U.S., Republic of Philippine forces to begin Balikatan 11 April 5|
By U.S. Army Pacific Public Affairs Office
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES — Balikatan 11, the annual bilateral training exercise between U.S. and Republic of the Philippine forces, takes place in the Philippines April 5-15, with preliminary work on community infrastructure projects beginning this month.
This year’s exercise will consist of table top exercises, field training.
Service members of both countries will conduct combined staff exercises, field training, and humanitarian assistance projects to improve interoperability, contingency planning, and their capability to respond to natural disasters and other crises.
This year’s exercise features four events. The first includes a series of humanitarian and civic assistance projects to improve U.S.-Philippine military civic action cooperation. These include U.S. and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel performing multiple medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering civic action projects throughout the country.
The second is a scenario-based command post exercise that practices joint and combined force planning at the headquarters level. Event three involves cross-training and interoperability field training exercises at AFP military installations throughout the country. Event four features AFP and U.S. explosive ordnance disposal teams that will conduct combined forces training.
Bilateral training is vital to maintaining readiness capabilities for both the U.S. and Philippine armed forces, according to U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines Harry K. Thomas, Jr. “Balikatan is all about our partnership and friendship,” he said. “Our forces train together to help communities where assistance is needed and I look forward to visiting the communities they will serve.”
Combined and joint exercises increase armed forces’ ability to respond quickly and work together effectively to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that threaten public safety and health.
Balikatan 11, the 27th iteration of this annual bilateral exercise, will be held under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 and Visiting Forces Agreement. U. S. Army Pacific is the executive agent for Balikatan 11.
USARPAC shapes, prepares, responds, sustains and protects in concert with other U.S. government agencies, allies, and partners to contribute to a stable and secure Pacific Command area of responsibility. It is the Army’s largest Service Component Command and has more than 63,000 Soldiers throughout its area of responsibility.
Media interested in covering Balikatan 11 should contact Betsy Weiner, USARPAC media relations officer at 808-438-6350, or email@example.com, or Rebecca Thompson, U.S. Embassy Manila spokeswoman and press attaché at 011-63-2-301-2504; cell: 011-3-918-948-6454, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.