U.S., Philippines hold exchange on maritime threats, challenges

On 25 July, the United States government, through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), concluded a weeklong exchange of analytical techniques and best practices with the Philippine government’s National Coast Watch Center (NCWC), to help counter maritime threats and enhance the Philippines’ maritime domain awareness.

The exchange included three days of analytical discussions, followed by a two-day tabletop exercise that enabled DTRA’s experts to further expand their knowledge of specific regional maritime security challenges through interactions with personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and NCWC in Manila.  It also aimed to assist the NCWC in acquiring relevant knowledge and skills to support joint maritime domain activities and counter threat network operations.

DTRA representatives from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Special Operations Command noted the significant contribution of this exchange to strengthening the collaborative ties between U.S. and Philippine military and coast guard personnel. “This exchange equipped NCWC analysts with the necessary tools to independently conduct Counter Threat Network analytical activities that strengthen the Philippines’ efforts to protect its territorial waters and maritime rights,” said DTRA Partner Engagement Coordinator Dawood Luqman.

PCG personnel participate in DTRA and the US government’s weeklong exchange on maritime threat analysis held from July 18 to 25. Photo courtesy of CACI.

A longtime partner of the Philippine government, DTRA played an important supporting role in establishing the NCWC and the National Coast Watch System.  DTRA was responsible for constructing the NCWC facility in Manila, Regional Coordination Centers in Cebu and Palawan, and many other manned and unmanned sites around the archipelago.  DTRA also works closely with the PCG to ensure that the NCWS can meet current and future maritime security challenges.

Since 2012, DTRA has provided more than $64 million (P3.5 billion) to the NCWS for the acquisition of advanced equipment and the training of personnel, enabling it to become the premier maritime security entity in the Philippines.

DTRA enables the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. government, and international partners to counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats.

The NCWS was established in September 2011 based on Executive Order No. 57 series of 2011, which mandated a central interagency mechanism for a coordinated and coherent approach to maritime issues and maritime security operations aimed at enhancing governance of the country’s maritime domain.

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