Exercise Balikatan

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What is it?

Exercise Balikatan is an annual United States-Republic of the Philippines bilateral military training exercise focused on a variety of missions, including mutual defense, counter terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Balikatan means "shoulder-to-shoulder" in Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines.

What has the Army done/ is doing?

Balikatan 2018 focuses on interoperability training events designed to enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Armed Forces. This exercise takes place May 7-18, 2018, on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Soldiers in U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) will participate in tough, realistic training alongside longtime allies.

USARPAC is contributing 1,150 Soldiers, just under half the 3,000 U.S. military forces participating in Balikatan. U.S. Army units include elements of 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division; 16th Combat Aviation Brigade; 25th Sustainment Brigade, 330th Medical Brigade; 500th Military Intelligence Brigade; 413th Contracting Support Brigade; 303rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD); Guam Army National Guard, Hawaii National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological Enhanced Response Force Package; 249th Engineer Battalion and 523rd Engineer Company.

The Army seeks to enhance its professional relationships with allies and partners. The Philippines and the United States will continue to work with regional partner nations during the exercise. Multinational forces from the Philippines, United States, Australia and Japan will participate in all major training events. The Armed Forces of the Philippines also invited military forces from the United Kingdom and Association of Southeast Asian Nations as observers.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

USARPAC builds partner capacity through security cooperation exchanges, exercises and other events in 36 nations across the USPACOM area of responsibility. United States will continue to collaborate with regional partner nations to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Forces from Australia and Japan will participate in all major training events.

Why is this important to the Army?

The allies and partners provide unique perspectives, regional relationships and information that improve Army's understanding of the operational environment.

Regional exercises like Balikatan are an opportunity to build combined capabilities and share best practices across the full range of military operations. This exercise highlights the strong U.S.-Philippine alliance, gives an opportunity to the Army to learn from a partner nation, and to train together for coalition-operations that are more effective.

Such exercises help to ensure that the Army maintains a high state of readiness to defend the nation, assure allies, and deter potential adversaries.

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Events

May 201

National Asian Pacific Heritage Month

May 3: National Day of Prayer

May 11: Military Spouse Appreciation Day

May 13: Mother's Day

May 19: Armed Forces Day

May 28: Memorial Day

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