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Remarks by Secretary Hagel and Minister of Defense Purnomo to Indonesian troops in Jakarta, Indonesia

Press Conference

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Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

MINISTER OF DEFENSE PURNOMO YUSGIANTORO:

Well, a very good afternoon to all of you. With us this afternoon is the secretary of defense, United States, Secretary Chuck Hagel. He arrived in Indonesia this morning, and then we paid a courtesy visit to the president, to the President Yudhoyono. With the president, we discussed a lot of things, the global issue, regional issue, and also the bilateral ties between Indonesia and U.S.

All right. After the visit from the palace, then, we came to the ministry of defense. We had the guest of honor, due to Secretary Hagel, and then we have bilateral meetings. Many things that we discuss, how we can enhance the cooperation between U.S. and Indonesia.

The important thing that I raise is the education and training, are things very important for you, the young officials. I think most of them, Secretary Hagel (inaudible) from the military academy, on the military academy, those young persons.

Then since after we finish with this program, we're going to have the signing of (inaudible) letter of agreement. And then we have a press conference. And tomorrow, both of us, you know, fly to Bandar Seri Begawan to meet 10 ASEAN defense ministers' meeting and plus eight countries.

So with this kind of introduction, I would like to ask you, Secretary Hagel, you want to say something before you discuss with this young official here. Please. The floor is yours.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL: Minister -- Minister Purnomo, thank you. I very much appreciate an opportunity to see you again. And as you noted, we had a very positive and productive meeting with the president a couple of hours ago.

But I am particularly pleased and honored to have an opportunity to address all of you. You are an elite force. You have tremendously important responsibilities, as you know.

Minister Purnomo just noted that education and training are particularly important. And many times I think in militaries that can occasionally get lost. You know, we all begin our lives and finish our lives as complete people. We are individuals first and soldiers, or whatever your profession is, second. And a professional soldier, a well-trained, well-led, well-equipped soldier, is a pride of any country.

And it is the pride of a country because in democracies you recognize the rule of law. And you recognize your obligations are to your people and to each other and defending laws in the higher -- in the higher law of all of us, as -- as individuals.

So I congratulate you for your professionalism. I know some of you have graduated and attended some of our military institutions in the United States. And we're very proud of you. We're proud of our graduates. We have -- as you know, many of the U.S. military people come here in not only exchanges and exercises, but we take training here. And that exchange of people-to-people, regardless of your profession, but in particular the military-to-military exchange is a very solid bridge-building mechanism for countries.

And I just want you to know how proud we are of our militaries in the United States and what you're doing, as we work together to make a better world, to enhance peace and prosperity and security. That is your life; that is your commitment. And I do not know of a more noble profession than what you are doing on behalf of a better world.

So, thank you. Minister, thank you for allowing me the privilege to share a few words with these magnificent soldiers. Thank you.

MIN. PURNOMO: I just want to make sure, with Secretary Hagel, that, you know, he'll be able to -- he'll be happy to receive the Q&A, the question-and-answer from you. So feel free, you know, if you have any questions, because I believe that you were also a soldier before. You can -- you can share some of your experiences being a soldier before.

SEC. HAGEL: Well, I'm not in the same class or category with these soldiers. I did spend two years of my life in the United States Army. I fought in Vietnam in 1968, so I have some appreciation for war and for battle and what your challenges are and your training.

But I'm not in your class. I was a soldier for two years, but I guess if you're once a soldier, you're always a soldier, but I'm very proud of my service in the United States Army. Thank you.

MIN. PURNOMO: (speaking foreign language) Please.

Q: Mr. Secretary, it is a great honor to have you among us today in Jakarta. I am (inaudible). I served in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, 2006 and 2007, and I am currently serving as the chief of operations at the 17th Airborne Infantry Brigade, part of KOSTRAD, the Army's strategic reserve command.

And here I'd like to inform you that I was pleased and was fortunate to be part of the IMET program, whereas I finished the advanced officers' course or the Maneuver Captain's Career Course from Fort Benning, 2011. During the six months' rigorous training, I had the opportunity to enrich my military knowledge and experience through engagement with my fellow American officers who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, I was able to interact with the local Americans and to learn about the local traditions and cultures. And I think it was a very rewarding experience for me, personally and professionally.

And I would like to take this rare opportunity to express my great expectation as a junior TNI officer that we can enhance our cooperation of our two militaries and also to strengthen the bond of our soldiers in the future. A great example was the last -- the last joint airborne exercise, taking place in Indonesia with the 82nd Airborne Division. That event served as an effective medium of exchange, knowledge, skills and experience, but on top of it, it was the spirit of brotherhood that made that kind of exercise even more valuable.

Therefore, I would like to recommend that we can enhance the military cooperations between the two countries by enhancing the IMET program through two sectors, just like what you have said earlier, education and training. As for education, it is so -- it will be very important for us if we can have a greater opportunity to send officers for post-graduate-level education, because it is critical to produce our very own soldier-scholars, because you want to make -- we want to develop our institution into more -- more professional, world-class military, including to produce brilliant strategic thinkers and defense practitioners.

And the second track will be joint exercises. We can -- I'm sorry, the military courses. The military courses is very valuable, because it will help us to -- to have certain number of officers who can develop our doctrines, tactics and procedures so we can be a more developed and -- and a more joint fighting forces.

And second track will be the joint exercises. We can enhance the existing regular joint exercises that we conduct in Indonesia, for example, the (inaudible) Shield and other trainings within our armed forces. And the second will be, if it is possible, Mr. Secretary, we can discuss this possibilities whether we can send our soldiers to train in your training ground in the U.S., so we can experience your advanced training facilities, which we believe that we can learn and acquire important lessons learned, especially in terms of military operations in urban terrain, as well as peace-making operations.

With this, we believe that both of our militaries can enhance cooperations and to pursue our common objective, especially to preserve peace and security in this region. I thank you.

SEC. HAGEL: Thank you. Very articulate summation of the quality of your forces represented by your words, and very wise words. And I thank you for that.

On the specific point of the IMET, I have always believed -- and I think most of the Congress of the United States -- I know President Obama and all of the leadership of the Pentagon and the American armed forces believe strongly that the IMET program is -- is one of the smartest, best investments that the United States can make in relationships around the world, and in particular for the future. And I think you and many of your colleagues are very clear examples of that.

The consequences of training and education hardly can be qualified, they are so important. Each of you are role models. And how you conduct yourselves, what you say, and how you lead ripple out in ways you'll probably never know. But people watch you. Your subordinates watch you. Others watch you carefully. And how you conduct yourselves is really the essence of leadership.

And that comes through a lot of things. It comes through other role models. We each have had role models in our lives. You have them. It comes through education, through training, through the professionalization of your services. IMET does that as well as any one program I think the United States has, so you can be assured that that program is going to continue and we'll continue to enhance it. Thank you.

MIN. PURNOMO: Well, it's time limit. We would like to thank for your presence here and thanks, Secretary Hagel, for sharing of your knowledge. And we're going to move now to the press conference in the other buildings. And, again, thank you very much. Appreciate it. (Applause.)


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