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Balikatan 2024: Insights into the Largest PH-US Joint Military Exercise

A Filipino soldier fires a Javelin anti-tank weapon system during a live exercise as part of the annual US-Philippines joint military exercises called "Balikatan" at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija province, Philippines, April 13, 2023. REUTERS
A Filipino soldier fires a Javelin anti-tank weapon system during a live exercise as part of the annual US-Philippines joint military exercises called “Balikatan” at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija province, Philippines, April 13, 2023. REUTERS

Balikatan 2024: The Largest Joint Military Exercise

Balikatan 2024, the largest joint military exercise between the Philippines and the United States, is set to commence on April 22 and continue until May 10, involving over 16,000 soldiers from both countries. The exercise, which directly supports the U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty, aims to enhance military cooperation and readiness between the two allies. This year, the Australian Defense Force and the French Navy will also participate in the exercise, while 14 nations will observe the proceedings.

Complex Missions and Multilateral Maritime Exercise

Balikatan 2024 will feature a range of complex missions across various domains, including maritime security, sensing and targeting, air and missile defense, dynamic missile strikes, cyber defense, and information operations. The Philippine Navy, U.S. Navy, and the French Navy will conduct a Multilateral Maritime Exercise in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, with white ships from the coast guards of the Philippines and the US also taking part for the first time.

Field Training Exercise, Command-and-Control Exercise, and Humanitarian Civic Assistance

The exercise is organized into three main categories: a field training exercise, a command-and-control exercise, and humanitarian civic assistance activities. The field training exercise includes four combined joint all-domain operations, such as protecting key terrain, rapidly moving long-range, precision strike capabilities, tracking simulated air threats, and integrating multilateral air and land platforms to increase awareness of the maritime security situation.

The command-and-control exercise involves a cyber defense exercise to strengthen bilateral defense capabilities, a staff planning exercise to increase bilateral planning proficiency, and the inaugural information warfare exercise where Philippine and U.S. forces engage in a week-long wargame to synchronize capabilities and advance both nations’ information operations.

Humanitarian civic assistance activities are being conducted at five locations, with military personnel building and improving local infrastructure, sharing lifesaving medical skills, and strengthening military ties with local communities.

A Tangible Demonstration of Shared Commitment

Balikatan 2024 is more than just an exercise; it is a tangible demonstration of the shared commitment between the Philippines and the US to each other, promoting regional peace and stability. The exercise is designed to enhance military readiness across the full range of combined and joint operations, making it the most expansive Balikatan yet.

Quotes from Military Officials and Experts

“We’re building military readiness across the full range of combined and joint operations. It’s our most expansive Balikatan yet”

According to Lt. Gen. Jurney, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and the U.S. military officer responsible for designing, planning and conducting the exercise,

The AFP and the U.S. civil-military operations task force have been conducting humanitarian civic assistance activities at five locations in the Philippines, with projects expected to be completed by the end of Balikatan 2024. These activities aim to build and improve local infrastructure, share lifesaving medical skills, and strengthen military ties with local communities.

Balikatan 2024 is a testament to the unwavering commitment of both nations to defend their territorial integrity and uphold peace and stability in the region.

For more information on Balikatan 2024, visit the official websites of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, Philippine News Agency. Visit our website for more updates on Philippine Politics and Trending news only in Filipino Sourcer!

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