Wiranto suffered "two deep wounds" and may need surgery despite being in stable condition.
The assassination attempt comes just over a week before Widodo kicks off a second term as leader of the Southeast Asian archipelago of some 260 million people, the world's biggest Muslim majority nation.
President Joko Widodo, who appointed Wiranto to the top security post in 2016, has visited him in hospital.
The attackers - one of them was a woman - are said to be affiliated with Daesh terrorist group.
Wiranto was seen being carried on a stretcher to a helicopter before he was airlifted to the capital Jakarta following the incident on Thursday.
The assault happened after the senior minister attended the inauguration of a university building in Sindanghayu village, Saketi subdistrict, local news media bantennews.co.id is reporting.
The attacker, who was restrained by Wiranto's aides, and a female companion were arrested, police said.
"The perpetrators are alleged to have been exposed to Islamic State radicalism", he told reporters.
Police identified the suspect as Syahril Alamsyah and said they also arrested his wife, Fitri Andriana.
JAD is among dozens of radical groups that have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group in Indonesia, which has long struggled with militancy.
"While very serious, this attempt should not be over dramatized".
He was blamed for the deaths of more than 1,000 people in East Timor when the province voted for independence in 1999, according to the BBC.
Wiranto ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and for vice president in 2009.
"We are still seeking confirmation but from the photos that we have seen the local police chief was stabbed, stabbed in the back", National Police spokesperson Brig.