Subject: TNI To Boost Spending On Weapons: Minister Purnomo

The Jakarta Post Thursday, May 6, 2010

Military To Boost Spending On Weapons

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Tuesday for the first time in years the military plans to spend more on revamping its weaponry than improving the welfare of its personnel.

The Defense Ministry is also aiming to gradually raise the defense budget from the current 0.9 percent to 1.5 percent of the country’s GDP by 2015, Purnomo said, adding the government began raising defense expenditure this year.

“We are hoping to reach the 1.5 percent target by 2014 or 2015”.

Indonesia’s GDP was about Rp 5,000 trillion (US$555 billion) in 2008, according to the Central Statistics Agency.

The government allocated about Rp 360 billion for defense spending this year. The ministry, according to Purnomo, would only spend Rp 152.9 billion to finance staff welfare programs.

“We will apply zero growth policy to our force — meaning we will recruit a number of men proportionate to the number that retire every year,” he told reporters.

The ministry, he added, would also implement a rightsizing policy, which would create more military commands (Kodam) without increasing personnel.

Purnomo said the Navy was now in talks on whether they should add another fleet to the existing two fleets; the West and East Navy Commands.

The plan to improve the weaponry system is part of the military’s efforts to maximize its essential minimum force designed to be able to safeguard the country’s territory in day to day basis.

The ministry, Purnomo said, would also begin to purchase more weapons from the domestic weapons industry.

“By implementing this policy, we could save more money on maintenance,” he said.

The ministry’s inspectorate general Vice Marshall Errys Heryyanto dismissed allegations that the military was planning to become more aggressive by revamping and purchasing more weapons.

“We are doing it in order to be able to safeguard the country’s vast territory. We have no intention of becoming a regional aggressor,” he said.

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