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South China Sea

Indonesia's new commander plans special South China Sea operation

Analysts skeptical how much incoming military chief can achieve in only a year

The Indonesian navy ship KRI Teluk Banten-516 on security patrol on Nov. 13.   © SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

JAKARTA -- The new chief of the Indonesian military is expected to continue his predecessor's plans to hold larger joint drills with the U.S. and its allies while stepping up patrols near the South China Sea. But despite a navy background, his one-year term is seen falling short of Jakarta's need to boost its maritime defense.

Adm. Yudo Margono, who was sworn in to his new job on Monday, is the first top commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) coming from the navy under Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's presidency. This is despite the president's pledge to boost Indonesia's maritime prowess during his 2014 election campaign. Before Margono, three army generals and an air force marshall had led the TNI since Jokowi took office the same year.

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