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Dwifungsi ("dual function") was a doctrine implemented by Suharto's military-dominated "New Order" government in Indonesia following the removal of President Sukarno. Dwifungsi was used to justify the military permanently increasing its influence in the Indonesian government, including reserved military-only seats in the parliament, and top positions in the nation's public service.


After the 1949 transfer of sovereignty, the Army accepted civilian rule. As the weaknesses of political system became apparent, officers increasingly felt they had a responsibility to involve themselves in politics to "save the nation". When martial law was declared in 1957, the Army expanded its role into political economic and administrative areas.

Army chief-of-staff Nasution was keen to continue this after martial law lifted, and therefore developed the "Middle Way" concept in which Army would neither try to take power nor remain inactive.[1]

From 25–31 August 1966, the Second Army Seminar was held. The attendees were senior Army officers and more than 100 participants from the Army Staff College (SESKOAD). It revised the Army doctrine, which was seen as containing too much communist influence. This new doctrine laid down the Army's non-military functions, namely "to participate in every effort and activity of the people in the field of ideology, politics and economics and the socio-cultural field"[2]

It also produced a document entitled "The Army's Contribution of Ideas to the Ampera Cabinet". This had two parts:

  1. Plan for political stabilisation
  2. Plan for economic stabilisation [3]


Through dwifungsi and the "New Order" political vehicle, Golkar, the army was able to enmesh itself into all levels of Indonesian society, in a manner that reached its peak in the 1990s, but remains strong. Military officers during Suharto's presidency held key positions in all levels of government in Indonesia, including city mayor, provincial government, ambassadorships, state-owned corporations, the judiciary, and Suharto's cabinet. The former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was also a former army officer.


  1. ^ Crouch (2007), p. 24
  2. ^ Nugroho (1970), p. 12
  3. ^ Nugroho (1970), p. 14


  • Crouch, Harold (2007) The Army and Politics in Indonesia, Equinox, Jakarta ISBN 979-3780-50-9
  • Nugroho Notosusanto (1970) The Dual Function of the Indonesian Armed Forces Especially Since 1966 Department for Defence and Security Centre for Armed Forces History Djakarta
  • Schwarz, A. (1994). A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia in the 1990s. Westview Press. ISBN 1-86373-635-2.