The Pentagon’s Return to the Philippines

Remember a few months back when news emerged that the United States wants to have increased access to Philippine ports and airfrields to use as potetnial dispersal bases in any conflict in the Western Pacific? At the time, it seemed that Defense Department officials merely wanted occasional — if frequent — access to these installations, not permanent bases. Well, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta just dropped a hint that the Pentagon may well be planning on basing U.S. troops in the Philippines for the first time since America shuttered its massive bases in the ex-U.S. colony 20 years ago.

Check out these lasts paragraphs of a Defense News article on Panetta’s current trip to Asia where he’s trying to “define the new defense strategy for the region, particularly the emphasis on the rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.”

DoD also wants to strengthen its presence in the region, particularly though rotational deployments, which would be similar to the arrangement the Pentagon has with Australia to deploy Marines there.

The Pentagon “working on” an arrangement like this in the Philippines and “elsewhere,” Panetta said without naming additional countries.

That’s right, the U.S. is considering some sort of basing arrangement in the Philippenes, a country that wants Amercia’s help in fending off the threat of Chinese domination of the Philippines’ resource-rich corner of the South China Sea (Google the Spratly Islands). All the term “rotational” means is that different units will swap in and out of facilities in the Philippines and elsewhere; basically, there’s going to be a long term American military presence in these places. This could simply be a rotation of U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance planes to the islands — something that Pentagon planners have already referred to — or it could be something bigger, adding to the 330,000 American troops that are already based in the Pacific. Time will tell.

Click here to read more about the Pentagon’s plans for the Pacific and the Philippines.

Ps. American SOF troops have been quetly operating in the southern Philippenes for a decade, helping the local military combat an Islamic insurgency, but you already knew that.


  • Anonymous

    Cool. Who’s going to pay for it?

    • JE McKellar

      Just raise taxes on the oil companies, it’s their future production the deployment is securing.

      That’s how the two Gulf wars and the Falklands war got paid for, right?

    • JoeBlow

      Didn’t the Phlips throw us out twenty years ago — asserting their sovereignty, standing up to the former colonial power etc?

      Now we are to go there to protect ‘their’ freedom?

      • Jay

        US get into trouble because of people like you. If you only open your eyes just at least like the way you open your mouth. You should at least look on Goldman Sachs and HSBC projections. You call it “throwing” you out, we call it ” standing on our own feet”.

      • laker

        They had no reason to like the imperialist Americans, who were no different than the Japanese in trying to colonize the country. Things haven’t changed much. They know that Americans still want to colonize it like Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific Island countries, and they resist the presence of American military on their soil.

        That’s why US government has been trying to instigate conflicts between China and the Philippines or other SE Asian countries, and use that as a leverage to put US Navy back.

    • Edward

      Obama……he got tons of money

    • GenMcArthur

      that’s not for you to worry about bro..

    • no one

      You are going to pay for it obviously!

  • Andy

    Why…? They vote us out…and now we’ll give them FREE SHIP and FREE F16 ????
    My tax money for this ??

    • Andy

      You’re paying for freedom……….

      Our National debt. are 100% as our GDP…….LOL

    • Santi Kampilan

      Well, they are not free. Those Arizona boneyard F-16’s need to be upgraded and refurbished. It will be a cool 1 billion dollars to the US which Philippines is willing to pay. they have 80 B in its coffers so they are capable.

      • Santi Kampilan

        The 46-year old USCG ex-Hamilton given to the Philippines cost them 11 million dollars for training and refurbishment. It wasn’t just given for free. It was going to the scrap metal broker anyways.

      • Andy

        we even icrease our AID TO 30 MILLIONS A YEAR, stop lying.

  • British guarantees to Poland led to a world war. Not repeat the same mistakes. China has its sphere of influence.

  • John Moore

    I was wondering when this would come out, with the little stand off between CH and PH it was only a matter of time before they welcomed in the USA.

  • Lance

    Too bad that deal for F-16s feel threw. Hope we get a good base there again. As well as fee hot women there.. LOL.

    • tiger

      Why did my comment get deleted?

    • tiger

      I was trying to say. THat is not all a good thing….. Last week I saw a rather sad PBS program on Amerasian kids in the PI. Unlike Korean or Vietamese kids left by GI’s; The USA does not recognize them. Thousands have been left to be raised abandoned by their fathers. The PI does not need more of that again.

    • tee

      They are going with Non-US fighters, I’ll bet they are looking into the Saab Gripen like Thailand, and Saab does “Lease Deals” like Hungry where you get modern fighters without the Major Upfront costs.

  • blight_

    I’m curious to see what form it takes. Many of our old American bases were already repurposed into airports, seaports and the like.

    I guess we’ll have to build new facilities, pay the bill and then turn the keys over when we’re done with them.

  • Josh

    I dont understand why we buildup troops incase of chinese aggression and also are aware of a possible war with china in how many years it could happen (just saying could) yet we Still are dumb enough to be supplied by faulty parts and all of that jumbo.

  • Raraavis

    I am fine with this if we close 10 other bases elsewhere to pay for it. We need to go back to zero, pick the bases that have the 10 or 20 bases that have the most strategic importance and close the rest. Imagine what 10,000 troops being brought home and those soldiers and their families being based in a city would do for that cities economy.

    • tiger

      To do what? March & Drill all day? Shine boots? No, those 10,000 would be dropped. That why all the services are cutting forces & units. We don’t have manpower just to look at. The job is out there, not here.

    • Santi Kampilan

      We need to protect America’s interest in that region from the advancing Chinese Communists. The top four banks we have just relocated all their back office operation in Manila. Citibank, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo. I would want to see my statements with charges coming from the Great Wall!

  • Dan

    The PI was a protectorate, not a “colony”. If they allow the US some basing rights what will they really want in return? SOF units already teach the PI Army how to fight their home grown guerillas. Been doing that since the the early 1900s. They’re really good at staging attempted coups, so we might as well fight the Abu Saif and others for them too, for basing rights.

    • tiger

      Colony is a very apt term for the history of the PI & US.

    • oscar

      We were a colony. Spain sold the Philippine Islands to the US. I take offense at your comment. We had been fighting these people before US SOF showed up. I shed some of my blood in the fighting. The biggest problem is that my government is fighting this war in a half-assed way. I say pound the hell out of these insurgents before Peace Talks. There are no talk of Basing Rights as of the moment. This is a very touchy subject. If there will ever be, it will be on remote islands. So far, the Visiting Forces Agreement is sufficient.

  • Pat

    Waiste of money, what we have now works just fine.

  • stephen russell

    One Filipino buddy told me his country hated Americans & due to American abuse forced then Subic Bay Naval base closed, that was in 2003 I think.

  • Chosunking

    I would appreciate it if you would break down that 330,000 figure of American Troops in the Pacific. I did my own research and am perplexed as to where or how you came to that number?

  • Anlushac11

    The Filipino’s wanted us out so the US turned over the bases and left the country and now when there is a problem they want us back? Screw Them.

    Sell them weapons but I would not put US troops in harms way for them.

  • zapfatte

    I don’t mind US having a bases here again as long as they won’t do what they did bad in the past. Thats the main reason why the PI wanted to pull out their bases then here.

    • elportonative77

      Could you make a list of are mistakes so that I could forward them to my congressman and Secretary Panetta.

      • elportonative77


  • Anon

    You know nothing at all do you? What a bunch of unprofessional cowboys.

  • Anon

    China will mostly likely wait till the USA is at its weakest before they hit them. They let America exhaust itself and spread itself thin; on top of that some of our chips used in our important military hardware are manufactured over there. Wouldn’t that be sobering to see American forces try to duke it out with China only to have China pull the plug on our equipment and we’re sitting in front of them fumbling around? One more reason to manufacture our stuff here again.

  • Carroll

    My wife is from the Philippines, and for the most part, they don’t hate Americans. They hated the influence that a bunch of young, immature G.I.’s had on their local society around the bases though. That’s where you find all of the prostitution, drugs, etc. Most Filipinos think that Americans are rich, and, comparatively speaking, we are. A lot of them want to come to America, and, sadly, are willing to go to great lengths to get here. Their government is one of the most corrupt in the world, and their standard of living is terrible. Some people live in huts so dilapidated that we wouldn’t use it as a chicken coop here.

  • Jay

    US military presence in Asia Pacific is also an Advantage for
    US itself

  • john

    After Taiwan, P.I. is next in Chinese crosshairs. I think the US can’t afford to lose P.I. given its strategic location

    • cs4

      You people keep saying China wanted to invade Taiwan. Now why would China want to invade a piece of land that is part of it all along? Invading P. I. ? for oil? China has one ginormous piece of real estate yet to be explored for oil. Oil can be bought from Russia and if the price is right, a pipeline to Iran via Pakistan. Still I feel these options are much cheaper than to conquer the P.I. And also China is not a predatory country, the US is.

    • Wakjob

      It is not taiwan or phillipines they want but the US mainland itself.

  • MrBean

    given China’s attitude towards South China sea. Just walk up and state ” This is mine is not how a state should be acting specially for a state that is hungry for some respect and prestige. You say it is not in the US interest to stand up to bullies like that? Then who would. ? . The only states in the region that has entered into a mutual defense pact with China is “zero”. Despite the propensity of the US to foment regime Change it has remain a very “convenient ” friend when times are bad. Look at Japan , south Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, vietnam and even far off Australia . Even Singapore whose population is 80 percent ethnic Chines is wary of China. The US navy because of its dominating power has guaranteed the freedom of navigation throughout the world so far. For the US Navy to walk off the the potential fight is conduct unbecoming a greatest Navy the world has seen.

  • Andy Anderson EN/FN

    Islamic insurgency… are they still calling themselves The NPA? (New Peoples Army)

    Subic Bay Harbor Security (PBR 80) 1976-1979

  • FredFraud

    I just love it; we (US) need to have our bases back in the “PI”. It was good timing when we pulled out in the late 80’s; that showed them. We are needed their now and it’ll help us in the long run. I Love This Move!

  • Planodude

    As previous comments have prudently pointed out, the Chinese evidently now consider the South China Sea… the entire South China Sea, there’s for the taking; to do what ever they want… fish, extract oil and literally everything else. It matters not that some of the South China Sea, over which they are now threatening the Philippine and Viet Nam navies, are almost a 1,000 miles from any China coastline. No country nearby China should feel comfortable, given China’s growing military capability and newly emerging imperialism. This suddenly becomes a “nice time” to cement relationships with Uncle Sam’s military presence. China’s neighbors aren’t stupid!

    • Bob

      I cant figure it out, America on the defense against their own technology that we are giving China, The American people buying the Chinese junk while they are building their military to kill them, People selling off scrap metel so that Chine can build the lergest nuclear arsanal in history. I simply dont get it. I have sold my business in industrial machinery and the older equipment I have left over of aprox a million pounds of all types of metal will be sold only for American use or it stays right here. We can thank all the liberals in the white house for the CHINA thing for they have been the ones that think that the chinese peace can be bought for so long that the CVhinese are now buying us. THANKS SLICK WILLY, for you are the one that gave them our missile technology with a promise to not use it as an offensive weapon, yea, thanks for they announced that the first satelite they sent up was a spy satelite, and thanks Willy for they announced that the third satelite could knock out any satelite in orbit.

    • Wakjob

      Well everyone wants to keep buying Cheap Chinese products, which is what has funded and caused this threat. If you want peace boycott ALL chinese products now. It is probably already too late as china now has a massive foreign reserve surplus and can fund a megawar on its own while the US is broke.

  • Bob

    I have talked to many filipinos since they ran the USA out of the philipines and every one of them are confirming that this was a drastic mistake that the economy there was down to near nothing. I have 2 friends that one already lives there and he said he lived like a king on an e-8 retirement, the other is building a home that would cost over a million there for $20.000, this home has everything available there, it has 5 bedrooms, 4 baths and a half, a huge fenced garden in back and maid service for $15 a week, and he said that he paid the maid more than what others made.

  • Top Bomb

    They couldn’t wait to get rid of us and take over the bases that the US spent billions developing, especially one of the few ports in the Far East capable of handling carriers and deep water hulls.


    Now, as they are feeling the heat from an increasingly provocative and growing China, they want us back. This time, we need to make them pay for these facilities and our presence rather than the US Taxpayer.

    • GenMcArthur

      don’t complain just pay your taxes.. besides your not the one making that decisions. you don’t know nothing about the US-RP policies and the reason why a sudden pull-out was made, its not due to demonstrations, it’s because of the volcanic eruption duh!

      if you want the the chinese chimps economy overtake US economy, yuan over the US dollar then sit your ass down do nothing and let Chinese influence take over the region then expect a red flag flying over american soil one time soon. Right now war is not about bullets or tanks or air superiority, influence and economy supersedes all you thought. Don’t be like a kid that thinks like… US taxes shall be used for nothing, or ahh! US government is wasting this or wasting that.. think outside the box and not just inside that nut shell.

  • Clarence Pearson

    I was assigned to the Phillipines at Clark AB in the 60’s and loved it .A beautiful country and we had good relations with the local Filipinos.It is in our intrest to have bases there again.Mabuhay!


    America earned Asian respects when they left the Philippines.Back then ,most of Asian countries think that the US forces in the PI was an occupational force that cannot be booted out by a sovereign country and by doing so(leaving) it showed its true character traits that is admired and respected highly by most Asian countries even now.Not like China, aggressive actions on claiming SCS ownership with massive navy and using it as a tools to resolves disputes….Kudos to Obama, eventhough everything else are failing, but this one is good for AMERICA……

  • orly?

    BTW, that’s my former ship, USS ESSEX LHD-2 when she was actually functioning properly (I guess).

  • JDNorton

    Some of you all need to stop thinking emotionally and use the brain God gave you. Do what’s best for national security. In the end the only thing that matters is protecting our interests. I for one can’t imagine Chinese bases in the Philippines. That’s way to close to home.

    • Wakjob

      There are Chinese bases in Mexico and Chinese troops are amassing there as we speak. They are planning to invade the US mainland and soon. Meanwhile we’ve been exhausting our military overseas and closing our bases at home for the last 20 years. The west coast of America is virtually undefended. How do you think this is going to turn out?

  • GenMcArthur

    wow.realistic point of view.. have you had experiences partying or going out Subic and Clark with those bars outside the streets? you seem like your hands full of those night life huh? well that’s a part of the cycle. as being deployed you need some air outside the base right? even if it’s just temporary. for sure those girls not just wanted to throw them selves on those servicemen but also because they’re earning a living.
    I hope past policies should not be repeated, for sure, tougher policies shall be imposed besides, the PI Gov does not want 50,000 amer-asian kids add up on thier surging population.. illegitimate kids left by the american servicemen during the hay days of Clark and Subic.

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