U.S. Pacific Command Engagement with Indonesian Kopassus: Recommendations for a Phased Approach

U.S. Pacific Command Engagement with Indonesian Kopassus: Recommendations for a Phased Approach

by Michael Noblet

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For a variety of security, economic, and diplomatic reasons, the U.S. - Indonesia bilateral relationship is increasingly important to both countries. Indonesia's transition from authoritarian to democratic rule and its subsequent military reforms have precipitated a corresponding increase in military to military engagements between U.S. and Indonesian armed forces.

U.S. military engagement with the Indonesian Special Forces, more commonly known as Kopassus, has been seen by many as a "barometer" for the overall state of bilateral U.S.-Indonesian relations. For many years, U.S. military engagement with Kopassus was prohibited in response to human rights violations committed by its forces.

A strategy of gradual re-engagement with Kopassus, conditioned upon continued Indonesian military reform, is important to U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) theater security and U.S. strategic interests. Such a relationship provides increased opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations, incentivize positive action, and build a credible special operations partner that could play an important role in future counterterrorism, peacekeeping, and disaster response operations in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Download the Full Article: U.S. Pacific Command Engagement with Indonesian Kopassus

Michael Noblet is a Professional Staff Member with the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and a student in the U.S. Naval War College Distance Education program. The opinions expressed are the author's and are not sanctioned by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services or U.S. Naval War College.

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