Assessing Recent Developments in Indonesian Maritime Security

Published in: The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (October 2018)

Posted on on October 16, 2018

by Lyle J. Morris

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The hard facts of Indonesia's maritime geography provide both opportunity and challenges. On the one hand, this maritime landscape has pushed policymakers to provide strategic guidelines to empower and leverage Indonesia's maritime economy; at the same time, Indonesia has been slow to invest in the resources necessary to exploit and protect the abundant living and non-living maritime resources at its disposal. For the most part, Indonesia has struggled to adequately patrol and secure its maritime space. My co-authored RAND report found, however, that Indonesian authorities have made tangible efforts to address the myriad threats emanating from their maritime domain in recent years. This has involved a multipronged approach. First, the executive branch has issued a series of policy documents, such as the GMF, outlining a rationale for reorienting Indonesia toward a focus on maritime security and trade. Second, Indonesia has established or enhanced various coordinating ministries, MLE agencies, and special task forces, such as the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA) and the Indonesian Presidential Task Force to Combat Illegal Fishing (SATGAS 115), specifically designed to address issues of maritime concern. Finally, as of 2017, Indonesia has begun to invest in infrastructure development and procurement of additional maritime security capabilities to deal with maritime threats and capacity constraints.

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