America is making progress in the Pacific

The Countermeasure
2 min readDec 3, 2023

Despite war in Europe and the Middle East, as well as tensions across Africa and South America, the United States has continued to fix its long-term focus on winning a future war in the Pacific.

On November 16, 2023, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto signed the Defense Cooperation Arrangement (DCA) in Jakarta.

Secretary Austin made it a point to mention that the signing of DCA was in conjunction with the completion of “the largest-ever iteration of Super Garuda Shield,” a joint and multinational military exercise that takes place in Indonesia and is hosted by their armed forces and the US military. This year, 7 nations participated while 11 others observed the exercises.

The signing of DCA is an upgrade, in Secretary Austin’s words, to the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (UICSP)that was announced by President Joe Biden and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the White House on November 13, 2023.

The UICSP was a bilateral initiative between the US and Indonesia “built on shared values of democracy and pluralism…” and “to deliver a better future for our citizens and a free, open, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific.”

For Secretary Austin’s part, DCA is intended to follow that same general goal. Austin cited China’s coercive military actions across the South China Sea, the Myanmar crisis, the North Korean threat and missile activity, and the war in Ukraine and Israel as the necessity behind this updated pact.

It should be noted that in 2023, the United States made some major strides in terms of building up its diplomatic and military posture in the Pacific. The US was able to successfully reaffirm guidelines to mutual defense with the Philippines, as well as guarantee Japan to commit to its greatest defense build-up since World War II.

Indonesia is another strong partner for the United States, but the significance of this partnership really focuses on Indonesia’s geography. The archipelago nation is located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans where some of the busiest and most crucial sea lanes exist.



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