Tue, 25 Feb 2003

White paper on defense strategy ready in March

The Ministry of Defense is in the final stages of preparing a white paper on defense strategy that gives a greater role to the Army to handle security disturbances and internal threats over the next decade, says a minister.

Defense minister Matori Abdul Djalil disclosed during a hearing with the House of Representatives' defense, foreign affairs and security commission that after having been discussed with top security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Supreme Advisory Council (DPA), the white paper would be published by the end of March.

The minister declined to discuss the white paper's substance in detail but said it consists of six main parts -- the background to the white paper, national reform and state defense, the defense budget, the international strategic situation, threats, and strategic defense and strategic policy.

"The white paper will be published in the form of a book, and it contains strategic policies on state defense vis-a-vis possible threats to domestic security and to the country's sovereignty," he said, adding that the white paper was designed to prepare security authorities to deal with any possible threats.

Maj. Gen. Sudradjat, director general for defense strategy at the Defense Ministry, implied that the white paper would give a greater role to the Army over the next ten years because possible threats to security would come from inside the country during this period.

"We have identified three kinds of threat in the form of military attacks, non-traditional threats and security disturbances. The latter will dominate over the next ten years because of increasing separatist activities in Aceh and Papua," he said, adding that the possibility of a military attack by a foreign enemy was very small.

The increasing separatist activities would need a strong Army, he said. --JP