JAKARTA — President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has inaugurated Adm. Yudo Margono and Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo as the new chiefs of staff of the Navy and Air Force, respectively. The two high-ranking officers, graduates of the Navy and Air Force academies in 1988, took their oaths to serve in their respective posts at a ceremony presided over by Jokowi at the State Palace on Wednesday.
Formerly the commander of Riau Islands-based Joint Defense Area Command (Kogabwilhan) I, Yudo, replaces Adm. Siwi Sukma Adji, who is retiring this month. Fadjar — the former Kogabwilhan II commander, based in East Kalimantan — was sworn in to replace retiring Air Chief Marshal Yuyu Sutrisna whose tenure ends in June.
The President had upgraded Yudo’s and Fadjar’s ranks to those of a four-star admiral and air chief marshal, respectively, to make them eligible for their posts. Speaking after his inauguration, Yudo said he would continue programs set out by his predecessor and improve the Navy’s primary weaponry defense system (Alutsista).
In his previous post, Yudo assisted in the operation of Indonesia’s COVID-19 emergency hospitals in the former athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, and Galang Island in Riau Islands. He also led Navy patrols during a standoff with Chinese coast guard cutters and fishing vessels in the North Natuna Sea in January.
“When talking about the Navy, we also talk about [improving] the naval integrated fleet weapons system [SSAT] that includes Indonesian warships, the Marine Corps, military bases as well as Navy aircraft, so that the SSAT can unite to uphold our sovereignty and law at sea,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fadjar said that Jokowi and Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto had emphasized the importance of the Air Force in securing the country’s airspace in border areas.
“We will pursue this matter. Even though now the COVID-19 pandemic is occurring globally, our preparedness will remain and continue to be improved,” Fadjar said.
Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has previously set a target of improving Indonesia’s defense system beyond the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) — a 15-year modernization scheme penned in 2010 by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Deputy Defense Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono said the ministry aimed to fulfill the MEF target in five years following Prabowo’s appointment to the post. In September last year, the House of Representatives approved the allocation of Rp 127.4 trillion (US$9 billion) in the 2020 budget for the Defense Ministry, which the latter said would be focused on arms modernization.