12 December 2011

Philippine Military Refocusing Away from COIN?

After spending years tamping down a variety of insurgencies, the Philippine military is likely to start refocusing off-shore, particularly on the Spratly Islands, which China somehow seems to think are theirs, despite about 7 other countries having better claims to them.

A battle-scarred general took leadership of the underfunded Philippine military Monday, vowing to bolster his country's external defense so it could adequately respond to "untoward incidents" amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The 125,000-member Philippine military, one of Asia's weakest, has been struggling to modernize its dilapidated air force and navy and train its forces due to a lack of funds. President Benigno Aquino III recently said he would seek modern fighter jets from longtime ally Washington when he visits next year.
Army Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa, who took over the military leadership in austere ceremonies led by Aquino on Monday, said recent developments in the South China Sea — obviously referring to renewed territorial spats in the potentially oil-rich region — have made upgrading external defenses inevitable for the Philippines.
"It compels us to look into our maritime security deeply," Dellosa said in his speech. "Development of navy and air force bases and facilities to efficiently respond to untoward incidents is something we can no longer ignore."
Dellosa formerly was an army combat officer and was wounded twice while battling Muslim guerrillas and al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines. He also led an elite unit that helped Aquino's mother, the late pro-democracy Philippine leader Corazon Aquino, subdue coup attempts.

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By: Brant

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