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    Australian Observation Team Considers Balikatan Participation

    BK 13 - Australian Observation Team considers Balikatan participation

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey | An observation group of Australian Army officers tour the Looc Elementary School...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Exercise Balikatan

    Story by Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Brandon Suhr
    Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force Public Affairs

    PHILIPPINES - An observation team from the Australian Defense Force visited the Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force (JCMOTF) and Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force (CJCMOTF) April 6 during exercise Balikatan.

    “The Australian Defense Force sent a small observer team to exercise Balikatan to look for future opportunities of involvement,” said Australian Army Lt. Col. Michael Scott, the head engineer planner of Headquarters Company, 6th Brigade. “We’re looking for opportunities to potentially integrate into future exercises.”

    The team received an exercise overview briefing at the JCMOTF headquarters by the JCMOTF Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr Joe Harder who also answered more specific questions from the group.

    “They are visiting exercise Balikatan 2013 to look for opportunities to participate with partner nations in the years to come,” said Harder. “The U.S. is supporting the Australian visit by giving them an overview of how the execution is being conducted and to help identify gaps and capabilities that can expand the effectiveness of the mission vice just coming and doing the same thing which would just add more redundancy to the mission.”

    According to Scott, Balikatan is a great exercise to observe due to the longstanding relationship between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military.

    Philippine Army Capt. Felipe Estrada agrees. “Exercise Balikatan is a combined exercise conducted yearly between the U.S. and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Estrada, the officer in charge of construction at the Looc Elementary School project site. “We have learned many techniques and tactics during the exercise already, so when other countries like Australia want to be combined with the training then we would learn even more practices to deliver within the community.”

    Balikatan helps maintain a high level of interoperability and enhances military-to-military relations and combined combat capabilities.

    “We were able to see a lot of the projects that are out there and it’s given us some good exposure to what’s actually being done between the Philippine and American services during Balikatan this year,” said Scott. “Balikatan is a good opportunity and we’re looking forward to observing the rest of the exercise and seeing if there are any opportunities for Australian involvement in the future.”

    Balikatan is an annual Philippine-U.S. bilateral exercise. Humanitarian assistance and training activities enable the Philippine and American service members to build lasting relationships, train together and provide assistance in communities where the need is the greatest.



    Date Taken: 04.06.2013
    Date Posted: 04.10.2013 05:56
    Story ID: 104911
    Location: PH

    Web Views: 395
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