Hawaii National Guard Joins Gema Bhakti with Partner Indonesia

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Andrew Jackson,
  • State of Hawaii, Department of Defense, Public Affairs Office

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Members of the U.S. Military and the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI, Indonesian Armed Forces) began Joint Staff Exercise Gema Bhakti 22 with an opening ceremony in Jakarta Sept. 9. 

GB22 is a staff exercise between U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the TNI and their components and is in its 10th year. The exercise improves joint operational-level staff planning and processes. GB22 also promotes positive military relations, assuring security and stability in the region, increases cultural awareness, and enhances command and control proficiency.

“We are very glad that Gema Bhakti exercise 2022 can be conducted here in Jakarta,” said Maj. Gen. Agus Suhardi, assistant of operations to TNI. “The theme of our exercise this week will be transition planning to the defense-led operation.”

This year, Gema Bhakti is staffed by the TNI and other governmental and non-governmental agencies and elements from USINDOPACOM and the Hawaii National Guard. Approximately 110 USINDOPACOM and U.S. interagency personnel and about 30 TNI personnel and members from non-governmental agencies are participating.

“Gema Bhakti has evolved from a small, less complex exercise to a much more challenging and robust joint exercise that enhances TNI and U.S. interoperability and multinational capability,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, Hawai’i adjutant general. “We will work together to conduct operational-level planning for crisis response as well as leveraging actors from the civilian and the humanitarian community using the multinational forces standard operating procedures.”

The Soldiers and Airmen from the Hawaii National Guard bring a broad spectrum of experience of Joint Task Force operations. There have been three Joint Task Forces stood up in Hawaii since 2018 to coordinate responses to flooding, landslides, volcanic activity and COVID-19. The Hawaii National Guard has a longstanding relationship with the TNI and has been involved in every iteration of Gema Bhakti.

“The Hawai’i National Guard and the U.S forces are here to show the TNI what looks right in joint operations, not tell them how to do it,” said Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi Jr., director of joint staff, Hawaii National Guard. “Our Soldiers and Airmen bring a lot of experiences to share and have grown from learning the TNI perspective as well.”

The Hawaii National Guard and Indonesia are linked by the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. In its 29th year, the SPP includes 85 security partnerships with 93 nations. Through the program, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements to support security goals and facilitates broader interagency engagements.

“The first iteration of Gema Bhakti in 2013 introduced the joint command concept in mission planning,” said Maj. Marco Hartanto, Hawai’i Army National Guard. “Gema Bhatki has now moved from planning a humanitarian assistance and disaster response mission to the coordination and planning of a mission focused on deterring of enemy aggression.”

Gema Bhakti will strengthen command relationships between TNI headquarters and TNI regional defense commands to support joint operations, enabling greater readiness for regional responses and contingency operations.

Gema Bhakti is structured with a mix of academic lectures led by TNI and U.S. instructors. Planners from INDOPACOM, TNI and HING will assemble in teams to form the different J-staff sections from J-1 (personnel) to J-6 (command and control, communications, cyber). They will respond to a fictional scenario on a notional continent, with forces from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and their TNI counterparts. The focus of the STAFFEX is planning, and course of action development.

“I look forward to strengthening relationships, improving readiness, and increasing interoperability between the United States' and Indonesia’s armed forces,” said Hara.