Potential Problems & Urgency of Reserve Components in the Middle of the Military Reformation Agenda

By: Andrian Pratama Taher – October 8th, 2021

tirto.id - President Joko Widodo has inaugurated the formation of reserve component (Komcad) batch 2021 at Pusdikpassus, Batujajar, West Java, Thursday (7/10/2021). There are 3,103 people who will be the first batch of reserve components according to Law Number 23 of 2019 concerning National Resource Management (UU PSDN).

They consist of 500 recruits from Rindam Jaya, 500 people from Rindam 3 Siliwangi, 500 people from Rindam IV Diponegoro, 500 people from Rindam V Brawijaya, 499 people from Rindam XII Tanjungpura and 604 people from the Defense University.

In his remarks at the inauguration, Jokowi emphasized that the members of the component were returning to the community. Jokowi emphasized that they would only serve if the state asked them to.

"The reserve component's active period is only when participating in training and at the time of mobilization, but members of the reserve component must always be on standby if called by the state," Jokowi said during a speech at the inauguration of the component's first batch.

Jokowi also reminded that the reserve components to only move on orders from the president with the approval of the DPR and under the control of the TNI Commander. He also stressed that the reserve components cannot move except for the interests of the nation.

“This means that there are no reserve component members who carry out independent activities. I need to emphasize that the spare components should not be used for anything other than defense purposes. The reserve components are only for the interests of defense and the interests of the state," Jokowi said.

Even though it has been approved by Jokowi, a number of parties still voice their rejection of the formation of the component. The Deputy Coordinator of KontraS, Rivanlee Anandar, admitted that there are still problems in the legal basis.

He highlighted that Article 7 paragraph 2 of Law No. 3 of 2002 on national defense only provides limitations as supporters of the main counterpart, but the PSDN Law provides space to engage in hybrid warfare.

"We are worried that the blurring of the word 'hybrid' opens up opportunities to use spare components for other purposes because it has an impact on the blurring of the division of tasks, the role of the institution," Rivanlee told reporters Tirto, Thursday (7/10/2021).

Rivanlee then explained that this was the reason they submitted a judicial review of the PSDN Law to the Constitutional Court together with the NGO Coalition for Security Sector Reform.

This coalition is suing 14 articles in the PSDN Law, namely Article 4 paragraphs (2) and (3), Article 17, Article 18, Article 20 paragraph (1) letter a, Article 28, Article 29, Article 46, Article 66 paragraph (1) and paragraph (2), Article 75, Article 77, Article 78, Article 79, Article 81 and Article 82 of the PSDN Law. This lawsuit was filed on Monday (31/5/2021) with the case number Case Number 27/PUU-XIX/2021. This case is still under investigation with the last hearing on September 25th, 2021.

Rivanlee admitted, the ambiguity of the article has the potential to cause problems. One of their concerns is the possibility of using spare components outside the approval of the House of the Citizen Representatives (DPR), such as the use of the TNI several times without their approval.

“For the TNI, which is actively and excessively involved, it is beyond the approval of the DPR and the president for OMSP. This precedent raises concerns over the use of komcad for other 'interests'," said Rivanlee.

Imparsial Executive Director Gufron Mabruri looks further. According to Gufron, the president has not yet received full information about the polemic of the reserve components, so Jokowi inaugurated the components mandated to support the TNI.

"I suspect that [the president ratified it without knowing the problem], so I agree, even though in the context of managing the defense sector, I think this will be a serious problem, today and in the future, especially related to the dynamics of the security sector, democracy and human rights," he said. Gufron to reporter Tirto.

Gufron questioned several things in the formation of the reserve committee. First, he questioned the urgency of forming it. He reminded that the comittee was formed to support their main counterpart, which is the TNI. However, the TNI is still experiencing problems such as the issue of welfare and the modernization of the defense equipment system.

According to Gufron, it is important for the government to solve this problem instead of allocating a budget for the formation of the reserve committee. For the record, the formation costs up to 1.1 trillion IDR. The Ministry of Defense claims that the budget is actually more efficient and brings budget savings.

“Secondly, who do we want to go to war with today, even if it is predicted that in the next 15-20 years we will not be at war with neighboring countries. There is no real threat now," said Gufron.

Gufron added, "So what are the forms of reserve components whose urgency to use today is questionable, that there is a wasted budget allocation for me, inefficient, not very contributing to strengthening the defense sector, they will also not do anything, do nothing," said Gufron.

Second, Gufron questions the principle of volunteerism. The concept of voluntary in the reserve component is still not entirely fair. He gave an example of how people who participate in the reserve component program can only vote until they register themselves. Once they are accepted as a reserve component, they are under a permanent contract and cannot withdraw from the reserve component.

On the other hand, the reserve component also forces natural resources to be used by the Ministry of Defense on the grounds of reserve natural resources. This makes people have to be a "voluntary" once the Ministry of Defense issues a letter that natural resources owned by a person are a need for reserve components.

“So there is a huge potential for abuse related to the authority over human resources which tends to be politicized for political purposes, including components for natural resources. There is potential for abuse under the pretext of, for example, spare components,” said Gufron.

Gufron then emphasized that the problem of reserve components emerged as a consequence of the lack of civilian control in the reform of the security and military sectors, be it the president, parliament or the defense ministry. The lack of control makes the reformation agenda stagnant. The reserve component makes military space included in internal security.

With Komcad, it also provides space for the military to pass the reserve component into domestic security issues," said Gufron.

He said that problematic interpretations of articles with broad authority from the reserve component could trigger problems. One of them is how the government's efforts to control the component not to trigger paramilitary movements in the community.

He reminded that there are not a few community movements that lead to paramilitary actions, such as mass organizations that use military concepts such as attacks on civil society groups as extensions of members of the security forces, such as the story of Aceh, East Timor and the story of the attack on the office of a civilian organization.

Therefore, Gufron emphasized that Imparsial would continue to conduct a judicial review for the implementation of the reserve component in the Constitutional Court even though it was approved by the current government.

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