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Indonesia: Administrative and Command Structure
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces > Administrative and Command Structure


The nation's four armed services, collectively termed ABRI, consisted of the three military services -- the army, navy, and air force -- and the police. In 1985 a major reorganization separated Hankam from the ABRI headquarters and staff. Hankam was responsible for planning, acquisition, and management tasks but had no command or control of troop units. The ABRI commander in chief retained command and control of all armed forces and continued by tradition to be the senior military officer in the country. The minister of defense and security in 1992 was a retired general, Leonardus B. "Benny" Murdani. Both the minister and the ABRI commander in chief, in 1992 General Try Sutrisno, had cabinet rank and direct access to the president.

Since the separation of the ministry from the armed forces headquarters in 1985, the Hankam staff has been composed largely of retired military personnel. The split provided positions of responsibility for highly qualified but relatively young retired officers of the Generation of 1945 while also opening up highlevel billets in ABRI to younger active-duty officers who had been frustrated by slow rates of promotion.

In 1992, the administrastive structure of Hankam consisted of a minister, secretary general, inspector general, three directorates general and a number of functional centers and institutes and most functional center chiefs were active-duty military officers.

The role of the separate armed services in 1992 had not changed since 1969, when the heads of the army, navy, and air force were reduced to chiefs of staff. Operational control of almost all their military units was vested in the commander in chief, reducing the headquarters of each military service to the status of administrative organs. Only the police chief continued to exercise operational control over his own personnel.

Largely retained intact when split off from Hankam in 1985, the ABRI staff and its functions remained directly subordinate to the commander in chief, who remained, in turn, directly responsible to the president, also the supreme commander of the armed forces. Under the commander in chief, there was a provision for a deputy, a position that in 1992 was not filled. There were two ABRI chiefs of staff, one for the general staff and one for social-political affairs. The inspector general and the assistant for plans and budget, as well as a number of agencies and institutes, remained directly under the commander in chief. The ABRI chief of general staff directed assistants for communications/electronics, intelligence, logistics, operations, personnel, public security affairs, and territorial affairs, the chief of staff for social-political affairs directed the armed forces' dwifungsi operations in the civilian sector of the government through assistants for nonmilitary workers' affairs and for social-political affairs. The ABRI joint staff supported the headquarters of each of the four services. Staff personnel were drawn from all four services. Police officers served only in positions related to internal security.

The 1985 reorganization also made significant changes in the armed forces chain of command. The four multiservice Regional Defense Commands (Kowilhans) and the National Strategic Command (Kostranas) were eliminated from the defense structure, establishing the Military Regional Command (Kodam), or area command, as the key organization for strategic, tactical, and territorial operations for all services. The chain of command flowed directly from the ABRI commander in chief to the ten Kodam commanders, and then to subordinate army territorial commands. The former territorial commands of the air force and navy were eliminated from the structure altogether, with each of those services represented on the Kodam staff by a senior liaison officer. The navy and air force territorial commands were replaced by operational commands. The air force formed two Operations Commands (Ko-Ops) while the navy had its Eastern Fleet and Western Fleet -- Armadas. The air force's National Air Defense Command (Kohanudna) remained under the ABRI commander in chief. It had an essentially defensive function that included responsibility for the early warning system.

The commander in chief exercised control over most of the combat elements of the army, navy, and air force through the ten army Kodams, the two air force Ko-Ops, and the two navy Armadas. The geographic extent of the army Kodam in the early 1990s was as follows: Kodam I, Special Region of Aceh and Sumatera Utara, Sumatera Barat, and Riau provinces; Kodam II, Jambi, Bengkulu, Sumatera Selatan, and Lampung provinces; Kodam III, Jawa Barat Province; Kodam IV, Jawa Tengah Province and the Special Region of Yogyakarta; Kodam V, Jawa Timur Province; Kodam VI, the four provinces of Kalimantan; Kodam VII, the four provinces of Sulawesi; Kodam VIII, Maluku and Irian Jaya provinces; Kodam IX, Bali, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Nusa Tenggara Barat, and Timor Timur provinces; and Kodam Jaya Jakarta, the Special Capital City Region of Jakarta.

The commander in chief also exercised operational control over two special strike force commands. The first was Kostrad, which had been formed in the early 1960s during the West Irian campaign. It was from his position as Kostrad commander, in fact, that Suharto organized resistance to the 1965 coup. Since then the powerful post has been filled by officers considered particularly loyal to Suharto. By 1992 Kostrad had a strength of some 35,000 to 40,000 army personnel. It consisted of two divisions, each containing airborne and infantry brigades; a separate airborne brigade; one cavalry brigade; two field artillery regiments; and several combat support and service support units.

A second strike force command was the Special Forces Command (Kopassus). This organization, formerly called Kopassandha (which also means Special Forces Command), was reorganized and reduced in size in 1985. In 1992 Kopassus forces numbered some 2,500 army personnel identifiable by their distinctive red berets. Organized into two operational groups and one training group, these special forces were trained in intelligence gathering, a variety of special operations techniques, sabotage, and airborne and seaborne landings.

In addition to the regular armed forces, there were militiastyle paramilitary formations throughout the country. Estimates of the national strength of these forces ranged between 70,000 and 100,000. These units came under the army territorial hierarchy, which provided them with officers and training. In times of emergency, they came under the command of the army area commander. As of 1992, information regarding military and civilian reserve forces was not available.

Data as of November 1992

Last Updated: November 1992

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Indonesia was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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