Jokowi: Fulfillment of the 2020-2024 Defense Strategic Plan Adjusted to the State Budget

Jokowi made this statement after witnessing the handover of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft from Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to TNI Commander Admiral Yudo Margono, at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base, Jakarta, Wednesday (8/3).

“Everything is adjusted to the budget we have. But we really want to try to fulfill it,” Jokowi said.

The C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft was ordered from US company Lockheed Martin Aerospace. The Defense Ministry itself actually ordered five planes. The remaining four aircraft will gradually arrive until January 2024.

According to Jokowi, the aircraft is a fairly sophisticated aircraft, and is capable of transporting up to 98 paratroopers or up to 198 ordinary troops.

“And it can transport up to 19.9 tons, meaning this is good for military operations, as well as non-military operations and for natural disasters too. It can reach all parts of Indonesia, because this super Hercules plane can fly 11 hours,” he said.

On the same occasion, Prabowo said the Jokowi-Ma’ruf government’s commitment to defense was the largest in the history of the Indonesian government. The delay in fulfilling the MEF target until 2024, he said, is understandable given the occurrence of various dynamics, one of which is the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joko Widodo accompanied by Minister of Defense Prabowo, inspects the cockpit of the Super Hercules aircraft at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (Twitter/@jokowi)

President Joko Widodo accompanied by Minister of Defense Prabowo, inspects the cockpit of the Super Hercules aircraft at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (Twitter/@jokowi)

“Pak Joko Widodo’s administration, I see in history for defense, is the greatest. But of course he has priorities. Yesterday, we experienced a very dangerous COVID-19, so his priority is the safety of the people,” said Prabowo.

He also said that later all repair activities for the Super Hercules aircraft would be carried out in Indonesia. This includes major repairs and overhauls such as the replacement of the center wing box.

Khairul Fahmi, a military observer from the Institute for Security and Strategic Studies (ISESS), said that the MEF’s overall achievements so far have not been 70 percent. This, he said, was understandable given the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic uncertainty. However, considering that the pandemic situation has improved quite a bit at this time, Khairul hopes that the MEF target of 100 percent in 2024 can be met.

The reason, according to Khairul, if MEF is still far from the target, Indonesia’s defense posture cannot be said to be at the expected level. “We haven’t been able to achieve the planned defense posture, if we haven’t reached (reaching the MEF target). This means that potential threats cannot be anticipated 100 percent either. Potential threats and security disturbances, then vulnerable gaps and weaknesses that MEF can certainly cover,” Khairul told VOA.

In general, said Khairul, Indonesia’s defense equipment when viewed in terms of quantity, type and model, is quite complete. However, unfortunately, in fact, the forces possessed by Indonesia are not yet in a combat-ready position. “About 50 percent of our defense equipment is old enough, of course its use cannot be optimized compared to the defense equipment which is in new condition,” he added.

According to him, the main factor slowing down the fulfillment of the strategic plan for the defense sector in the country, among others, is the fairly tight fiscal space in the State Budget. Another factor, according to him, is the lack of harmony between the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Finance and Bappenas, so spending plans are often not as expected. Therefore, in the future, he said, the government must be able to harmonize these problems.

“Especially the alignment of the agenda between the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Defense is tasked with establishing communication with the provider country or vendor. There will be a reputational problem later when the Ministry of Defense has moved forward, then it turns out that the Ministry of Finance and Bappenas are still conservative, some have not been approved. Especially if it is related to regional dynamics, geopolitics including potential threats globally, there is an urgent need to adjust our defense development plans,” he concluded. [gi/ab]

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