Exercise Balikatan

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Exercise Balikatan
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Cyber communicators hold information exchange at Balikatan 2013

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CAMP EMILIO AGUINALDO, Philippines – Both Philippine and U.S. cyber communicators engaged in a key role during a six-day defensive cyberspace operations (DCO) subject matter expert exchange April 5-12 at the training center of Headquarters Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Services (CEIS) at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo for annual bilateral exercise Balikatan 2013.

Together, they completed academics and conducted open-dialog and training focused on defensive cyberspace operations to include technical concepts, implementation fundamentals and a policy review.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with our (Armed Forces of the Philippines) counter parts during BK13 in sharing and exchanging defensive cyberspace operations concepts and training,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Luchs, the deputy director of Communications U.S. Pacific Air Force. “Given the importance of cyber operations today, we think this subject matter expert engagement is incredibly important for both AFP and U.S. forces. Hopefully this will set the stage for additional cyber exchanges and make this a continuing event for future BKs.”

While the goal of the information exchange was to continue to expand cyber engagement between the AFP and U.S., participants also agreed training was a great opportunity to improve relationships.

“As partners, the AFP and U.S. combined forces will continue to enhance our interoperability capabilities,” said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Carlton Adams, communications planner for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. “This engagement is the natural progression as the advances in technology makes it more relevant to defense our networks.”

According to AFP Maj. Rommel B. Juntilla, Joint Exercise Support Group-6, the training was a stepping stone for CEIS and greatly benefited both forces.

“The AFP was very honored to work with the IT experts from the U.S. armed forces. The focus of this activity is to have an information exchange and simulations on network defense and hardening of its infrastructures and facilities,” said Juntilla. “This will be the start of exchanges between two allied countries in terms of cyber defense and collaboration. I'm looking forward to include cyber exercise in the future of Balikatan as an additional domain.”

More than 8,000 Philippine and U.S. personnel participated in BK13, which focused on improving interoperability, strengthening military-to-military relations and humanitarian assistance operations. The exercise concluded April 17.

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