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Indonesia: Security and Intelligence Agencies
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Security and Intelligence Agencies

SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES


Only very general information has been made public regarding the organization and activities of Indonesia's intelligence and security bodies. However, a major change in the status of security and intelligence appeared to have occurred as a result of the 1985 military reorganization. Prior to that time, the foremost intelligence agency was the Operational Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (Kopkamtib), which focused primarily on mounting internal security operations and collecting intelligence data.

Kopkamtib was established in late 1965 in the wake of the attempted communist coup of that year. Its original function was to purge from the government and the armed forces PKI members and others suspected of complicity with the communists. By the late 1960s, that task had been largely completed. In early 1969, however, Kopkamtib was given new life by a presidential decree that provided it an organizational basis closely interwoven with Hankam. Kopkamtib was assigned a mandate on all matters concerning internal security as defined in its widest sense and quickly began to exercise sweeping powers of supervision over the national political life, using the army's territorial forces as its main operational units. By the early 1970s, Kopkamtib had become a large and powerful body that concerned itself with the activities of every political and social organization in the nation; its powers of interrogation, arrest, and detention were not subject to the regular criminal justice system.

As part of the 1985 armed forces reorganization, Kopkamtib was eliminated and its widespread powers were reorganized into the Coordinating Agency for National Stability (Bakorstanas). Unlike Kopkamtib, the new agency did not have a separate staff, but instead relied upon the operational chain of command for national security matters. The elimination of Kopkamtib reflected both a consolidation of the national security situation and a streamlined intelligence and security apparatus able to operate within the reorganized armed forces structure. The key organizations in the revised Bakorstanas system were the ten army Kodams and the two intelligence agencies, the State Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Bakin) and the Armed Forces Strategic Intelligence Agency (Bais). Bakorstanas relied on the regular staffs of those organizations for its manpower.

The Bakorstanas system reinforced the power of the ten Kodam commanders, forming a new coordinating body in each of the country's twenty-seven provincial-level jurisdictions. This body was called the Regional Security Council (Muspida). The provincial governor served as chairman of the Muspida within his geographical area, but the Kodam and Korem commanders exerted great influence. Other Muspida members were the provincial or regional chief of police, the provincial assembly chairman, and the senior air force and navy officers in the province or region (if present). The Muspida system was replicated at the district (kabupaten) and subdistrict (kecamatan) levels, with the army Korem and Kodim commanders serving as lower level Muspida chairmen.

Also eliminated in 1985 was the Special Operations Service (Opsus), which formerly compiled political intelligence and was sometimes used by the president to conduct delicate foreign diplomatic assignments. Opsus was originally a combat intelligence unit set up by Suharto during the Irian Barat campaign of 1963-66. For many years, it was headed by the late Ali Murtopo, a close confidante of the president who also served as the minister of information. Ali Murtopo and Opsus were identified with the implementation of the Act of Free Choice, through which the Irian Barat became a province of Indonesia in 1969. Opsus was also involved in negotiations with Portugal regarding East Timor in the mid-1970s

In 1992 the central intelligence-gathering body was Bakin, which studied both domestic and foreign intelligence gathered by its own personnel as well as by the army and the police. Bakin was directly under the control of the president and maintained its own communications network outside the civilian and military administrations. In 1992 Bakin was headed by an army lieutenant general. Armed forces officers were sometimes seconded to Bakin for special duties. It was probable that Bakin, responsible for intelligence gathering relating to defense matters, was strengthened considerably under the reorganization and operated many of the security and intelligence functions under the Bakorstanas system that were formerly performed by Kopkamtib.

In the early 1990s, Bais was ABRI's agency for intelligence collection relating to external defense and internal security, processing, and operational functions. After the elimination of Kopkamtib, Bais received a major infusion of personnel, funds, and power. The head of Bais for many years, Murdani, served concurrently through 1983 as head of the Hankam intelligence staff, deputy chief of Bakin, and armed forces commander in chief. Like Ali Murtopo and Suharto himself, Murdani had served as an officer in Kostrad in the 1960s. Only when the minister and commander in chief posts were separated after the 1985 reorganization, with Murdani retaining only the ministerial portfolio, did he give up his Bais and Bakin posts. The reorganization eliminated the chance for one man to hold so many powerful posts at the same time. After the organization the ABRI commander in chief acted as the chief of Bais but its day-to-day operations were directed by an army major general in the post of deputy chief.

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 Factba.se.

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