Pentagon official sees 'liftoff' of US-PH alliance

Posted at 09/27/2012 11:53 AM | Updated as of 09/27/2012 12:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A senior Pentagon official has revealed a three-part approach adopted by the US Department of Defense to further military-to-military relations between the US and the Philippines.

In a report posted in the US Department of Defense website, Mark W. Lippert, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said the US-Philippines alliance plays a prominent role in the security landscape of the Asia-Pacific region.

“I would say this is one of the most important alliances we have. It’s a critically important part of our security discussions in Asia. The mil-to-mil relations have been on an upswing over the past decade," he said at a conference hosted by the US Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lippert said he believes working-level contacts between the 2 countries have developed and matured, putting the United States in a strong position to work collaboratively with Manila on security-related issues.

He explained a three-part approach to illustrate what the Defense Department is doing to help further the alliance.

The first point, he explained, involves pre-positioning of humanitarian and disaster relief supplies and enhancing communication infrastructure "so the two militaries can talk more effectively to each other."

Another effort, he said, is developing a maritime awareness, with the most tangible result being a coastal watch center that was announced at a meeting of the two nations’ defense and diplomatic leaders earlier this year.

“The second line of operation is our mil-to-mil engagement,” Lippert said. “Again, that’s been going on for quite some time. It’s really reached new levels."

He said exercises are another important aspect of broadening and deepening the military-to-military relationship. "I think we’re really poised for a liftoff here," he said.

"I think, in part, it’s a tribute to all the good work that has been done in the past decade or so."