The Indonesian National Armed Forces and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command jointly hosted Exercise Garuda Canti Dharma 2022 at Pusat Misi Pemeliharaan Perdamaian (PMPP), the Indonesian Peacekeeping Training Center outside Jakarta, from July 18-31, 2022. The PMPP is a regional hub and recognized center of excellence for the training of UN peacekeepers.
Approximately 420 personnel from the Indonesia Armed Forces hosted 70 U.S. military personnel from the Hawaii Army National Guard. Together, both nations invited 350 personnel from 16 partner nations, including: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Fiji, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Garuda Canti Dharma has become the world’s largest annual Multinational Peace operations Exercise (MPE). MPEs provide participating militaries valuable opportunities to practice their military capabilities, including command and control, intelligence sharing, projecting forces, providing sustainment, protecting themselves and civilians, and where necessary, confronting armed groups and malign actors.
This year’s exercise was the second iteration of Garuda Canti Dharma hosted by Indonesia, and the fifteenth rotational MPE carried out in conjunction with the State Department-funded Global Peace Operations Initiative, which is overseen by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Garuda Canti Dharma was designed to promote global peace and provide participants with staff and field training in UN peacekeeping operations and critical enabling capability enhancement. This was the first time the exercise included a multinational Gender Focal Point (GFP) course, in support of the UN Secretary General’s Action for Peace (A4P) initiative and U.S. government efforts to promote Women, Peace, and Security, as well as the first iteration of U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP)-led regional courses on Negotiation: Shaping the Conflict Landscape and Mediating Violent Conflict. These courses are designed to enhance the safety and security of vulnerable populations and deployed UN peacekeepers.
During their staff and field training, Indonesian, U.S., and other partner nation forces worked together to enhance interoperability and mission effectiveness in common tasks like patrolling, checkpoint operations, first aid, and crowd control. They tested their proficiency in these tactics, techniques, and procedures in accordance with UN doctrine with the objective of improving UN peacekeeping troop performance and ability to conduct regional peace operations.
The Gender Focal Point (GFP) course was designed to train GFPs to work under an overall Gender Advisor and provide subject matter expertise and support to the UN mission’s senior leadership. GFPs are trained to look at peacekeeping operations through the lens of gender, deepen understanding of topics like conflict-related sexual violence, and record gender-focused lessons learned. The ultimate goal of such training is to increase the full, meaningful, and equal participation of women in peace operations, in line with the UN’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy of 2018-2028 and UN Security Council Resolution 2538, which was passed under the leadership of Indonesia.
The USIP-led regional courses are specially tailored for practitioners working in conflict zones, and designed to improve their ability to mediate effectively, enhance their understanding of the motivations and objectives of parties to conflict, and cultivate effective relationships. They also teach participants to hone their emotional intelligence and develop skills and strategies to make them more effective negotiators.
Participants also learned specialized Explosive Ordnance Disposal techniques from teams contributed by several partner nations. Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs are a growing threat to UN peacekeeping missions worldwide and EOD training teaches soldiers proper safety measures to protect themselves and local populations.
Collectively, this type of training is called Critical Enabling Capability enhancement, which is a key focus of the Department of State’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). Such training is a significant force multiplier and professional development opportunity for soldiers and non-commissioned officers. GPOI is currently providing training, equipment, and advisory assistance to help 37 partner countries develop and employ 67 critical enablers, such as engineer, aviation, medical, logistics, signals, riverine, and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities. Sixty-seven percent of these partner capabilities have been, are currently, or have been selected to deploy to UN and African Union (AU) peace operations.
We are grateful to Indonesia for co-hosting Garuda Canti Dharma and for being a global leader in peacekeeping operations. As of June 30, 2022, Indonesia has 2,686 military and police personnel (including 153 female personnel), serving in 7 multinational peacekeeping operations (UNIFIL, MONUSCO, MINUSCA, MINUSMA, UNMISS UNISFA, and MINURSO). This makes Indonesia the 8th largest globally and the largest in the East-Asia Pacific region.
About the Author: Andrew Strike is a Public Affairs Specialist in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.