PH-US Balikatan Exercise 2024 Set to Commence
Exercise Balikatan 39-24

PH-US Balikatan Exercise 2024 Set to Commence

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States military are gearing up for Balikatan 2024, marking the 39th iteration of the annual bilateral exercise. Scheduled to unfold across Luzon from April 22 to May 10, the event will see more than 16,000 service members from both nations converge for joint training.

This year’s Balikatan aims to bolster collaboration and readiness across a spectrum of critical areas including external defense operations, cyber defense, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and interagency capacity-building. This robust engagement underscores the enduring partnership between the two nations and their shared commitment to regional security and stability.

Lieutenant General William M. Jurney, Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and U.S. Exercise Director for Balikatan 2024, expressed confidence in the strengthened capabilities achieved through joint endeavors, stating, “Our combined capabilities with the Armed Forces of the Philippines are stronger than ever. Every day that we work and train together, the bonds between our people grow stronger, our capabilities grow stronger, our alliance grows stronger.”

The exercise is structured around three main components: Command and Control Exercise (C2X), Field Training Exercise (FTX), and Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA). These activities will span various locations under the Northern Luzon Command, Western Command, and Southern Luzon Command areas of operation.

C2X will encompass a Staff Exercise, a Cyber Defense Exercise, and an inaugural Information Warfighter Exercise, all designed to test the ability of AFP and U.S. forces to plan, command, and communicate effectively in simulated scenarios.

The FTX will concentrate on combined joint all-domain operations, including vital maritime terrain protection, air assault operations, and reconnaissance activities. Additionally, it will feature the deployment and utilization of cutting-edge military assets such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Rapid Infiltration, Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), and various unmanned aerial systems. The key event will be the Maritime Strike, which seeks to integrate joint and combined fires, combined joint dynamic targeting, and multi-domain effects through the sinking of the adversary’s vessel.
In tandem with military exercises, Balikatan 2024 will incorporate HCA projects aimed at benefiting local communities. Initiatives include the construction of school buildings in Ilocos Norte and Cagayan, as well as health care centers in La Union and Palawan. These endeavors underscore the commitment to fostering sustainable development and strengthening ties between military forces and civilian populations.

Furthermore, the AFP will host an international observers program to promote regional defense cooperation among ASEAN-member nations and other strategic partners. A Multilateral Maritime Exercise, featuring participation from the AFP, U.S., and French navies, is also planned within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

General Romeo S. Brawner Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, emphasized the significance of Balikatan 2024 in advancing interoperability and readiness across various domains. He stated, "Together, we speed up our march towards enhancing our military capabilities for maritime security alongside honing other competencies in order to effectively address the dynamic challenges across all domains."

In its essence, "Balikatan" encapsulates the spirit of unity and shared responsibility, epitomizing the enduring partnership between the Philippines and the United States.

The Balikatan Exercise 39-2024 is scheduled to commence formally on April 22 at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.///


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