PH-US cap Balikatan 2024, mark milestone in defense cooperation
MGen Marvin Licudine, Her Excellency Marykay Loss Carlson, Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., General Romero Brawner Jr., and LtGen Michael Cederholm, gather for a photo opportunity during the Exercise Balikatan 39-2024 closing ceremony on May 10, 2024, at AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo.

PH-US cap Balikatan 2024, mark milestone in defense cooperation

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces successfully concluded Balikatan 2024 with a closing ceremony held here on Friday, May 10, 2024, marking the culmination of the most comprehensive iteration of the annual defense exercise yet.

The closing ceremony was attended by distinguished guests, with the Secretary of National Defense, Gilberto Teodoro Jr., as Guest of Honor and Speaker, along with the US Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency Marykay Loss Carlson, and AFP Chief of Staff, General Romeo Brawner Jr.
Balikatan Exercise 2024, which began on April 22, brought together over 16,000 service members from the Philippines, the United States, and partner nations, including Australia and France. The exercise encompassed a wide range of activities conducted across the country, demonstrating the commitment of participating nations to enhancing regional security and cooperation.

Participating forces engaged in various training scenarios throughout the exercise to enhance interoperability and readiness across critical areas such as external defense operations, cyber defense, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and inter-agency capacity-building.

This year’s Balikatan highlighted the combined capabilities of the AFP and the US Armed Forces in addressing complex security challenges through the Information Warfighter Exercise (IWX) that empowered military planners to set the standard for future local IO training programs. The first-ever Multilateral Maritime Exercise (MME) marked a historic milestone in regional cooperation, providing participating countries with invaluable knowledge to propel their naval forces.

In addition, demonstrating proficiency in maritime defense tactics and promoting peace, the Counter Landing Live Fire Exercise and Maritime Strike Exercise showcased the combined capabilities of the AFP and the US Armed Forces in addressing complex security challenges. The Humanitarian Civic Action Program also extended crucial assistance to over 23,000 Filipino citizens, contributing to nationwide projects and training events.

During the ceremony, General Brawner Jr. reaffirmed the strong bond between the two armed forces and their commitment to uphold peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

“I expressed our deepest gratitude for the continuing learning and collaboration. To every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine from all the participating countries, I hope you optimized your takeaways from this year’s Balikatan exercise and utilized this in a more informative and productive Balikatan exercise in the future,” said General Brawner Jr.


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