SURABAYA, Indonesia -- The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2022 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Surabaya, Indonesia, Dec. 7.
CARAT Indonesia is a joint, bilateral maritime exercise taking place ashore in Surabaya and in the Java Sea, Dec. 7-21. The exercise commenced with an opening ceremony led by Rear Adm. Rachmad Jayadi, deputy commander of TNI-AL Education and Training Doctrine Development Command, and Rear Adm. Joaquin J. Martinez de Pinillos, vice commander of U.S. 7th Fleet.
“CARAT Indonesia is about practicing interoperability, honing capabilities, and strengthening relationships,” said Martinez. “The purpose is to make each of our navies more capable of defending our own nations. But also to make us more capable of defending the international norms that both of our governments consider in our national interests.”
This year’s iteration of CARAT Indonesia will focus largely on amphibious operations with an ashore bilateral command and control (C2) center made up of Indonesian and U.S. service members. U.S. assets and personnel supporting the amphibious operations include the Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
"The 28th year of the CARAT series exercise shows the U.S.'s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region," said Capt. Tony Chavez, commanding officer of USS Makin Island (LHD 8). "We share maritime security priorities with Indonesia and will continue to share knowledge, skills, and information to enhance interoperability and promote regional security cooperation."
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 (SME) exchanges. These will include topics such as maritime domain awareness and intelligence, unmanned aircraft systems, band, public affairs, diving and underwater construction, force protection, legal, and medical.
Phase two will include practical application of the information shared in SME exchanges, as well as standing up the bilateral C2 center. In phase three, the bilateral C2 center will provide exercise control of the at-sea and beach landing operations by the participating Indonesian and U.S. forces.
“Our navies have been maintaining a strong bilateral relationship over decades,” said Jayadi. “Numerous bilateral meetings and exercises have been executed with high level performances in order to enhance strategic mutual understanding.”
The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) will also participate in CARAT 2022. Additional U.S. assets and personnel participating in the exercise include Helicopter Sea Squadron (HSC) 21, a P-8A Poseidon assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, and personnel from U.S. 7th Fleet, CTF 72, 73, 75, 76/3, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHBIRON) 7, 13th MEU, and Naval Special Warfare.
CARAT Indonesia is a bilateral exercise between Indonesia and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability. In its 28th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th MEU are trained to operate in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as Commander, Task Force 76/3 Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements as the executing agent of Commander, Task Group CARAT.
Task Force 76/3 recently formed as a result of merging the staffs of Navy's Task Force 76, 7th Fleet, and 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.