Suharto, paramilitary forces, Ministry of Defense, air force, House of Representatives
After Suharto came to power in 1967 the armed forces were unified and placed under the Ministry of Defense and Security. In 2001 the total strength of the armed forces was 297,000, including 230,000 in the army, 40,000 in the navy, and 27,000 in the air force. In addition, paramilitary forces have 174,000 police and 1.5 million members of peoples’ security units (Hansip), which operate at the village level. All citizens are required to serve two years in the armed forces, but because of limited job opportunities in the country volunteers fill the vast majority of military positions. Typically, the armed forces resort to drafting personnel only for required specialists such as doctors.
The military held considerable power in Indonesia during the Suharto years through its representatives to the House of Representatives and the People’s Consultative Assembly. The military remains powerful, but post-Suharto governments have tried to exercise greater control over it and reduce its role in domestic social affairs.
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