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Cyberwarfare, geopolitical challenges await TNI commander

Cyberwarfare, geopolitical challenges await TNI commander

General Andika Perkasa after his inauguration as TNI commander here on November 18, 2021. (ANTARA PHOTO/Hafidz Mubarak A/FR)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - General Andika Perkasa was officially inaugurated by President Joko Widodo as TNI commander in place of Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto at the State Palace here on Wednesday.

Several politicians and political observers have voiced their opinions regarding the challenges that Perkasa will face in his 13-month appointment.

A majority of them have cited cyber security and geopolitical issues surrounding the nation's sovereignty in border regions such as the North Natuna Sea and Papua's border with Papua New Guinea as the primary challenges for Perkasa.

While presenting his vision and mission as TNI commander in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) on November 6, 2021, Perkasa also said: "Cyber is our next focus."

This statement shows that cyber security will be one of the primary concerns of TNI under his leadership.

According to Perkasa, cyber warfare, which can threaten a nation's sovereignty, has seen a significant increase in the last two decades.

Cyberwarfare

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, agrees that cyber warfare will be one of the focuses of the new TNI commander.

TNI's mastery over the cyber sector will be very fitting with the socio-economic transformation influenced by Industrial Revolution 4.0 in the future, he said.

Especially since Indonesia is taking a step toward Society 5.0 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.

The Society 5.0 transformation will make the cyber world a crucial sector and could affect national security from the point of view of breaches in people's data, he said.

Hartarto also emphasized challenges in the form of a hybrid war zone, meaning a combination of offline and online warfare that involves cyberspace and information warfare.

If Indonesia does not direct its attention to protecting and securing data, especially the state's sensitive data, then it could endanger the nation's sovereignty, he cautioned.

A similar sentiment was voiced by Regional Representatives Council (DPD) Speaker A. A. LaNyalla Mahmud Mattalitti.

The TNI commander should be capable of calculating the power of the weapon systems and human resources that Indonesia owns to face threats in the globalization era, he said.

"In addition to physical war, there would also be a threat of cyber warfare through technological advances such as artificial intelligence and robotics," he elaborated.

These threats will be a challenge for Perkasa as the new TNI commander, he said.

The National Cyber and Crypto Agency recorded 888 million cyberattack attempts against the government, corporations, and personal information systems as of August 2021, he added.

The increase in cyberattacks has coincided with the increasing digitalization of government (e-Government), public services, and digital startup companies, according to an intelligence, defense, and security observer, Ngasiman Djoyonegoro.

Therefore, TNI should define cyberspace as the new battlefield. This should not only serve as an insight, but also guide policies and programs for developing weapon system technology, doctrine, and TNI organization, he said.

There are three things TNI can do to counter cyber threats: develop information and weapon technology that could interfere with cyberattacks, strengthen doctrine, and form a special organization to respond to cyber incidents, he advised.

In addition, he said he expects TNI, as the frontline of national defense, to conduct active cyber diplomacy.

This diplomacy could involve communication and dialogue between nation and non-nation actors, prevention of cyber arms race, development of global norms, and promotion of national interests in the cyber world through a cyber security policy and involvement strategy, Djoyonegoro said.

"TNI should be more active in leading cyber diplomacy in the future," he affirmed.

Indonesia is not the only country facing the threat of cyber warfare. Other nations in the world are also prioritizing cyber security as a result of the rapid development of information technology.

To ensure it is not left behind in the cyber security technology sector, Indonesia should make aggressive moves to improve its capability, both in terms of human resources and infrastructure.

Geopolitical conflict

House speaker Puan Maharani highlighted the importance of responding and being cautious toward geopolitical developments, especially in Indonesia's border regions.

DPR Commission I member Sukamta noted that the North Natuna Sea and the border between Papua and Papua New Guinea have grabbed the attention of Indonesia and the international community.

To this end, the TNI commander should prepare a tactical, strategic, and humane initiative for resolving Indonesia's geopolitical problems, he said.

A humane initiative to resolve the conflict in Papua is something that many leaders are expecting.

The leaders include Vice President Ma'ruf Amin; vice chairman of the National National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Amiruddin; Ahmad Muzani, a politician from the Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party; People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) chairman Bambang Soesatyo; and chairman of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Andi Muhammad Rezaldy.

The support for a humane approach in resolving the conflict in Papua's border shows that citizens want an alternative method in addition to the military approach.

Resolving the Papua's border conflict using a military approach could potentially trigger human rights violations, Rezaldy opined.

To this end, he said Kontras believes that adopting a humane approach could help dampen the intensity of the conflict in Papua.

In a statement, Perkasa has declared that there will be three missions that he will carry out as the new TNI commander: assert the nation's sovereignty, maintain the unity of the nation's regions based on Pancasila and the Constitution, and protect every Indonesian.

Resolving the conflict in Papua is part of the three missions.

By promoting the vision "TNI is us", he expressed his hope that Indonesian people and the international community would see that TNI is a part of them.

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