April 2, 2011
<b>What is it' </b>
Balikatan 2011 is a Republic of the Philippines-U.S. bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training exercise held April 5-15 in the Philippines. U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), the Army Service Component Command in the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) area of responsibility, is executive agent for Balikatan. About 6,000 U.S. servicemembers will train with Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel during the joint bilateral exercise. Components of Balikatan include civil-military operations, field training exercises and a command post exercise. This will be the 27th exercise in the Balikatan series and will be held under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement.
<b>What has the Army done' </b>
Aca,!Ac Balikatan is a Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, USPACOM-scheduled, and government of the Republic of the Philippines-approved bilateral exercise involving U.S. military, Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel, and subject matter experts from Philippine civil defense agencies.
Aca,!Ac Balikatan focuses on training both nations' armed forces to provide relief and assistance together during natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety. Community outreach projects began in early March with construction on engineering projects as well as multiple free medical, dental and veterinary clinics to improve U.S.-Philippine military civic action cooperation. U.S. and AFP military servicemembers will conduct combined staff exercises and field training to improve interoperability and contingency planning.
Aca,!Ac Balikatan demonstrates USARPAC's ability to support multiple contingencies throughout the Pacific Theater. USARPAC is supporting humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Japan during Operation Tomodachi while underscoring the strong relationship with the Republic of the Philippines. USARPAC's Contingency Command Post deployed from Fort Shafter, Hawaii, to validate its capability as a trained and ready team that can support Pacific-wide operations.
<b>What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future' </b>
USARPAC builds partner capacity through security cooperation exchanges, exercises and other events in 36 nations across the USPACOM area of responsibility. USARPAC conducted 154 security cooperation program events in 26 countries last year, ranging from the Army's largest multinational exercise involving 12,000 participants to small, staff officer exchanges.
<b>Why is this important to the Army' </b>
Bilateral training is vital to maintaining readiness capabilities for both the U.S. and Philippine armed forces. Balikatan sustains the long-term security assistance relationship between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States. Balikatan increases interoperability between military forces and enables them to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises. The government of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States have a long relationship of working together. This partnership includes a 59-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty.
<a href="http://www.usarpac.army.mil/bk11/" target="_blank"> Balikatan 2011website </a>
<a href="http://www.usarpac.army.mil" target="_blank"> U.S. Army Pacific website </a>