US looks for expanded role in Philippines

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US looks for expanded role in Philippines

Fairly interesting story which rebuts our smaller worldwide footprint for military actions...

MANILA — The United States is negotiating an agreement to allow it to position military equipment and rotating personnel in the Philippines while avoiding the controversial issue of re-establishing American bases in the country, according to officials from both countries.

The negotiations for increased military access by the United States take place against the backdrop of simmering tensions between the Philippines and China over areas in the South China Sea claimed by both countries.       

The Philippines, which has a small navy and air force, is relying on support from the United States to modernize its military and upgrade its capabilities. Part of this military relationship has involved regular short-term visits by American military forces for joint training, humanitarian work and disaster response.

So, what do we have going on there?

One model of the use of rotational forces in the Philippines is the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, a contingent of about 500 members of the United States military who come from various branches of service.       

The task force, which focuses on counterterrorism, has been based within a Philippine military base in the southern Philippines since 2002. Though the facility is officially considered temporary, it has many of the trappings of a traditional United States military base, including barracks, dining facilities and a command center.

Hope to get a embed there at some point.  As Wiki makes clear, there are plenty of bad guys there:

Terrorism in the Philippines[1] are conflicts based on political issues conducted by rebel organizations against the Philippine government, its citizens and supporters. Most terrorism in the country are conducted by Islamic terrorist groups. The most active terrorist groups in the Philippines are the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf,[2] Rajah Sulaiman Movement[3] and Jemaah Islamiyah. Alongside Islamic terrorist groups, the Philippines are terrorized by communist organizations, most notably the New People's Army.

It's pretty ideally situated as a kicking off point for any operations in the area as well, but there's a reason we aren't there in larger numbers:

The United States maintained large military bases in the Philippines for nearly a century as it countered threats from Japan before World War II and concerns about the spread of Communism during the cold war. In 1992, the last American base in the country was closed after divisive street protests and a decision by the country’s Senate to discontinue the American military presence in the country. The presence of United States military forces in the Philippines remains controversial to this day.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.