Indonesia SSR Snapshot


Key Statistics:

Population: 257,563,815 (World Bank 2017) 

Capital: Jakarta 

Official Languages: Indonesian

Major Ethnic Groups: Javanese (40.1%), Sundanese  (15.5%), Malay (3.7%), Batak (3.6%), Madurese (3%), Other (34.1%) (CIA World Factbook  2017)

GDP per Capita (current US dollars): 861,933,968.74 (World Bank 2017)

GDP per Capita PPP (current international dollars): 11,057.6 (World Bank 2017)  

Security Sector Stats:

Active Armed Forces: 675,500 in 2015 (World Bank 2017)

Police Force: 400,000 police officers and civilian employees (INTERPOL 2017) 

Small Arms: Defence forces: 900,000 firearms; police: 290,000 firearms (Gunpolicy 2016)

Military Expenditure: 0.9 % of GDP (World Bank 2017) 

If you notice any information that needs to be updates in this SSR Country Snapshot, please let us know at

SSR Snapshot: Table of Contents

1. SSR Summary

2. Key Dates

3. Central SSR Programs/Activities

4. Key Funding Commitments

5. Major International Donors

6. Major Civil Society Stakeholders

7. Key Domestic Government Actors

8. Central Challenges

9. For More Information

1. SSR Summary

Indonesia is a democratic country with the highest Muslim concentration in the world and has steady economic growth, albeit troubled by continuous communal violence. Under President Suharto (in office March 1967 – May 1998), the Indonesian Defense Forces (ARBI) were deeply involved in the country’s governance, economy, and society. Following Suharto’s abdication, the ARBI, now the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), undertook a self-imposed process of internal reform as part of the general reformasi  movement. The most fundamental change was the creation of a civilian body above that of the military command. The other major change was the formal separation of the TNI and the police (POLRI).

Security sector reform (SSR) has been an almost entirely locally driven process, with limited participation from outside parties. The relationship between the Indonesian security forces, the civilian government, and civil society organizations (CSOs) is complex. Since the initial reformasi , SSR has proceeded through fluid, negotiated processes that do not lend themselves to timelines or structures imposed by outside actors. Because of the deep integration of the security sector in Indonesian society, it is difficult to reform any one aspect in complete isolation (Donais, 2008: 243).

Political actors have displayed neither a deep understanding of the security sector, nor a strong interest in reforming it. After the initial push from within TNI, civil society organizations (CSO) have been the driving forces for reform (Rights and Democracy, 2008:11). Prominent CSOs involved in SSR have included the Indonesian Working Group on Security Sector Reform (IWG-SSR), which has its roots in a USAID funded program. Bringing together security sector personnel of varying rank, as well as politicians, academics, civil servants, and members of civil society, has encouraged both SSR in general and greater SSR literacy on the part of those governing (Donais, 2008: 239).

Return to Top

2. Key Dates

  • 1998 – The collapse of Suharto’s New Order leads to an internally driven reform process by ABRI (Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia), then by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia.
  • 1999 – A comprehensive reform program was initiated by the reform-minded former generals, who worked in the civilian Ministry of Defence (Sukma, 2012). The reform aimed to revise the defense and military laws.
  • 2000-2004 – Indonesia’s parliament, the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, or MPR) was involved in the reform process by introducing legislations for SSR. For example Law No. 3/2002 and 34/2004 introduced sweeping changes in Indonesia’s security sector while consolidating civilian control over the armed forces.

Return to Top

3. Central SSR Programs/Activities

  • The Indonesian National Police (POLRI) separated from the Indonesian National Defence Force (TNI) after the release of the reform guide Paradigma Baru ABRI (ABRI’s New Paradigm).
  • Community policing was established by the POLRI as a major step forward in building public trust. The ‘‘Blue Book’’ by the former police chief, envisioned a 20-year strategy of reform for the POLRI in 1999 (ICG, 2012a).
  • The Indonesian National Defence Force (TNI) withdrew itself from social and political offices, banned its members from taking civilian jobs while serving in the force and severed ties with political parties.
  • Decree No. VII/2000 introduced a clear division of responsibility between the TNI and POLRI. Later, Law No. 3/2002 and 34/2004 further codified the changes, which also included civilian control over the military and a comprehensive framework of key civilian actors to clarify TNI’s operational roles and consolidate parliamentary oversight on defense matters.

Return to Top

4. Key Funding Commitments

Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice Program (AIPJ): This initiative aims to reform Indonesia’s judiciary, building a professional, accountable and transparent justice system. It also aims to improve women’s access to justice. The partnership spans from 2008 to 2013.

Support Program for Reform of the Indonesian National Police: This program is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency and aims to reform the Indonesian police force. The program started in 2005 and is assisting POLRI in developing the POLMAS (community policing) model in Indonesia.

Return to Top

5. Major International Donors

  • Japan began supporting police reform in Indonesia in 2001, mostly through training, community policing, investigation techniques and skills development (GRIPS, 2010). The reform project had pilot projects running in Jakarta and later extended to other district-level police stations.
  • The US has been a major partner in Indonesia’s SSR. The US’s International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP) trained 3,000 personnel between 2003-2004 alone. The US assistance was mostly in the area of management, training, use of modern technology, maintenance of law and order, police investigation, counter-terrorism and weapons and equipment delivery.
  • Australia supported the establishment of the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) at the police academy. It also supports training in intelligence, investigation techniques, and skills and case management. Furthermore, it supports the operations of Indonesia’s Transnational Crime Coordination Centre.
  • The UK assists in police education and training. The UK also provided financial support for police reform under the Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia.
  • The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) provided financial support to Indonesia under the Partnership for Governance Reform program for its police reform from 2000 (The Partnership for Governance Reform).

Return to Top

6. Major Civil Society Stakeholders

KONTRAS (Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan) or the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence: A major CSO involved in revealing extra-Judicial killing by the Indonesian security forces in Aceh and West Papua (International Labor Office, 2003). The commission is active as of 2013.

PolWatch (Police Watch): PolWatch is a CSO, affiliated with the Faculty of Law at the University of Indonesia, which works as a watchdog, keeping the POLRI accountable in their operation.

Return to Top

7. Key Domestic Government Actors

Ministry of Defence   The Ministry of Defence is the civilian body responsible for the armed forces. Its duties include implementing government policy, strategic planning, and budgeting.

People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) – The MPR has passed a number of reform-related laws that have had significant impacts on SSR in Indonesia. However, security literacy remains an issue, exacerbating existing problems with oversight.

Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (MoJH) —  The MoJH has judicial review over any legislation or decree passed by the Indonesia parliament, the President, or provincial governors (Jurist, 2010). It also acts to promote understanding of new and existing laws, institutionalize human rights norms, and advance legal reform.

Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) – The TNI, formally the ABRI, encompasses the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. It is organized on a territorial basis, with 12 Military Area Commands (Kodams) and a Central Strategic Command, under civilian control through the Ministry of Defense.

Indonesian National Police (POLRI) – The POLRI is responsible for internal security, including counterterrorism operations.

Attorney General’s Office (AGO) – The AGO oversees the public prosecution system, recruits and trains prosecutors, addresses public complaints, and provides legal advice to the government.

Return to Top

8. Central Challenges

Rifts Between Local Polities and the State – Indonesia experienced a rapid decentralization process in 1998 that was coined the “big bang” (ICG, 2012a). Within a short period of time, the country transformed from the most to the least centralized country in the region. Despite a smooth transition process, it produced a rift between local politics and the central authority. Local authorities have defied many of the state’s rulings, ignoring the Constitutional Court’s directions and legal notices (ICG, 2012a).  This is partly due to a lack of clear enforcement processes from the state’s central legal system at the provincial and municipal levels. As a result, local warlordism, and religious and ethnic cleavages are becoming the norm in local and provincial politics of Indonesia, which is already ravaged by communal violence. The Constitutional Court, the highest civilian court, cannot ensure enforcement of its legal authority in the sub-provincial level in Indonesia. As a result, judiciary reform appears weak in many aspects of its legal enforcement mechanisms.

Human Rights Violations in Counter-Terror Operations – Indonesia’s counter-terrorist wing, the Detachment 88, has been effective in uncovering terrorist cells and plots (ICG, 2012b). However, the excessive use of force and human rights violations are major concerns with Indonesia’s counter-terrorism program’s practice (DCAF, 2007). The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has criticized the Detachment 88 for extra-judicial killings (KontraS 2008).

Inadequate Police Reform – Problems with Indonesia’s community policing also continue to persist. Since the reforms started in 1998, POLRI made rapid progress in establishing community police, however, it failed to garner public trust (ICG, 2012c). Although the POLRI was separated from Indonesia’s military force, it retained centralized and corrupt supervision without any independent monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, lack of proper training and cultural and operational barriers caused severe public distrust, resulting in several mob attacks in police station. Despite having one of the highest police-to-civilian ratio (1:600) in the world, Indonesia’s police reform has been inadequate in producing good governance and positive record on human rights (ICG, 2012c).

Return to Top

9. For More Information

Return to Top

Centre for Security Governance

The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to the study of security transitions in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states, a process also known as security sector reform (SSR). A registered charity based in based in Kitchener, Canada, the CSG maintains a global network of research fellows from a variety of backgrounds, including practitioners, research analysts and academics, and partner organizations from the public and private sector engaged in SSR issues.

The CSG seeks to enhance the effectiveness of donor assistance and support to SSR programs through its research, events, training and direct policy advice. Committed to innovation, the CSG employs various technological tools to advance its impact and reach, most notably long-distance training and conferencing platforms. Supporting promising analysts and academics as well as advancing new ideas and approaches are also core values of the centre. Through its active engagement with SSR donors and recipients on the ground in fragile and conflict-affected states, the CSG endeavours to translate research, advice and training into tangible improvements in SSR policy and programming.