Indonesian President Envisions Maritime Security Agency Bakamla To Become Coast Guard
February 12: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has inaugurated Vice Adm. Aan Kurnia as the new chief of the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla), replacing Achmad Taufiqoerrochman, who has entered retirement.
Speaking after the swearing-in ceremony at the State Palace on Wednesday, Jokowi said he envisioned Bakamla as the Indonesian coast guard rather than just a coordinator in efforts to secure the country’s maritime interests.
“We are hoping that Bakamla will be the embryo of an Indonesian coast guard, so that later on, [personnel] of other institutions could go back to their respective institutions and only Bakamla would be given the authority [in maritime security],” Jokowi said.
Jokowi added that he hoped Aan would be able to accelerate the process of turning Bakamla into an Indonesian coast guard entrusted with the authority to secure the country’s maritime territory.
Aan said one of his immediate priorities after taking the helm of Bakamla was to coordinate with relevant authorities on maritime security, as he acknowledged that there was an issue of overlapping authority among state institutions as well as laws in maritime affairs.
The former chief of the Indonesian Military (TNI) Academy also said that he would standardize human resources at Bakamla to achieve among its personnel — comprising officials from institutions including the TNI, the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) — a common understanding with regard to laws and regulations.
“I would like to create some standardization, so that, when they enter Bakamla, they have knowledge of maritime laws, international laws […]; all should be on the same page,” said Aan.
Aan also expressed his desire to see Bakamla’s weaponry upgraded, as he deemed the existing systems insufficient to carry out Bakamla’s mandate, although he vowed to settle the issue by intensifying coordination with other stakeholders.