USA — Indonesien

Gates Pledges U.S. Sup­port to Indone­sian Mil­i­tary

By Fred W. Bak­er III
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice

American Forces Press Service - Indonesian Commander Boy Sahril Qamar salutes U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jerry Morrison, USAF
Indone­sian Com­man­der Boy Sahril Qamar salutes U.S. Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates upon Gates’ arrival in Jakar­ta, Indone­sia, Feb. 25, 2008. Gates will meet with Indone­sian lead­ers and give remarks at the Indone­sian Coun­cil on World Affairs.
Pho­to by Tech. Sgt. Jer­ry Mor­ri­son, USAF

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates today her­ald­ed Indone­sia as a leader in its region and pledged U.S. sup­port to help the coun­try con­tin­ue its mil­i­tary reforms and build air­lift and mar­itime capa­bil­i­ties.

The sec­re­tary land­ed here this morn­ing to meet with Indonesia’s pres­i­dent and its defense and for­eign min­is­ters.

He held a short news con­fer­ence along­side Defense Min­is­ter Juwono Sudar­sono and lat­er spoke to the Indone­sian Coun­cil on World Affairs. In both events, the sec­re­tary reaf­firmed the two coun­tries’ friend­ship and said he con­sid­ers Indone­sia “an impor­tant region­al leader with glob­al reach.”

“Our rela­tion­ship with Indone­sia has made great strides in the past few years, and I have every expec­ta­tion that it will con­tin­ue to do so in the near and far future,” Gates said.

Gates’ first vis­it to Indone­sia comes at a time when the gov­ern­ment here is reform­ing its mil­i­tary and nation­al secu­ri­ty pro­grams. The coun­try is pulling its mil­i­tary out of domes­tic polic­ing func­tions and is back­fill­ing those roles with a police force. It also is revamp­ing its bud­get­ing process and remov­ing much of the military’s pri­vate busi­ness influ­ence, and it is putting more sep­a­ra­tion between its offi­cers and pol­i­tics, a senior U.S. defense offi­cial said, speak­ing on back­ground before the vis­it.

The secretary’s vis­it shows the Defense Depart­ment is accept­ing Indonesia’s place as a piv­otal coun­try in the region, the offi­cial said. The coun­try is key to region­al secu­ri­ty because of its strate­gic loca­tion astride a num­ber of key inter­na­tion­al mar­itime straits, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Malac­ca Strait.

Dis­cus­sions here today cen­tered on ways the Unit­ed States can work more close­ly with the Indone­sian mil­i­tary, Gates said, specif­i­cal­ly help­ing the country’s mil­i­tary con­tin­ue its ref­or­ma­tion and devel­op capa­bil­i­ties in the air­lift and mar­itime domains.

Indonesia’s armed forces total about 350,000, mem­bers, accord­ing to U.S. State Depart­ment fig­ures. The army is the largest branch, with about 280,000 active-duty per­son­nel.

The 250,000-member Indone­sian Nation­al Police was a branch of the armed forces for sev­er­al years, but was sep­a­rat­ed from the mil­i­tary in April 1999.

Indone­sia, rebound­ing after a crip­pling finan­cial cri­sis in the late 1990s, has seen a com­mod­i­ty boom, and there is grow­ing self-con­fi­dence with­in in the coun­try. But much of its mil­i­tary equip­ment is old and in need of repair or replace­ment. Gates said U.S. help could come in the form of pro­vid­ing train­ing or equip­ment.

Indone­sia has emerged as the third-largest democ­ra­cy in the world after decades of mil­i­tary-dom­i­nat­ed rule. In Novem­ber 2005, the Unit­ed States nor­mal­ized mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tions with the coun­try. Gates said the Indone­sian mil­i­tary has become more capa­ble and more pro­fes­sion­al. He laud­ed its peace­keep­ing efforts in Lebanon, Con­go, Liberia, Geor­gia, Nepal and Sudan.

Speak­ing to the Indone­sian Coun­cil on World Affairs at the end of the day, Gates called Indonesia’s shift “remark­able,” con­sid­er­ing it took place against the back­drop of a dev­as­tat­ing tsuna­mi, one of the world’s most severe finan­cial crises, a rise in ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty and a trans­for­ma­tion of both the gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary.

These inter­nal changes have played out against the back­drop of over­all shifts in the region as a whole, Gates said. Since the end of the Cold War, Asia’s secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment has under­gone remark­able change, and in recent years, the nations of Asia have, for the most part, achieved unprece­dent­ed wealth and stature as they have forged more mature polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary insti­tu­tions, he said.

As a result, new cen­ters of pow­er have risen along­side new sources of insta­bil­i­ty. Pira­cy, eth­nic strife and pover­ty, as well as emerg­ing ter­ror­ism, pose the region’s threats, Gates said. To com­bat these chal­lenges, coun­tries must work togeth­er, the sec­re­tary said.

“What these chal­lenges have in com­mon is that they sim­ply can­not be over­come by one, or even two coun­tries, no mat­ter how wealthy or pow­er­ful. They require mul­ti­ple nations act­ing with uncom­mon uni­ty devel­op­ing areas where each part­ner can bring its unique capa­bil­i­ties to bear,” Gates said.

Gates went on to say that there has been a shift, as well, in the U.S. defense strat­e­gy in Asia to one that moves away from a per­ma­nent pres­ence and direct action by U.S. forces toward build­ing the capac­i­ty of part­ner nations to bet­ter defend them­selves. He ref­er­enced a mix of mil­i­tary, diplo­mat­ic, cul­tur­al and human­i­tar­i­an efforts.

“In this vein, the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary — even with ongo­ing oper­a­tions in Afghanistan and Iraq — is engaged with more Asian gov­ern­ments doing more things in more con­struc­tive ways than at any time in our his­to­ry,” Gates said.

Dur­ing the speech to the coun­cil, Gates called for an end to the Cold War mod­el of Asian secu­ri­ty that put the Unit­ed States at the cen­ter with a series of bilat­er­al alliances with oth­er coun­tries. He cit­ed the need for mul­ti­lat­er­al alliances instead, in which all coun­tries coop­er­ate.

“This does not mean any weak­en­ing of our bilat­er­al ties, but rather enhanc­ing secu­ri­ty by adding mul­ti­lat­er­al coop­er­a­tion,” Gates said.

This mul­ti­lat­er­al approach, Gates said, will be need­ed to take on the spread of ter­ror­ism and oth­er secu­ri­ty threats.

“We live in a world today where the most press­ing prob­lems con­fronting us, … for the most part, can­not be solved by any sin­gle nation,” Gates said. “And, there­fore, recog­ni­tion that there are a num­ber of pow­er­ful nations and groups of nations that must play a part in solv­ing these prob­lems … is the first step to begin solv­ing them.”

This is the approach the Unit­ed States has tak­en in recent years, Gates said.

“I believe that an under­ly­ing theme of Amer­i­can his­to­ry is that we are com­pelled to defend our secu­ri­ty and our inter­ests in ways that, in the long run, lead to the spread of demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues and insti­tu­tions,” the sec­re­tary said. “That is to say, the spread of free­dom and secu­ri­ty in places like Indone­sia both man­i­fests our ideals and pro­tects our inter­ests.”

This is Gates’ third stop on a nine-day, around-the-world trip to this region that also will include vis­its to India and Turkey.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)
Pho­to by Tech. Sgt. Jer­ry Mor­ri­son, USAF

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →