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Reengaging the Indonesian Kopassus: Looking at the Long -Term Approach and Getting it Right

Reengaging the Indonesian Kopassus: Looking at the Long -Term Approach and Getting it Right published on

Authored by U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

The Kopassus (Indonesian Army Special Forces) populate the highest ranks of the Indonesian military and political leadership. The unit and its leadership committed human rights violations and finally in the late 1990s their actions incited a global condemnation of Indonesia during East Timor’s fight for independence. The U.S. subsequently ceased military engagement with the Indonesian military and specifically focused on the Kopassus.

The Kopassus, however, are more than just a special operations element within the Indonesian military. Many former and present Indonesian military general officers as well as senior political leaders served in the Kopassus, some during those critical years in East Timor.

As the U.S. rebalances its foreign policy toward the Pacific, an improved relationship with Indonesia becomes a high priority. Indonesia is an influential country in many aspects, between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the East Asia Summit, and with regards to China.

According to both the U.S. Mission in Jakarta and the USPACOM commander, 2013 will mark the first year for renewing a relationship more than 12 years forgotten. U.S. reengagement with the influential Kopassus will have effects for years, not only with the military, but also in the Asia-Pacific region and possibly beyond.

Publication Date:
Nov 08 2014
1503145832 / 9781503145832
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / International Relations / General


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