The United States Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) and the Philippines have launched a five-week joint training exercise aimed at enhancing the capabilities and readiness of Filipino special forces.

The bilateral exercise, initiated on June 12 within the joint operational area of the Western Command (WESCOM), is currently underway with the active participation of 36 personnel from the Philippine Army’s 18th Special Forces Company (18SFC), Special Forces Regiment (SFC Airborne), and various other units.

The training program is designed to foster cross-training opportunities, promote interoperability between the two forces, and equip Filipino troops with essential skills for external security operations.

According to WESCOM, the exercises are being conducted at various locations, including the headquarters of the 18SFC (Riverine) and the SFC Airborne in Rizal, located in southern Palawan. These diverse settings offer an ideal environment for the troops to engage in specialized training scenarios that closely replicate potential operational environments.

It explained that training in such realistic settings, the participants can effectively sharpen their skills and adapt to a wide range of challenges they may encounter in the field.

The WESCOM said it is centered around unconventional/guerrilla warfare, human rights/law of armed conflict, combat marksmanship, close quarter battle, mission planning, and jungle/survival training, this comprehensive program emphasizes the protection of Philippine sovereignty, territory, and the well-being of the Filipino people.

Combat marksmanship drills, WESCOM explained, are specifically designed to refine their precision shooting skills in a variety of scenarios. Moreover, the close quarter battle training provides a realistic simulation of encounters in confined spaces, underscoring the significance of quick decision-making and effective teamwork.

It added that the troops will also undergo small unit tactics training, an exercise aimed at testing their ability to operate cohesively as a unit and adapt swiftly to dynamic and evolving situations.

“The significance of this bilateral exercise cannot be overstated. It serves as a testament to the strong partnership between the Philippines and the United States in ensuring regional security and stability. By fostering cooperation and sharing best practices, both forces can enhance their operational effectiveness while strengthening bonds between personnel from different cultures and backgrounds,” said WESCOM.

The bilateral training exercise is set to conclude on July 14, 2023, marking the successful completion of another chapter in the partnership between the Philippines and the United States.

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