Subject: Indonesian military working on reshuffle

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Jakarta Post February 15, 2002

TNI working on reshuffle

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Adm. Widodo AS admitted on Thursday that the institution was in the midst of a major reshuffle, while adding that replacements in the level of top brass remained undecided.

"The TNI is committed to regeneration among high-ranking officers as part of our personnel development, but the changing of the guard depends greatly on the interests of our superiors," Widodo said at a press conference at the TNI Headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, at the end of its two-day leadership conference.

He was referring to President Megawati Soekarnoputri, who according to the Indonesian Constitution, is the military's supreme commander.

According to Widodo, the conference also included discussion of a reshuffle among the TNI's high-ranking officers, except for those at the level of lieutenant general and general.

The TNI reshuffle regularly takes place twice a year in April and October.

There has been much speculation about a reshuffle in the TNI's top brass over the past few months after a Megawati aide said that the President was seeking a new TNI chief.

The 2001 Defense Law restricts the race for TNI chief to officers with a military rank of four stars, or those who have experience as a chief of staff.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Endriartono Sutarto and his predecessor, Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, have been suggested as the strongest candidates to replace Widodo.

Endriartono will enter his mandatory retirement age in April, but he can opt to have his service extended if he takes over the TNI top post.

Deputy Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Kiki Syahnakrie will reportedly replace Lt. Gen. Jhony Lumintang as the Ministry of Defense secretary-general. Both will soon retire.

There have been reports that several military officers allegedly held accountable in past human rights abuses in East Timor would be promoted to the strategic position.

They include former Udayana Military commander Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, who reportedly will be promoted as the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad); former East Timor Military commander Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman, who is likely to take up the Jakarta Garrison chief of staff post, and Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, who has been tipped to serve as the TNI spokesman, or as the Military Academy governor.

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