Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/01/07MANILA240.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA240 2007-01-19 09:39 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO2490
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0240/01 0190939
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190939Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4834
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000240

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, PM, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO AND J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MASS MOPS MCAP PREL RP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ARROYO FIRMLY BEHIND DEFENSE REFORM

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY. President Arroyo firmly supports defense
reform, and has added another $11 million to the program’s
Foreign Military Sales Account to buy new equipment for
battalion training. Armed Forces Chief of Staff General
Esperon is pushing hard for the rapid delivery of the
equipment, which he views as a priority. Although challenges
remain, Philippine Defense Reform has clearly become
institutionalized and is beginning to have a spillover effect
in other areas. The Philippine National Police has embarked
on its own transformation plan, and with U.S. help will soon
launch its “Model Police Station” program. This is a “good
news” story for the Philippines. END SUMMARY.

A MODEL EFFORT
————–

¶2. (SBU) President/Defense Secretary Arroyo expressed her
firm support for defense reform during a January 18 meeting
with Ambassador Kenney, the U.S. Executive Steering Committee
for Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) chaired by Defense
Security Cooperation Agency Principal Director for Security
Cooperation Ed Ross, and senior Philippine defense officials.
(President Arroyo assumed the portfolio of Secretary of
National Defense in November 2006 after the resignation of
then-Secretary Cruz.) Thanking the Ambassador for U.S.
support, President Arroyo said reform efforts were beginning
to bear fruit. She noted that she had just added $11 million
dollars to the program’s Foreign Military Sales account to
buy new equipment for battalion retraining. The Ambassador
observed that PDR had become a model for the region, with
countries such as Mongolia and Cambodia beginning to embark
on their own military reform programs with U.S. assistance.
The United States was pleased to be part of such an important
effort, which was already having a spillover effect on the
Philippine National Police, which, with U.S. help, would soon
launch its “Model Police Station” program.

¶3. (SBU) President Arroyo drew comparisons between the armed
forces modernization program launched in the mid-1990’s when
she was still a senator and the existing reform effort. The
former program was focused almost exclusively on external
threats, while the latter was aimed at improving the
Philippine military’s capability to conduct internal security
operations. She said she had accelerated funding to speed up
procurement so that newly retrained soldiers would have the
equipment they needed.

PUSH FOR TRAINING EQUIPMENT
—————————

¶4. (SBU) In a separate session with the U.S. Executive
Steering Committee, Armed Forces Chief of Staff General
Esperon emphasized the need to have at least three battalion
“training sets” of equipment, so that Army and Marine
battalions going through training could familiarize
themselves with and train to the new equipment they would
eventually obtain. “We need to fast track equipment for
these battalions if we want to call them battalions of
excellence — training sets are a priority,” he said. U.S.
Department of Defense Principal Director for Asian and
Pacific Affairs Brigadier General John Toolan agreed that new
equipment meant a lot to the troops.

¶5. (SBU) Director Ross noted that PDR represented a “good
news story,” but challenges remained. It was important for
both sides to identify potential obstacles and develop
work-arounds to avoid delays in the acquisition of equipment,
he stressed. Philippine Undersecretary for Defense
Operations Santos concurred, stressing that defense reform
was contributing to the economic and social development of
the country.

“QUICK WINS”
————

¶6. (SBU) A number of “quick win” projects have already begun
to translate reform into practical and tangible results for
the troops.

— President Arroyo opened a U.S.-equipped Combat Trauma
Center on Jolo on her January 8 visit to Jolo. The center
will provide immediate care to troops wounded in the ongoing
operation to eliminate the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah

MANILA 00000240 002 OF 002

leadership on the island;

— The Defense Security Cooperation Agency quickly turned
around within 24-hours a request for a U.S. Mobile Training
Team to conduct train-the-trainers squad leader training.
The team developed a Squad Leader’s Handbook, which has now
been distributed to Philippine Army and Marine units;

— General Esperon is establishing a Sergeant Major’s Academy
and has made sergeant majors responsible for training
non-commissioned officers. Training for drill instructors
will be standardized; and,

— In early 2007, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will
introduce a Purchase Authorization Card, which will nearly
eliminate cash purchases for goods. This measure creates an
auditable procurement trail that addresses the core complaint
of corruption.

COMMENT
——-

¶7. (SBU) President Arroyo is clearly committed to defense
reform, and wants to accelerate its pace. The program, which
is entering its fourth year, has become institutionalized.
The Philippines is now contributing far more in dollar terms
than we are. One impressive briefing during the Executive
Committee meeting laid out a comprehensive series of metrics
for measuring success — developed exclusively by Department
of National Defense staff. Key to the ultimate success of
the program is translating reforms down to the individual
soldier. General Esperon’s emphasis on equipment highlights
this concern, and we will need to work closely with our
Philippine counterparts to expedite as much as possible
equipment delivery.

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

   

 

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