Subject: ST: US-Indon Military Training Not Just for Top Brass: Jakarta

also: ST: Case for an East Asian Security Order

The Straits Times Tuesday, March 1, 2005

New Military Training in US Not Just for Top Brass: Jakarta

Indonesia wants focus on operational skills and not just lessons in strategy

By Devi Asmarani Indonesia Correspondent

JAKARTA - INDONESIA will tap America for nuts-and-bolts operational skills for its troops, not just lessons in military strategy for the top brass, now that the US has decided to resume training members of the Indonesian military.

Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said the US decision last Saturday to resume the International Military Education and Training (Imet) after a 13-year gap would enhance the capabilities of the Indonesian forces.

The field of training could range from combat tactics to management or human rights laws, he said.

'We need managers in the military to make a more transparent, effective and accountable budget, but also with certain knowledge about the specifics of military equipment,' he told The Straits Times in an interview.

By studying in US staff colleges, the officers would have the opportunity to draw comparisons with officers from other countries like Pakistan or India, he said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a retired military general, was among the last batch of Indonesian officers who received training in the United States before the scheme was frozen in the 1990s because of human rights abuses in then East Timor.

The programmes should be extended all the way to the ranks of captains, Dr Juwono added.

Washington, eager to enlist Jakarta as a key ally in the war against terrorism, credited Indonesia's democratic progress and its cooperation in the investigation of the 2002 murders of two Americans in Papua province for the re-opening of the ties.

Dr Juwono is due to visit the US soon to meet US officials and congressmen, who are still reluctant to lift a US embargo on arms supplies to Indonesia.

He will explain the need for the country to have a strong and professional military, he said.

He will also hold talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the scope of the Imet programmes.

Former military chief of territorial affairs Lieutenant-General (Retired) Agus Widjoyo hoped the programme would be as extensive as it was before the suspension. Then, it ranged from combat training for junior officers to management of defence strategy for mid-ranked officers.

'The tactical programmes, I think, would benefit us more than just courses on strategies because even lower-ranked soldiers will have the opportunity to compare notes on how to conduct military operations without excesses of human rights abuses,' Lt-Gen Agus said.

Legislator Djoko Susilo said courses on human rights and humanitarian laws were important.

The embargo gave rise to a growing number of hardliners in the military because they had not been taught to observe human rights, he said.


The Straits Times Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Case for an East Asian Security Order
By Joseph Liow Chin Yong and Tan See Seng FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

THE inaugural East Asian Summit bringing together leaders of Asean, China, Japan, and South Korea is scheduled to be held in Malaysia in December this year. A successful dialogue will bode well for an East Asian region which traditionally has been viewed as two separate sub-regions, North-east Asia and South-east Asia, with minimal security linkages.

In security terms, East Asia has never quite possessed the kind of strategic coherence or orderliness that would have facilitated the creation of a truly multilateral collective security and defence framework of the sort exemplified by Nato. The security architecture of East Asia is anything but tidy, consisting of a loose, complex patchwork of bilateral arrangements, mostly with the United States and, especially in the case of South-east Asian, with neighbouring states within the South-east Asian sub-region.

The two sub-regions demonstrate partiality to specific modalities of regional security management as well. North-east Asia remains reliant on traditional security approaches, such as alliances and balance of power, while South-east Asia has supplemented - not replaced - Cold War power balancing with a post-Cold War architecture based on comprehensive security.

By the same token, there are good reasons to suggest the idea of a future connecting the regional security of North-east and South-east Asia, in rather substantive ways.

Some interesting region-wide developments alert us to the potential connectivity of North-east and South-east Asian regional security. While a couple may be regarded as outmoded in some respects, there are nevertheless four which are worth mentioning:

Asean Regional Forum

FOR all its weaknesses (and there are many), the ARF, still the only multilateral security framework of its kind serving the Asia-Pacific region, has taught East Asians that the idea of a region-wide security forum is not unimaginable or, dare we say, unachievable. At the very least, the ARF provides a reference point, perhaps even the courage, to think realistically of the possibilities for an East Asian security order.

Peacekeeping operations

THE rise in peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities under United Nations auspices in the region, as was the case in Cambodia and East Timor - which saw the welcoming of Japan's participation under the aegis of the UN by Asean states - suggests growing recognition that internal conflicts have the potential to assume not only a transnational but increasingly pan-regional quality. This acknowledgment and consequent efforts at conflict management bode well for tying the destinies of the two sub-regions together.

Asean Plus Three

THE emerging Asean Plus Three framework has clearly not been spared from various vicissitudes and impediments, including the seeming unwillingness of Japan and China, at least previously, to accept a level of engagement in the forum expected of them by Asean. Nevertheless, the potential for security linkage between the two sub-regions remains.

Indeed, even though the Sino-Asean Declaration on the South China Sea, signed during the Phnom Penh summit in November 2002, fell well short of hopes for a binding code of conduct regarding disputed islands in the South China Sea, free trade agreements being negotiated by Asean with China and Japan tacitly presuppose that unofficial security links between North-east and South-east Asia are important, if only to ensure a stable environment for trade and economic development.

Rise of China

THE Asean model of regional security is all about locking great powers within a framework for institutionalised security dialogue. This was the case for Asean with Indonesia, as has been the case for the ARF with the major powers. In that sense, Asean Plus Three and other ancillary frameworks that connect North-east and South-east Asia will likely be pursued by South-east Asians, if only as a way of locking a rising China into forums for institutionalised dialogue.

Importantly, three of the four developments above - the exception being peacekeeping - have been supported by Track Two diplomacy, vigorously in some instances.

The ARF has the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) - and earlier the Asean-Institutes of Strategic and International Studies - networks behind it. The Asean Plus Three has the East Asia Vision Group providing the needed intellectual backing. Even China's 'socialisation' probably could not have happened without efforts at the Track Two level by CSCAP, or for that matter the South China Sea workshops mediated by Indonesia.

All these developments indicate that notwithstanding impediments, there are clear advantages in having a regular and vibrant security dialogue that binds the interests of North-east and South-east Asia, and that can underpin an East Asian regional order.

The writers are assistant professors at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore. This is an excerpt from a paper presented at the Third Asean-Japan Young Leaders Workshop in Jakarta from Feb 15-18.

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