This research examines the impact of instability during democratic transition on military reform in Indonesia between 1998 and 2009. By applying securitization theory, which has a root in social constructivist paradigm, this research argues that both the act of securitization and desecuritization have played a certain degree of impact over the progress and/or regress of the Indonesian military reform. Arguably, the use of securitization theory, explanation on securitization – desecuritization dynamics, and the significant role of desecuritization has been never employed in explaining military reform in Indonesia. That would be the main contribution of this research.
As its findings, first, this research shows that the act of securitization (enabling emergency measures and the suspension of normal politics) has always been an option when every attempt for desecuritization (removing issues from security agenda) failed. Second, options for desecuritization had always faced constant challenges therefore options for securitization had seemingly become unavoidable. Consequently, this fact has discounted the progress of military reform in the country. Third, the act of desecuritization is not compatible with a weak government whose pursue military support. The act of desecuritization would be in case if the government led by a strong leadership, which is identified by its independency from military support to stay in power. Fourth, however, the Indonesian military reform indeed took a place. Some achievement could be underlined and Indonesia’s position among countries having similar experience could also be set up.
Finally, the main message of this research would be: there is no military solution for any domestic unrest. The main problem is not laid in military matter but more in political, economics, and socio-cultural realm. The use of military to solve this problem should be regarded as a series of civilian institutions’ failure to acknowledge the problem, to manage it, to prevent it from becoming escalated, and to solve it within normal political bargaining process. As the last resort, military engagement might be considered as an option. But, it has to be understood that military intervention should be temporary in nature, aimed to end the violence conflict, conducted in order to provide a room for peaceful conflict solution mechanism, and in accordance with just war principles.