JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia and the United States began a series of military exercises Wednesday, Dec. 7, to promote regional security cooperation, and strengthen maritime partnerships and interoperability.
The 28th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) is an annual military exercise comprising the navies and marine corps of both countries.
The two-week joint bilateral maritime exercise will take place both onshore in Surabaya and the Java Sea, according to the US Embassy statement on Friday, Dec. 9.
"The purpose of CARAT is to make each of our navies more capable of both defending our own nations and defending the international norms that both of our governments consider in our national interests," said Vice Commander of the US 7th Fleet US Navy Rear Admiral Joaquin J. Martinez de Pinillos during its opening ceremony.
This year’s iteration of CARAT Indonesia will focus largely on amphibious operations with an onshore bilateral command and control center made up of Indonesian and US service members.
The US support for the amphibious operations includes the Makin Island Amphibious Squadron with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
"The 28th year of the CARAT series exercise shows the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region," said Capt. Tony Chavez, the commanding officer of USS Makin Island, one of the ships participating in the exercises.
"We share maritime security priorities with Indonesia and will continue to share knowledge, skills, and information to enhance interoperability and promote regional security cooperation," Chavez said.
The exercise will feature three distinct phases over the next two weeks. Phase one will primarily take place in the classroom setting, with a series of subject matter expert exchanges.