The role of the armed forces in Indonesia’s politics has undergone significant transformation in the country’s transition to democracy. During the Suharto era, as prescribed in the then “Dual Function” doctrine, the armed forces played a key role in maintaining law, order, and stability, and were deeply involved in governance. The fall of Suharto’s New Order in 1998 has led to a peaceful withdrawal of Indonesia’s armed forces as an entity with a political role.
On February 23, USINDO hosted an Open Forum on “Indonesia’s Military Transformation: Beyond Democratic Reforms” with Evan A. Laksmana, a Fulbright Presidential Scholar at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a researcher with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta. Mr. Laksmana discussed how far Indonesia’s defense reform has gone since 1998 despite their withdrawal from a political role, and addressed issues in defense management and effectiveness, as well as the role of the parliament, civil society institutions, and the international community such as the U.S. in the reform process.
This talk was based on Mr. Laksmana’s academic research on wide ranging topics related to post-authoritarian military transformation.