Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/07/06MANILA3068.html#’

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3068 2006-07-24 00:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #3068/01 2050032
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240032Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2121
INFO RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 003068

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STATE FOR EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP FOR TULLAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2016
TAGS: MARR MCAP MOPS PREL PINS RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE DEFENSE REFORM HELPING TO COUNTER RESTIVENESS IN AFP

Classified By: (U) Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) has
produced concrete results and is becoming institutionalized
within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). PDR is
also helping counteract restiveness among some mid- and
junior officers, which contributed to the coup attempt of
February 24. Defense Secretary Cruz is promoting the
“Battalions of Excellence” concept as a means of
demonstrating the benefits of defense reform to the rank and
file. A new National Defense Act under consideration by the
House and Senate will codify many of the institutional
reforms now underway. The AFP’s intent to “empower”
non-commissioned officers and use them as the key training
cadre in the Battalions of Excellence program represents a
fundamental change in AFP thinking, and may indicate that PDR
has passed a critical milestone in its development. END
SUMMARY.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND “QUICK WINS”
—————————–

¶2. (SBU) During the July 18 US-RP Philippine Defense Reform
(PDR) Executive Steering Committee talks, the Philippine
side, which Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz chaired and which
included senior officials of the Department of National
Defense, the AFP’s J staff, and deputy commanders of the
major services, spoke confidently of PDR’s achievements and
of its program of “quick wins” planned for roll-out in 2006
and 2007.

Among the PDR achievements they cited are:

— Streamlining the Defense Acquisition System;
— Legalizing government-to-government procurement through
Foreign Military Sales;
— Changing doctrine formally to recognize the Secretary of
National Defense in the direct chain of command from the
President to the Chief of Staff;
— Establishing a 10-year plan for intelligence reform;
— Linking the Mobility Maintenance Program to PDR;
— Establishing a PDR board and oversight mechanism;
— Linking the Capability Upgrade Program to PDR;
— Establishing a multi-year Defense Planning, Programming,
and Budgeting Process;
— Creating the first-ever mission based budget, which DND
forwarded to Congress in October 2005; and,
— Establishing Defense Planning Guidance.

Some of the proposed “quick wins” include:

— Rightsizing the civilian employee work force;
— Making intelligence a primary AFP occupational specialty;
— Fusing technical intelligence with human intelligence;
— Making non-commissioned officers the primary trainers
within battalions;
— Developing long range reconnaissance and surveillance
units;
— Upgrading combat life saving skills and forward field
medical care;
— Improving the quality of drill instructors and
standardizing recruit training;
— Developing a Philippine Warrior Leader Course;
— Establishing a Joint Sergeant Major Course;
— Setting up a purchase authorization card and eliminating
as much as possible cash purchases;
— Recalling personnel from service outside the AFP;
— Improving the grievance system; and,
— Improving base housing and evicting overstays.

¶3. (SBU) Another important part of the planned “quick wins”
is the Battalions of Excellence program, which will integrate
logistics, personnel, and doctrinal reforms with existing
Philippine Army and Marine retraining programs. The goal of
this “performing/transforming/reforming” effort is to link
reforms to current operations in a way that will demonstrate
to common soldiers and junior officers the practical benefits
of PDR. Secretary Cruz told DCM and US Executive Committee
members that he hoped the “quick win” effort would help
“calm” soldiers and junior officers and convince them that
PDR would address their needs. He commented that mid-level
officers were beginning to see how they could contribute to
and use the PDR process to bring about real change, noting
that at a recent open forum at SOUTHCOM, officers exhibited

detailed knowledge of, and asked pointed questions about,
PDR,s key program areas.

“QUICK WINS” COME AT CRITICAL JUNCTURE
————————————–

¶4. (C) The “quick win” program comes at a critical time.
Corrupted by martial law and riven by a series of coup
attempts during the Aquino Administration, the Philippine
military continues to grapple with the ambiguous legacy of
“People Power” and the 1987 Constitution, which enshrined the
AFP as the “protector of the people.” According to some
critics, this clause created a messianic complex that
repeatedly has encouraged some officers, many of them
Philippine Military Academy graduates, to believe that they
were the &saviors of the nation8 who are empowered to
overthrow their civilian political masters for the “good of
the country.” The decades-long struggle against the
Communist insurgency, Muslim separatist movements, and
assorted terrorist groups has ground down the military,
which, after the sharp reduction of US assistance following
the 1992 base closures, has labored under the burden of
outmoded doctrine, crumbling infrastructure, and decaying
equipment. Some Army battalions have gone as long as 12
years without any formal training.

¶5. (C) As demonstrated by the coup attempt of February 24
(leading to the imposition of a “State of National Emergency”
for one week), destabilizing elements continue to be eager to
exploit these grievances. The question of overstays by
senior officers in military housing, for example, was one of
the key complaints of the July 2003 Oakwood mutineers, many
of whom again figured in the July 2006 plot to stage an
attack on President Arroyo’s State of the Nation address.

¶6. (C) The apparently serious investigation into the
February 24 episode by the AFP and the recommendations for
courts martial from the investigators, which General Generoso
Senga blessed before stepping down as AFP Chief of Staff,
should also demonstrate that the DND and AFP will no longer
treat coup plotters lightly, and are willing to seek
punishment even for senior officers, such as Brigadier
General “Danny” Lim, then-commander of the elite Scout
Rangers. The strong signal is that this is a new, more
professional and less politicized AFP.

A SERIOUS FINANCIAL COMMITMENT
——————————

¶7. (SBU) Cruz has succeeded in marshaling significant
resources behind the reform effort. The GRP is now
contributing the vast majority of resources to PDR. In
addition to 1 billion pesos ($19 million) in funding in 2004,
the DND and AFP will receive an additional 1.426 billion
pesos ($27 million) in 2007, with a further commitment by
President Arroyo to provide 2 billion pesos ($38 million) a
year from 2008-2010. President Arroyo has already released 5
billion pesos ($98 million) for capability upgrades in 2006
and has additionally agreed to allocate 5 billion pesos ($98
million) a year for 2007-2011 to fund equipment upgrades and
to support the Battalions of Excellence program. A further
1.3 billion pesos ($24.7 million) will fund improvements to
AFP housing, while 750 million pesos ($14 million) is slated
for upgrades to AFP logistics systems. Using its own
national funds, the GRP also appears ready in 2008 to finance
and take ownership of the successful Mobility Maintenance
Program, which is urrently funded through Foreign Military
Financig.

NEW DEFENSE LEGISLATION TO CEMENT REFORMS————————————– —

¶8. (BU) Secretary Cruz has drafted and introduced
coprehensive new defense legislation — the first majr
revision since the 1935 National Defense of Ac — to further
cement the planned reforms. The ew law would also provide
fixed three-year termsfor AFP Chiefs of Staff, ending the
current merr-go-round of short appointments just before
retirment. Incorporatig input from junior and mid-level
officers as well as enlisted personnel, the bill also
addresses complaints about grievance procedures, promotions,
morale, and benefits. Cruz has already personally engaged
Senators and members of Congress to build support for the
legislation, and intends to mobilize former National Defense
Secretaries and regional commanders to lobby in favor of the

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bill. He estimates that it will take about a year to get
this landmark legislation passed.

COMMENT
——-

¶9. (C) Cruz says he believes PDR,s major programs now have
“wind under their wings.” We agree. The AFP project
managers are almost all young captains and majors, and we
observed a fervor and commitment from them that indicates PDR
has begun to be institutionalized. The presence of the
Philippine National Police, which is starting to undertake
its own reform effort, at the July 18 talks indicates that
the effects of PDR may be beginning to spill over into other
branches of government. We also note the AFP emphasized in
briefing its Battalions of Excellence concept that the
program would be built around “empowering” non-commissioned
officers and using them as the key training cadre. This
represents a fundamental change in AFP thinking, and, more
than anything else, may indicate that PDR has reached a
critical, positive milestone in its development. The fact
that PDR is addressing the key issues of junior officers and
enlisted personnel, which have had caused unrest and
increased their susceptibility to politicization, is critical
— and may help keep the AFP in the barracks.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
Kenney

   

 

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