Sunday, June 18, 2017

U.S. Special Operations Troops Advising Philippines Forces on Insurgents

U.S. Special Operations Troops Advising Philippines Forces on Insurgents

thecipherbrief.com · June 16, 2017
June 16, 2017 | COL David Maxwell


While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains at odds with the United States, the armed forces of the two countries have maintained a close working relationship that dates to 1951 and the signing of a mutual defense treaty. In recent years the primary mission of U.S. forces in the Philippines has been Foreign Internal Defense operations against the country’s many insurgent groups. As Philippine government forces continue to fight Islamist militants in the city of Marawi, U.S. Special Forces have served as advisors and U.S. aircraft have provided intelligence and reconnaissance in support of Philippine airstrikes and operations. The Cipher Brief reached out to Col. (ret.) David Maxwell, former commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Forces Philippines, about the mission of United States Special Operations Forces in the Philippines and its involvement in the ongoing battle for Marawi.
The Cipher Brief: U.S. special operations troops have been deployed in the Philippines for many years. Historically, what has been their mission?
David Maxwell: The traditional mission has been Foreign Internal Defense (FID) which consists of activities by joint U.S. military forces and civilian government agencies to advise and assist friends, partners, and allies in internal defense and development programs so that they can defend themselves against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism. U.S. special operations forces, to include Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, SEALS, Marine Raiders, and Air Commandos as well as Special Forces (which has been the dominant force) have provided training, advice, and assistance for decades to assist the United States’ longest-standing treaty ally against a very complex combination of threats. They have helped the Armed Forces of the Philippines to develop a range of special operations skills from tactical counterterrorism operations, intelligence operations and civil military operations, to advanced aviation techniques to include night vision flying.
One of the unique aspects of the relationship is the U.S. special operations forces have always respected Philippines sovereignty and supported security forces through advice and assistance, while never conducting U.S. unilateral operations. The Philippines always remained in command, control, and in the lead on all operations.
TCB: What are some of the unique challenges to training against and combating the militant groups in the Philippines compared to other groups worldwide?
(Continued at the link below)

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