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U.S., Indonesian Forces Conduct War Games

Exercises part of counter-China Air Sea Battle Concept

U.S. Marines take their position during a joint amphibious assault exercise with their Indonesian counterparts / AP
• July 18, 2013 4:45 pm

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U.S. military forces carried out a series of war games with the Indonesian military recently that went largely unreported but represent a significant step forward in U.S. military relations in Asia.

The exercises are part of stepped-up U.S. military maneuvers in Asia as part of the Pentagon’s new Air-Sea Battle Concept, the covert strategy designed to counter China without publicly stating that it is aimed at Beijing’s growing military power.

A key element of the Air Sea Battle Concept is holding numerous exercises with regional states in Asia, many of which have become alarmed in recent months by growing Chinese assertiveness.

Other recent exercises have included the first use of Marine Corps M-22 tiltrotor aircraft on Japanese ships during war games off the coast of California. Other U.S. military exercises were held recently with Philippines forces.

The Indonesian exercises are known as Garuda Shield were the fifth time U.S. forces conducted exercises with Indonesian military troops. About 300 troops from the Army’s 82nd Airborne and Hawaii National Guard took part in the 10-day war games that ended June 22.

Army Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson, head of the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 82nd Airborne took part in the opening ceremony along with top Indonesian generals.

The exercises were described by Indonesia as the "largest and most complex bilateral event ever conducted between the US Army and TNI," the acronym for the Indonesian National Armed Forces.

The exercises included a combined tactical and staff operations, computer-based planning, tactical field training and ended with a combined airborne assault operation.

The goal, according to U.S. and Indonesian officials, was to strengthen U.S.-Indonesian military cooperation.

Indonesia is a key regional power in Southeast Asia, an area that Chinese military forces have sought steady encroachment.

China’s government recently issued what has been called the "Nine-Dash Line"—a zone covering most of the South China Sea—that China is claiming as its territory despite protests from regional states.

Indonesia is building up its military forces and during the exercise announced that it will purchase U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles. The U.S. defense contractor Raytheon produces the advanced guided missile.

As part of the buildup, Jakarta is building submarines with South Korea and armored vehicles with Turkey.

Published under: China