How Indonesia deals with maritime security agencies
There are organizations like the international organization for migration Indonesia (IOM Indonesia) which have been on the forefront to ensure that the country regains its maritime control and integrity as it was. The IOM Indonesia has frequently provided intelligence on the illegal activities such as the foreign fishing boats on the Indonesian waters, the incidences of trafficking through the Indonesian waters and in so doing purged irregularities that stand in the way of Indonesia under the leadership of president Widodo attaining its maritime intelligence goals. In 2016, the government of Indonesia released a report in the form of a white paper outlining its future parameters as far as the maritime plans are concerned. The paper contains what is a strategy for the future of maritime intelligence in the Indonesian waters, the global maritime fulcrum (GMF) (Puspitawati, 2014: p300-321).
This paper is directly associated with president Widodo’s mission as the GMF seeks to secure the wider interests of Indonesia maritime authority by capitalizing on the unique destination and positioning of Indonesia in the two oceans, Indian and Pacific, and the two regions namely Australia and Asia. The meaning of this is that the sea is continually becoming vital for the future according to Widodo. Indonesia, for instance, understands its location as a prime region to explore the WMA concept. The important shift is however not just maritime but it is vested in how Indonesia deals with the surrounding environments. The traditional focus for Indonesia over the years has been on the north to the Pacific and the east for economic and diplomatic relations with major powers such as the United States.
In the WMA however, the focus is going to be channeled on the less explored and less understood but not less useful Indian Ocean. The Indonesian straits are considered some of the busiest in history dating back to as early as the Chinese-India trades. They have come to be known as the vital veins of the global economy because of the maritime role they play in the world maritime activities including serving the middle east-Africa oil trade. The maritime nature of Indonesia has since proven to be a potential source for promoting national interests as well as the main source of problems for the country. In this view, the country must transform community intelligence into a form of dynamic intelligence that continuously reinvents itself for a continuous adaptation to the changes in national security and the environment (Andrus, 2018: pp np).
The country also struggles in trying to effectively optimize the use and exploitation of the abundant maritime resources in the waters surrounding the islands. Such will create a conflict on the body responsible because of the duplication of roles. There is a need for major reforms both legal and institutional (Chapsos, and Malcolm, 2017: pp. The agencies which came to play after the exit of the Dutch and the regaining of the full independence. All the agencies were initially formed by the government to oversee its maritime waters but instead, they found themselves having overlapping roles and conflicting areas of jurisdiction over time because of the financial constraints that these agencies faced. In the advent of Suharto’s new order, of 1968, there was militarization of the maritime security and also militarization of the governance.
Through this initiative, the TNI-AL quick reaction team has successfully captured and arrested individuals and groups which have continually carried out illegal operations in the regions. The challenges that arise as a result of many agents is outspoken. The lack of coordination and cooperation has made it even difficult for BAKAMLA to exercise its constitutional authority in controlling and managing the Indonesian maritime resources and the coordination of the other agencies. BAKAMLA itself is suffering from coordination problems because of the selfish interests of the other agencies because of lack of stringent policies on maritime intelligence. In modern states, the intelligence agencies play a crucial role trying to support government in its foreign policy and defense by supplying and analyzing the relevant intelligence and mitigating specific threats (Johnson, 2007: pp.
Because it is under-resourced, Bakamla remains inefficient in discharging its roles as the body responsible for the coordination and the management of the Indonesian maritime resources. The body is still struggling in developing the required capabilities for leading the maritime security and intelligence of the country. The body has been receiving very low rating during assessment by the ministry of administrative and bureaucratic Reform. The massive corruption in the body remains a major stalemate and a hindering block. Bakamla currently operates one 110-m offshore patrol vessel and six 48-m patrol boats. The competition has forced the national body to fail in its core mandate of uniting and coordinating all the other agencies. Given the strained resources, Bakamla has had to rely on the other agencies for resources to run its functions.
Such has made the body dependent and limited in its control functions. The more the merrier? The problem comes from creating a single institution to oversee the maritime resources. The already vested institutional interests make it a bad idea to create security institutions within the existing ministries. Through the GMF and the WMA, the president has emphasized that the country’s maritime resource is to be managed by the Bakamla which in essence remains unproductive. The establishment of the ISCG would require that other institutions exercising this authority are stopped immediately. Although the resistance by the other agencies would be fierce, yet the results will be beneficial to many. Creating and empowering a single Coast Guard agency will be very effective in the functions of patrol and helping the TNL-Al in its security operations by devoting its resource to smart intelligence practices.
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