CARAT/MAREX 2022 enhances Indonesia-U.S. partnership
The Indonesian and United States militaries demonstrated the strength of their maritime partnerships and interoperability during the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) Indonesia 2022 in December.
The nations’ naval and marine forces began the bilateral maritime exercise December 7 in Surabaya, Indonesia.
“Our navies have been maintaining a strong bilateral relationship over decades,” said Rear Adm. Rachmad Jayadi, deputy commander of the Indonesian Navy Education and Training Doctrine Development Command.
CARAT/MAREX Indonesia 2022, which ran through December 21 and was also conducted in the Java Sea, emphasized amphibious operations led by an onshore bilateral command and control center, according to Lt. j.g. Mohammad Issa, public affairs officer with Destroyer Squadron 7, the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia. (Pictured: Indonesian and U.S. vessels sail side-by-side during CARAT/MAREX Indonesia 2022.)
Throughout the exercise, in-person and at-sea engagements increased collaboration and strengthened bonds between the militaries.
“Numerous bilateral meetings and exercises have been executed with high-level performances in order to enhance strategic mutual understanding,” Jayadi said.
CARAT/MAREX Indonesia 2022 commenced within weeks of Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto’s meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, which advanced stronger defense ties amid growing Chinese naval activity in the Indo-Pacific, according to The Associated Press (AP).
They discussed deepening their countries’ partnership by expanding interoperability and increasing investments in defense education, among other activities, AP reported. “The United States is proud to partner with you as we work together to advance our shared vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” Austin said.
The first phase of the exercise featured exchanges on topics such as maritime domain awareness, unmanned aircraft systems, underwater construction and force protection.
The second phase entailed practical application of information shared, to include restoring an Indonesian school, battlefield wound care and standing up the bilateral command center. During the third phase, the command center led the at-sea and beach landing operations.
“CARAT Indonesia is about practicing interoperability, honing capabilities, and strengthening relationships,” said Rear Adm. Joaquin J. Martinez de Pinillos, vice commander of U.S. 7th Fleet.
“The purpose is to make each of our navies more capable of defending our own nations. But also, to make us more capable of defending the international norms that both of our governments consider in our national interests.”
“With the spirit of friendship, I hope CARAT 2022 will benefit the United States Navy and Marine Corps as well as Indonesian Navy personnel,” said Indonesian Navy Capt. Sumarji Bimoaji, commander of Escort Squadron 2nd Fleet Command, who served as the exercise commander of the amphibious task force and landing force.
“Moreover, I hope this exercise will be a milestone in strengthening relationships for our countries,” he said. “Therefore, side by side, we can maintain peace and build a better world.”
The Indonesian Air Force also participated in CARAT/MAREX 2022, while U.S. support included the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“We share maritime security priorities with Indonesia and will continue to share knowledge, skills, and information to enhance interoperability and promote regional security cooperation,” said Capt. Tony Chavez, commanding officer of USS Makin Island.
IMAGE CREDIT: GUNNERY SGT. CHAD J. PULLIAM/U.S. MARINE CORPS