LtGen Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
TNI Chief of Territorial Affairs (Kaster TNI)
The position of Chief of Socio-Political Staff (Kassospol) was in November 1998 changed to Chief of Territorial Affairs (Kaster). It was still held into 1999 by the same officer, LtGen Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He was one of two chiefs who commanded staff at TNI Headquarters and reported directly to the Commander of the Armed Forces (Pangab, Gen Wiranto). The other was the Chief of General Staff (Kasum, LtGen Sugiono). Both had East Timor responsibilities in 1999.
The Chief of Territorial Affairs technically coordinates all the territorial commands, including the Udayana command (held by MajGen Adam Damiri), and the East Timor command (Col Tono Suratman). Bambang Yudhoyono therefore shared command responsibility for the criminal conduct of TNI forces in East Timor in 1999. He had two assistants: one for territorial affairs (Aster), held in 1999 by MajGen Djoko Mulono, and one for socio-political affairs (Assospol, sometimes called Askomsos), held by MajGen Sudi Silalahi.
LtGen Sugiono and both of Bambang Yudhoyono's assistants, as well as a range of other military top brass, were present at a meeting in Jakarta on 19 February 1999 between General Wiranto and a large delegation of pro-integration East Timorese led by Domingos Soares. They had come to ask for weapons.
On 21 June Yudhoyono and LtGen Sugiono received a visit from the vice chief of the Australian defence force, Air Marshal Doug Riding. Riding conveyed the message that 'the most significant threats to a genuinely free ballot come from the pro-integrationist militia groups, supported by TNI.... This is very seriously damaging the credibility of the Indonesian Government and TNI .... TNI must stop supporting the militias and must control their activities.' However, Yudhoyono dismissed the thrust of Riding's case. Disturbance to that point, he said, had been minor.
Bambang Yudhoyono is often portrayed as an intellectual and a reformer. But he is also a nationalist, who felt offended by foreign pressure on Indonesia's human rights policy in East Timor and elsewhere. After the withdrawal from East Timor he defended the TNI against allegations that it had committed crimes against humanity by presenting what had happened in East Timor as far less serious than Rwanda, Bosnia or the Nazis in World War II. 'There is a conspiracy, an international movement... to corner Indonesia by taking up the issue', he said.
Bambang Yudhoyono was appointed Mines Minister in the new Abdurrahman Wahid cabinet (October 1999), and then became Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security in the reshuffle of August 2000. Under international pressure, he took responsibility for attempting to reign in the East Timor militias in West Timor after some of them killed western aid workers early the following month. After at first denying they still existed, he took some action to disarm the militias.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was born in 1949 in East Java, the son of a retired lieutenant. He graduated from the military academy in 1973, and is married to the daughter of 'Red Beret' commander Col Sarwo Edhie, who commanded the military operation to ensure 'success' during the 1969 Act of Free Choice in Irian Jaya.
He took part in Operation Seroja, the invasion of East Timor, and had several tours of duty there since, including commanding the Dili-based battalion 744 some time in the 1970s. Much of his career has been with Kostrad airborne units. In the 1980s and '90s he took several military courses in the US (as well as a MA in business management from Webster University) and in Europe. He has travelled widely on observer missions around the world, including Chief Military Observer in Bosnia 1995-96. In the 1980s he lectured at the Army Staff Command College (Seskoad), and he has written several books. In the mid-1990s he worked in territorial commands in Jakarta and then in southern Sumatra (Pangdam II/ Sriwijaya). He was appointed Chief of the Armed Forces Social and Political Affairs Staff (Kassospol Abri) in 1997, and retired from active service on 1 April 2000. Observers regard him as a Wiranto protege.