Minister of Defense: “Defense is not a cost but an investment”

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Minister of Defense, Prabowo Subianto is seen greated by Chairwoman of DPR Committee I, Meutya Hafid, followed by deputy Minister Wahyu Sakti Trenggono as they enter the House chambers. This is the first hearing on the defense program under the newly appointed Minister of Defense, Monday (11/11/2019). (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto and Deputy Minister of Defense Wahyu Sakti Trenggono, newly-appointed by President Joko Widodo on 23 October this year, have revealed that they are performing an inventory of immediate issues that they are facing and reviewing all programs in their Ministry, whether completed, ongoing, or planned. Prabowo made the statement when he opened an exposition of Ministry of Defense programs, during a Work Meeting held with the House of Representatives’ Commission I at the Parliamentary Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday (11/11/2019).

Prabowo stated that in order to manifest the vision and mission of the head of State as well as the Government, President of RI Joko Widodo, i.e. an advanced, and independent Indonesia, a country with strong character based on the principles of mutual assistance and respect of diversity, he would do his utmost to defend NKRI sovereignty. “This is the scope of our duty: to provide protection for the entire citizenry and home territory of Indonesia. This is our vision and mission, which will serve as our foundational work in the future,” he said.

Prabowo stated that in order to maintain State defenses, he would base future policies of the Ministry of Defense on a philosophy based on understanding detailed purposes of State Administration. The defense and security of our nation must not be seen as only an addition or addendum. It should not be considered as something we merely participate in, but is rather an aspect of having a country in the first place – to provide security and protection for all Indonesian citizens. “We may construct much majestic State infrastructure, but if we fail to extend adequate protection to our land, sea, and air territories, we will lose our freedom and sovereignty as a nation,” he said.

He further reiterated the importance of maintaining a unified State defense and security vision – one that is formulated jointly. He believes that the best defense for maintaining Indonesia’s sovereignty is never offensive, but a truly defensive stance. “We do not mean to disturb any other nation at all. However, we must also never allow our territory, our interest, or our prosperity be intruded upon by other nations. This is the basis of our attitude and action,” he said.

Prabowo reminds us that Indonesia’s defense of its sovereignty has been historically maintained by all of its citizens. Therefore, even if Indonesia is forced to go to war, the battle would take the form of a total people’s war. “The concept of “total people war” has been Indonesia’s way. It is born out of our history: all citizens have the right and obligation to participate in the defense of the nation. Our facilities may be destroyed by an enemy, but I believe that Indonesia would never be occupied by any other nation, because all of its people will become the defensive front of the entire nation. This will be the focus of our defense and security preparation and concept in the future,” he said.

He further stated that other than the Indonesian National Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – “TNI”) as the primary defense and security component, Indonesia needs to prepare supporting components from all cadres of its citizenry: farmers, fishermen, businessmen, academicians, community organizations, and political parties who would stand to guard NKRI’s land, sea, and air borders, ensuring they are free from threats. “We will make preparations in our major islands in order to be able to survive independently. Our foreign policy is to be an ‘active freedom’: in truth we want to be friends with everyone, as I personally believe it is in harmony with the ancient saying that ‘1,000 friends are too few, 1 enemy is too many’,” he went on. “In order to encourage defense from the non-military sectors, we need the participation of other ministries, including the Ministry of Education, Research & Development and higher education. We need to instill the basics of national defense among our students, from Middle School, High School, to college. Let us take the example of the USA, a superpower: 20% of its officers come from military academies, while the remaining 80% graduate from supporting components such as universities.”

Prabowo stated that Indonesia has its own defense industry, one capable of producing armaments and other equipment domestically. He assured listeners that we can produce everything from bullets to rockets ourselves, as we have the raw materials available. Therefore, he is optimistic that Indonesia will have a strong defense industry within the next few years. Even now, many other countries have purchased the defense and security equipment produced by PT Pindad, PT PAL, and PT Dirgantara Indonesia. Indonesia is becoming a respected, strong, and professional nation, one that is able to handle a variety of issues in several sectors simultaneously.

Prabowo then reiterated that creating strong national defense and security must be seen as an investment and not a mere cost burden. “Defense is not a cost, but rather an investment. We are ultimately responsible for our own defense and security. We must never allow Indonesia to become weak. No matter the cost, I believe that Indonesia must be strong. Otherwise, we will be trampled on by other nations,” he said.

The Minister of Defense urges all citizens to do their part, by starting, creating and maintaining a robust national defense system with efficient budgeting and intelligent workload. Peace is impossible without stability, and stability will not be possible without economic development and prosperity. The basis of economic development and prosperity is political stability and strong national defense. This is what he intends to indicate by stating defense is an investment. (Dan)