Indonesia security links and other interesting stuff

It’s been a long time since the last post but I’m still blogging! For today, I’ve rounded up a few links of interest to Security Scholar readers.

First, this week I wrote about what a Jokowi presidency in Indonesia might mean for the country’s strategic outlook and defence relations with Australia. It’s not something many have touched on yet, and I’m keen to discuss this further (comments welcome). My bottom line is that there won’t likely be much change as Jokowi will inherit much of the strategic environment and many of the defence policies of his predecessor. We’ll have to see who his foreign, defence and coordinating ministers will be to get a better sense of how Indonesia’s current policies will evolve. In terms of Indonesia’s military modernisation:

TNI’s modernisation program aims to develop a ‘Minimum Essential Force’ (MEF) by 2024 which entails major upgrades of naval, land and air capabilities as well as the development of a local defence industry. While many of those developments were driven by SBY, some have made their way into legislation, which a new president might find hard to alter. Indonesia also has a number of capability development projects and acquisition deals on the go with partner countries. Defence officials recently announced that the first batch of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets as part of a US grant are due to arrive in country in October.

Second, I’m intrigued by Robert Farley’s new book in which he makes case for abolishing the US Air Force (whoa!). To get up to speed with his thinking (and because it’s a rainy day in Canberra), I’ll be reading this Diplomat piece ‘Air Forces and Asia: interview with Robert Farley’ published today and bookmarking this bloggingheads.tv debate between Farley and Adam Lowther of the Air Force Research Institute and The National Interest.

Lastly, the intersection between social media and the military is still an interest of mine. Here’s a NYTimes piece by CJ Chivers which is a case in point on what you can learn about Russian military equipment from open sources like social media. Chivers and others walked around Crimea taking pictures of Russian forces, showing the extent of their refit. He explains:

Not only was [using an iPhone to take pics] unobtrusive, but when a phone signal was available I could swiftly email photographs to an inbox, an easy safeguard against Russian troops or the armed men who worked with them who stopped journalists and demanded that images be deleted, a common occurrence on the peninsula in recent weeks. The images could then be posted on Instagram, creating a public record for sources to help analyze.

Image source: Instagram account of cjchivers.

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About Natalie Sambhi

Natalie Sambhi is co-editor of Security Scholar. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre, a think tank based at the University of Western Australia. She was formerly an Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Managing Editor of The Strategist. She is a Hedley Bull Scholar and graduate of the Australian National University.