Indonesia, U.S. bolster ties through exercises, engagements, partnership

Indonesia, U.S. bolster ties through exercises, engagements, partnership


Indonesian and U.S. Marines strengthened their relationship by training side by side during a June 2021 military drill known as Reconex, which was designed to increase interoperability.

“The purpose of this activity is to increase the professionalism of the Marines of the two countries, especially the Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance Soldiers who have the ability to fight in the three media, namely on land, sea and air,” Marine Lt. Col. Supriyono, Indonesia’s commander of the exercise task force, said, according to Antara News.

Indonesian and U.S. Marines shared their tactics and techniques for resolving problems arising from conflicts in residential areas during the two-week, biannual exercise, the first phase of which was held at Indonesia’s Baluran Marine Corps Combat Training Centre, Supriyono said.

Along with tactical training for such operations as urban warfare, the exercise focused on cultural capacity and understanding as well as the ability to provide tactical combat casualty care, according to U.S. Marine Corps, Pacific officials. The two forces are still planning the second phase of the exercise to be completed later in 2021 at Camp Pendleton, California. (Pictured: An Indonesian Marine, left, leads jungle survival training in mid-June 2021 with Indonesian and U.S. Marines during the joint exercise Reconex 2021).

Reconex is one of several ongoing Indonesia-U.S. military exercises conducted in June including Cope West 2021, which advanced interoperability between the Indonesian and U.S. Air Forces, and Teak Spear Iron 2021, between the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Indonesian Army.

Other enduring training operations and activities between the two countries’ militaries and related agencies have also been ongoing throughout the year. After the reported identification of Chinese unmanned underwater vehicles in Indonesian territorial waters, Indonesia’s Maritime Security Agency and Coast Guard, known as Bakamla, held a virtual workshop in January 2021 with the United States Coast Guard that addressed how to handle maritime incidents, The Jakarta Post newspaper reported.

“The training’s aim is to prepare all Bakamla personnel on how to act swiftly and properly,” said Bakamla chief spokesman Col. Wisnu Pramandita.

In April 2021, the U.S. Navy participated in search-and-rescue operations alongside the Indonesian Navy. A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane also aided in the search for the Indonesian Navy’s Nanggala, a Cakra-class submarine.

In late June 2021, Indonesia and the U.S. began construction of a U.S. $3.5 million maritime training center in Batam in the Riau Islands to be located where the Malacca Strait joins the South China Sea, according to Bakamla.

“As a friend and partner to Indonesia, the United States remains committed to supporting Indonesia’s important role in maintaining regional peace and security by fighting domestic and transnational crimes,” Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia said June 25 during the dedication ceremony, Reuters reported.

Bakamla will run the center, which will include classrooms, barracks and a launch pad, Reuters reported.

All of these joint activities signal a bright future for operations in Southeast Asia between the two partner nations in the pursuit of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, U.S. Marine Corps, Pacific officials said.