BOGOR, Indonesia " In an effort to support stability and peacekeeping operations, U.S. and Indonesian Soldiers have combined their expertise and talents for an intense, nearly two-week, command post exercise as part of U.S. Army, Pacific’s Exercise Garuda Shield, June 16.

Hosted by the Indonesian Armed Forces, Exercise Garuda Shield is the latest in a continuing series of rigorous, multi-faceted events designed to promote regional stability and security operations while further strengthening relations between U.S. and Indonesia.

The CPX provides realistic scenarios in a simulated environment similar to real-world U.N. peacekeeping operations with a combined force headquarters composed of Soldiers from both nations.

While the U.S. Soldiers bring technical and tactical operations expertise, their Indonesian counterparts bring practical experience from their participation in several U.N. peacekeeping missions. Working side by side and combining their efforts, both nations benefit from the knowledge of the other while coming away from the exercise with invaluable training.

Leading the effort is the Center for Civil-Military Relations, which uses seasoned professionals with abundant U.N. peace support operations experience to stage realistic training scenarios.

“During this exercise we put the Soldiers in very challenging situations,” said Steve Schowalter, senior control and lead exercise planner for the CCMR. “Every aspect of the mission could go wrong, and in some cases, will go wrong. It really prepares them for future peacekeeping and stability operations.”

Prior to this point, exercise participants focused on mastering the basics of peacekeeping operations during three, lengthy days of academic training. The Soldiers had to overcome obstacles such as language barriers and different operating procedures to build combined teams of staff officers to execute a three-day staff exercise. Today, marking the first day of the third and final phase, the CPX allows the collective teams to put what they’ve learned into action.

In the CPX phase, the staff officers will focus on government stabilization, providing a safe and secure environment to local civilians and, when required, provide assistance for humanitarian missions.

“The major challenge for the staff will not only involve carrying out their overall mission, but having to react to a natural disaster, which turns into a humanitarian crisis,” said Colleen Ruru, CPX subject matter expert and U.S. contractor for CCMR. “They will have to plan and execute relief efforts for a catastrophe similar in scale to the earthquake in Haiti.”

For Indonesian Soldiers of the 502nd Airborne Infantry Battalion, the training is a taste of what’s to come in their upcoming deployment to Lebanon in support of U.N. peacekeeping operations.

“When we get to Lebanon, we will be working in a multi-national operations environment similar to this combined exercise,” said Capt. Risa Setyawan, A Company Commander, 502nd Airborne Inf. Bn. “This experience has helped us become familiar and be prepared for our deployment. Every day we work with the U.S. we learn more and each day we are getting better.”

Although the CPX is still ongoing, the Soldiers are confident they can work together to get the job done.

“We all have different levels of knowledge and come from various training backgrounds, but we are eager to understand each other’s doctrines and learn from one another to carry out the mission in the best possible way,” said Lt. Col. Duke Kahanu, 1-299 Calvary Battalion Commander for the exercise.

Page last updated Mon June 20th, 2011 at 18:35