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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Balikatan Exercises 2015 kicks off

Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City - In keeping with their mutual agreement for the development of their respective armed forces, the Republic of the Philippines and the United States will engage in yet another series of bilateral exercises starting today April 20 (Monday).

The 31st iteration of Balikatan Exercises 2015 (BK15) is another series of “shoulder-to-shoulder” exercises between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces.

This annual combined joint exercise between the Republic of the Philippines and US is conducted every year to serve as a venue for joint and combined training between our military forces. It is based on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

The exercise is designed to enhance the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces in capability development in the conduct of not only traditional military training but with civil military projects focusing on reaching out towards priority communities.
BK15 will be conducted in three simultaneous events namely: the Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) events; Command Post Exercise (CPX) event; and Field Training Exercises (FTX) events.

The HCA events is the conduct of combined and joint civil-military operations by the AFP, US and ADF conducted in selected areas of the Western Command (WESCOM) area of responsibility in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility in Panay Island, to enhance civil-military cooperation in support of the AFP and US objectives.

The CPX will focus on Marine Security (MARSEC) with Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) to demonstrate the capability of the AFP National Maneuver Force.  Selected US and ADF staff members will form a Joint Liaison Group (JLG) to support the capability development at each staff.

The FTX events are geared to enhance capacities and improve tactics, techniques and procedures, reinforce relations, and improve interoperability of AFP, US and ADF forces.
It will involve the following units:

·         Philippine Army (PA)
·         Philippine Air Force (PAF)
·         Philippine Navy (PN)
·         Philippine Marine Corps (PMC)
·         AFP Special Operations Force (SOF)
·         United States Army (USAR)
·         United States Air Force (USAF)
·         United States Navy (USN)
·         United States Marine Corps (USMC)
·         United States SOF (US SOF)

It will be held in locations:

·         Crow Valley Gunnery Range (CVGR), Tarlac
·         Basa Air Base (BAB) Floridablanca, Pampanga
·         Clark Air Base (CAB) Angeles City, Pampanga
·         Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija (FMNE)
·         Marine Base Gregorio Lim (MBGL), Ternate, Cavite
·         Naval Base Heracleo Alano (NBHA), Sangley Point, Cavite
·         Naval Station Leovigildo Gantiouqui (NSLG), San Antonio, Zambales 

The formal opening of Balikatan Exercises 2015 will be held at AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City of April 20 (Monday). It will formally close on April 30 in Clark Airbase.

Participants from AFP, as of today is, 5,023 while for US is 5,300 soldiers. The ADF has 59 participants. More participants from US will still be arriving soon.

AFP will be sending 13 of its aircraft, ADF will send one while US will devote 69. AFP will also use one of its ships while the US will use 4.

The Balikatan Exercise Director for this year is Vice Admiral Alexander S Lopez, AFP, the current commander of WESCOM, while Brigadier General Rodolfo B Santiago, the current commandant of AFP Command and General Staff College, is the Exercise’s Assistant Director. Their counterparts from the US Armed Forces are Lieutenant General John A Toolan, US Exercise Director BK15 and Brigadier General Christopher Mahoney, US Assistant Exercise Director BK15. 

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