251,287 cables indexed
Reference ID: 07JAKARTA2934
Subject: RESUMING ENGAGEMENT WITH KOPASSUS, THE ARMY'S SPECIAL FORCES UNIT
Origin: Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Created:19 Oct 2007 Released:30 Aug 2011
Tags: ID, MARR, MOPS, PREL

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002934

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR P, T, EAP, EAP/MTS, PM, PM/RSAT
SECDEF FOR OSD J.TOOLAN, USDP/ISA/AP P.IPSEN
JOINT STAFF FOR P.CLEMMONS
NSC FOR WILDER AND PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/18/2017
TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, ID
SUBJECT: RESUMING ENGAGEMENT WITH KOPASSUS, THE ARMY'S
SPECIAL FORCES UNIT

REF: A. JAKARTA 1075
B. JAKARTA 1246
C. SECSTATE 96175
D. SECSTATE 52302
E. SECDEF 191854Z APR 07

JAKARTA 00002934 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador Cameron R. Hume, reasons 1.4 (b,d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: The time is right to resume gradual
engagement with KOPASSUS, the Indonesian Army's elite Special
Forces unit. The basis for engagement remains the
Secretary's waiver of legislative restrictions on military

SIPDIS
cooperation with the GOI issued in November 2005, which
opened the way to proceed toward military-to-military
normalization. The re-establishment of bilateral activities
with KOPASSUS is part of this normalization policy. We
outline below the reasons to resume engagement at this time
and list the steps we plan to take in that direction. END
SUMMARY.

MOVING FORWARD

2. (C) The special military forces play an essential role in
Indonesia's ability to protect U.S. official, civilian and
commercial interests here. Our interests depend on these
forces and their police counterparts for protection in the
event of a terrorist attack, hostage-taking, aircraft
hijacking, violent demonstration or other similar threats to
public safety. Although primary responsibility for combating
terrorism now rests with the police, KOPASSUS' Special
Detachment 81 remains key to counter-terrorism operations.
It is essential that, in building a strong counter-terrorism
partnership with Indonesia, we achieve a level of trust,
understanding and cooperation with all elements of the
host-country security force structure, especially the
high-end forces such as KOPASSUS. Shunning them ties the
Ambassador's hands in the event of a major hostage taking or
other crisis. Under current restrictions, the group most
likely to be called to rescue Americans in a crisis is
exactly the group that we have engaged the least.

3. (C) Indonesian civilian and military authorities regard
U.S. re-engagement with KOPASSUS as a logical and necessary
part of our overall bilateral cooperation. Defense Minister
Sudarsono underscored this concern in his meetings with
Secretary Rice and Defense DepSec England during Sudarsono's

SIPDIS
visit to Washington in April (refs d, e). TNI commander
(Panglima) Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto has made similar appeals
to the Ambassador, emphasizing that younger officers not be
penalized for past transgressions of the TNI. We note that
Australia continued to work with KOPASSUS as part of its
overall re-engagement with the Indonesian military after the
advent of democracy in 1998. ICRC Executive Director Georges
Paclisanu has expressed to us several times that U.S.
engagement with KOPASSUS would reinforce ICRC's human-rights
training for the force.

4. (C) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
has been training senior and mid-level KOPASSUS soldiers in
human rights in a train-the-trainer format. These trainees
then train KOPASSUS units and maintain an ongoing training
program. (Specifically, the ICRC training consists
International Humanitarian Law as contained in the Geneva
Convention.) The ICRC has also published a booklet with
these principles for each KOPASSUS soldier (see also ref a).
At the same time, this Mission continues to press the TNI and
the government of Indonesia for accountability of past
excesses. Mission also conducts full human-rights vetting
for all TNI personnel receiving U.S. assistance.

NEXT STEPS

5. (C) In resuming the engagement suspended temporarily
because of the Tommy Suharto flap (refs b, c), Mission plans
to proceed with the following series of events over the next
two years to assess KOPASSUS capabilities and human-rights
commitment and to lay the basis for broader cooperation.
Although the specific focus of each event will vary, the

JAKARTA 00002934 002.2 OF 002


series will progress from initial non-lethal to lethal
activities, culminating in counter-terrorist exercises with
KOPASSUS' special counter-terrorism force, Detachment 81.
Generally, although none of the events is a prerequisite for
another, the execution of events builds in part upon
successful completion of preceding events.

6. (C) The notional engagement plan as it currently stands:

-- APR-MAY 2008: Balance Iron 08-2: non-lethal JCET (Joint
Combined Exchange Training)

-- JUL-AUG 2008: Balance Iron 08-4: most likely another
non-lethal JCET

-- OCT-DEC 2008: Balance Iron 09-1: standard JCET

-- JAN-Feb 2009: Balance Iron 09-2: counterinsurgency
operations (COIN) exercise

-- FEB-MAR 2009: Vector Balance Iron 09-1:
Counter-terrorism operations exercise.

7. (C) The initial event next spring will be conducted with
20-24 KOPASSUS soldiers. The proposed training tasks
include:

-- fundamentals of human rights
-- the military decision-making process
-- intelligence preparation of the battlefield
-- handling and treatment of personnel
-- basic combat life-saving techniques
-- introduction to advanced combat life-saving techniques
-- fundamentals of marksmanship.

A DELIBERATE, TARGETED PROGRAM

8. (C) This series of exercises represents a deliberate,
targeted program designed to broaden KOPASSUS' exposure to
U.S. skills and capabilities, starting with respect for human
rights. Its moderate pace offers sufficient time to assess
progress at each step yet maintains the necessary momentum to
build cooperation constructively toward eventual full
engagement. Other events are in planning which would follow
upon those outlined above, should this process run
successfully. Those events would round out the re-engagement
by covering additional skills and capabilities of special
forces. In the end, our objective is to put our military
cooperation with KOPASSUS on par with that of other TNI
units. We would then be in a stronger position to count on
the support of this important force in promoting U.S.
objectives and protecting U.S. personnel in Indonesia.

HUME