Since the democratization of Indonesia began in 1998, the country’s military has been undergoing major change. It has significantly altered or is preparing to change its organizational structure, doctrinal precepts, education and training formats, and personnel policies. Partly to acquire advanced weaponry, its budget has more than tripled in the past decade. Why? Is Indonesia preparing to become a regional military power? Answering a growing potential threat from China in the South China Sea? Compensating for the loss of military influence under democratic reform? And how will the military fare under new national leadership following this year’s elections?
Evan A. Laksmana is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Maxwell School, a researcher with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Jakarta), and a non-resident German Marshall Fund fellow. He has taught at the Indonesian Defense University (Jakarta) and has held research and visiting positions at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (Singapore) and the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (Honolulu). Journals that have published his work include Asian Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Defence Studies, the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Harvard Asia Quarterly, and the Journal of Strategic Studies. He tweets @stratbuzz.