INDONESIA: In a display of robust multilateral solidarity aimed at safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific region, military personnel from the United States, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and France are set to join forces in the ” Super Garuda Shield 2023” Joint Exercise.
This joint endeavour is scheduled to take place at various locations including Surabaya, Banyuwangi, and Situbondo, spanning from August 31st to September 13th, 2023.
According to Admiral Julius Widjojono, Head of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) Information Center (Kapuspen), “SGS (Super Garuda Shield) is planned to commence on August 31st and conclude on September 13th, 2023,” as confirmed on Friday (18 Aug).
In addition, military representatives from countries such as Brunei, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Korea, and Timor-Leste will also be present as observers.
According to written information from the US Embassy in Jakarta, as quoted on Tuesday (29 Aug), General Charles Flynn, the U.S. Army Commander in the Pacific, emphasized the multinational joint exercise’s significance.
He stated, “This multinational joint exercise demonstrates our collective commitment and unity of thought, enabling the creation of a stable, secure, and more peaceful, free, and open Indo-Pacific.” Flynn further added that Super Garuda Shield 2023 aims to build upon the successes of previous years.
Super Garuda Shield 2023 strengthens US-Indonesia defence partnership
As quoted from the press release of the Indonesian National Armed Forces Information Center (Puspen TNI), Tuesday (22 Aug), Admiral Yudo Margino, the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) Commander, urged TNI soldiers participating in Super Garuda Shield 2023 to integrate with the participating nations.
He emphasized the importance of understanding the military practices of each country involved. Admiral Margino’s request came during a briefing from Lieutenant General Eko Margiono, the Commander of TNI Doctrine, Education, and Training Command (Dankodiklat), on Monday (21 Aug).
Admiral Margino also stressed the need for careful planning by TNI’s Doctrine, Education, and Training Command (Kodiklat) for Super Garuda Shield 2023, as it coincides with the Joint TNI Exercise. The upcoming exercise will witness the participation of 2,810 TNI personnel and 2,165 foreign personnel.
Super Garuda Shield, an annual military exchange event between the U.S. and Indonesia, aims to enhance interoperability through training and cultural exchanges, fostering defence cooperation between the two nations.
By conducting professional training and combat exercises in Surabaya and Banyuwangi, Super Garuda Shield 2023 seeks to bolster the defence partnership between the U.S. and Indonesia through cooperative learning and trust-building between their militaries.
The training includes academic expert exchanges and professional development workshops, command and control simulations, amphibious exercises, airborne operations, airbase seizure drills, and culminates with joint field training involving live weapons firing.
The exercise will focus on command post tasks within the framework of combined military operations. Field exercises will involve battalion-level units from each participating country, aiming to enhance combat skills for improved interoperability and joint operational capabilities.
The United States has deployed hundreds of soldiers for this joint exercise.
The first contingent, comprising 238 soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, arrived at Juanda Naval Air Base, Surabaya, on Friday (25 Aug).
Additionally, on Monday (28 Aug), the second contingent, including 447 personnel from various units under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and the U.S. Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) based in Australia, arrived at the same base.
Australian and Singaporean contributions bolster the multinational military exercise
Meanwhile, the Australian Defence Force deployed elite troops and a variety of primary weapon systems.
These elite soldiers from units like the 3rd Health Battalion and 1st Armoured Regiment RAAF Base Edinburgh in Adelaide, Australia, arrived via Royal Australian Air Force aircraft. Eighty-one soldiers from the Australian Army landed at Juanda Naval Air Base on Tuesday (22 Aug).
Australia also transported several key weapon systems on the U.S. Army Vessel USAV SSGT Robert T Kuroda (LSV-7), including advanced M1A1 Abrams tanks and M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers.
The Singapore Navy is also contributing to the exercise by dispatching two warships, as announced by Rear Admiral Sean Wat, Chief of Navy for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
This announcement was made during a meeting with Admiral Muhammad Ali, the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, on Thursday, July 13th, 2023.
The “Super Garuda Shield 2023” Joint Exercise showcases the collaborative efforts of nations to strengthen security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.