) while the minimum defense budget should be more than Rp 130 trillion," Chairman of the House Commission I onDefense,InformationandForeign Affairs Theo Sambuaga said Saturday.

Commander of the Atang Sanjaya Airbase Com. Bambang Agus Margono said the crash could possibly be attributed to the small maintenance budget allocated to the Air Force. He however, gave his assurance that his subordinates do not "cannibalize" (replace parts of one aircraft with those of another) when repairing helicopters.

"The current budget cannot cover the whole cost of maintenance," he said after the burial of Chief Sgt. Catur Heli, a technician who died in the crash, at the Dreded Hero Cemetery in Bogor.

The body of Maj. Sobiq Fanani, who piloted the chopper, was buried in a military ceremony in his hometown of Magelang, Central Java, while the two other victims, First Lt. Wisnu and First Sgt. Catur Doli, were buried in their hometowns in Subang and Solo, on Saturday.

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The Jakarta Post Sunday, June 14, 2009

RI's Defense Transformation

Anak Agung Banyu Perwita , Bandung

In recent years, defense forces throughout the Asia-Pacific region have begun to pay increasing attention to implementation of defense transformation. China, for instance, is generally recognized to be at the forefront - in terms of strategy, organization and technology - of conceptualizing and implementing defense transformation. Its efforts, of course, apparently have influenced the current security environment in the region.

Considering this, how Indonesia should respond to this development, particularly in the midst of the military provocation from Malaysia on Ambalat, is important.

It is also important for Indonesia to pay more serious attention to this issue, particularly in the light of the recent accidents involving its military equipment (notably aircraft). The idea of implementing defense transformation should also become one of the top priorities for all the presidential candidates in the upcoming election.

Many defense analysts see this as synonymous with what is termed the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). This can be defined as the application of new technologies into a significant number of military systems combined with innovative operational concepts and organizational adaptation in a way that fundamentally alters the character and conduct of a military operation.

Most analysts and proponents of defense transformation are in general agreement that the current RMA and therefore the current process of transformation has been primarily driven and enabled by dramatic advances in IT over the past two or three decades.

Obviously, defense transformation entails much more than mere force modernization. Transformation, however, is not simply a techno-fix. It fundamentally changes the way the military does business - doctrinally, organizationally and institutionally. Finally, it demands fundamental changes in the ways the military procures critical equipment and reform of the technological and industrial base that contribute to the development and production of transformational systems.

All this, in turn, requires vision and leadership at the top to develop basic concepts of defense transformation; establish the necessary institutional and political momentum for implementing transformation; and to allocate the financial resources and human capital required for implementation.

Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region have demonstrated in their military an increasing capability for implementing transformation. The recently published Australian Defence White Paper has also shown this trend.

According to one report, the four key components of the Australian RMA are weapons lethality, force projection, information processing and intelligence collection. As a practical result, Australia stresses developing and enhancing the mobility, firepower, and sustainability of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) by expanding inter-operability and increasing logistical support.

China has also been particularly influenced by the emerging IT-based RMA. Beijing is currently engaged in a determined effort to modernize its armed forces, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), in order to fight and win limited wars under high-tech conditions.

This doctrine revolves around short-duration, high-intensity conflicts characterized by mobility, speed, and long-range attack; employs joint operations fought simultaneously throughout the entire air, land, sea, space and electromagnetic battle space; and relies heavily upon extremely lethal high-technology weapons. PLA operational doctrine also emphasizes pre-emption, surprise, and shock value since the earliest stages of conflict may be crucial to the outcome of a war.

India has also begun to pay closer attention to the implementation of the emerging IT-based RMA. In particular, this response entails exploiting the emerging information revolution in warfare if India still wants to be taken seriously as a regional and global power, and if it still wants to have a fighting chance in a future war. In this regard, India's rapidly growing IT sector is seen as playing a critical role in this effort.

Japan's interest in defense transformation has much of its roots in the 1998 North Korean Taepodong missile test, which alerted Tokyo of the need to reform and reorient its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to new threats, particularly ballistic missiles and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Other concerns affecting Japan's interest in transformation include the possibility of cyber attacks on its national information infrastructure, the likely expansion of SDF involvement in international military operations (such as in Iraq), and increased military cooperation with the United States in regional security undertakings.

Taiwan's RMA is largely predicated on Chinese threat scenarios and, therefore, is very much influenced by Chinese thinking about the RMA. Not surprisingly, Taipei is very concerned about defending against a missile strike and securing its command and control network from PLA attacks while also engaging in offensive information warfare against China. Elements of such a doctrine include early warning systems, and an integrated and secure command and control system, along with antimissile interceptors and possibly retaliatory ballistic missile systems.

Defense transformation has many implications for security in the Asia-Pacific region. At the very least, the introduction of new technologies and new armaments promises to significantly affect strategy and operations on tomorrow's battlefield and hence alter the determinants of critical capabilities in modern warfare.

Defense transformation means much more than the mere modernization of a country's armed forces. It is, in fact, the very promise of a paradigm shift in the character and conduct of warfare. For this reason, defense transformation entails more than simply overlaying new technologies and new hardware over existing force structures; rather, it also demands fundamental changes in the ways that the future military will organize and fight wars.

Subsequently, defense transformation has the potential to greatly impact upon regional defense and security in the Asia-Pacific. But the question still remains for Indonesia: How can we follow and adopt this new trend for the sake of our national security interests?

The writer is Professor in International Relations, Parahyangan Catholic University-Bandung and Director, Division of Global Affairs, Indonesia Institute for Strategic Studies, Jakarta.


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