| Commander, US 7th Fleet, Public Affairs | Oct. 11, 2019
Vice Adm. Bill Merz, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, and Rear Adm. Didik Setiyono, assistant chief of the Indonesian Navy for Operations, is briefed during staff talks aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) October 11, 2019. The Indonesian Navy’s visit to U.S. 7th Fleet headquarters is highlighted by this year’s marking of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the United States and Indonesia. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jimmy Ong)
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The U.S. 7th Fleet hosted staff talks with their counterparts in the Indonesian Navy aboard the flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), in Yokosuka, Japan, on Oct 11.
The U.S. Navy has had a robust relationship with the Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) for decades and these staff talks built on the partnership. The United States and Indonesia recently commemorated 70 years of diplomatic relations, a partnership that has often involved the maritime domain.
Subject matter experts from 7th Fleet and the TNI-AL discussed various topics during the two-day talks, including facing regional security challenges, cooperative operations at sea, logistics, medical engagements, and future exercise participation.
“It is always enjoyable working with the Indonesian Navy, and this time we were honored to host them here aboard our Flag Ship,” said Vice Adm. Bill Merz, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. “The United States and Indonesia have a strong, longstanding relationship, and a deep commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
In May of this year, U.S. 7th Fleet staff and the USS Blue Ridge visited Jakarta, Indonesia, to strengthen ties through professional exchanges with key members of the Indonesian Navy.
”The friendly atmosphere reflects the fruitful relationship between our Navies,” said Rear Adm. Didik Setiyono, assistant chief of the Indonesian Navy for Operations. “I am sure a great deal of benefits will be derived from this forum and help strengthen our existing collaborative relationships.”
For the staff talks, the visit to Japan and the 7th Fleet Flagship helped reinforce the communication that is critical to the partnership between both countries’ navies.
“The conversation between our two Navies on USS Blue Ridge was a great success," said Rear Adm. Ted LeClair, deputy commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. "The most important part of our staff talks are to interact with our Indonesian counterparts, and have discussions in person that bring us closer as maritime partners."
7th Fleet ships like the Blue Ridge have visited Indonesia for decades as part of exercises like Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT). The Indonesian Navy has also had a history of participating in multilateral exercises like the ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise (AUMX) and RIMPAC. Indonesia helped commemorate the 25th anniversary of the CARAT series, marking their participation since the exercise began in 1995.
The U.S. 7th Fleet provides security alongside allies and partners throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, the 7th Fleet operates roughly 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors.