U.S.-INDONESIA NAVAL COOPERATION: THE EVOLUTION OF EXERCISE CARAT, 2005–2021
Karsa, Rizky Windu
Malley, Michael S.
Russell, James A.
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Since 1995, the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise has been the most important joint naval exercise between the U.S. and Indonesia. CARAT aims to strengthen relationships and interoperability among navies. Currently, CARAT Indonesia is less developed compared to the annual U.S.-Indonesia army exercise, Garuda Shield. This thesis examines the changes in the U.S.-Indonesia defense cooperation and the changes in CARAT from 2005 to 2021 to answer the following questions: How much has CARAT changed over time? Has CARAT fallen behind on U.S.-Indonesian commitments? By comparing the size, complexity, duration, and location of each year’s exercise, this thesis finds that despite both countries’ defense cooperation improvements after 2005, CARAT has not steadily improved. This thesis argues that when both countries have shared interests at the national level, CARAT has improved its size and complexity. Moreover, the limitations of readiness and capabilities of both navies hinder the advancement of CARAT. Consequently, while CARAT has been effective in sustaining bilateral ties, it has turned into a symbolic routine with a lack of significant improvements in naval interoperability improvements. This thesis offers several recommendations to improve the CARAT exercise: the U.S. Navy should continue to use high-end training equipment, both navies should increase the number of participating units, and CARAT should be transformed into a multilateral exercise.
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