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Cablegate: Scenesetter for General William Wallace

VZCZCXRO7346
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0881/01 0750930
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160930Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUERAIX/CDR FT MONROE VA IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5723
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 000881

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR GENERAL WALLACE FROM AMBASSADOR KENNEY
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: SCENESETTER FOR GENERAL WILLIAM WALLACE

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. General Wallace, welcome to the
Philippines! I know your visit is short, but I am sure you
will find it productive. You are coming to the Philippines
at an important time. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is
demonstrating impressive combat prowess in ongoing operations
against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists on the
island of Jolo. Under the leadership of Chief of Staff
General Esperon, the AFP is fully committed to the Defense
Reform and Battalion Retraining Programs. You will have a
chance to see some of these improvements yourself in visits
to the Philippine Army's Training and Doctrine Command at
Camp O'Donnell and Fort Magsaysay, the future home of a
National Training Center. END SUMMARY.

INCREASED COMBAT PROWESS
------------------------

2. (SBU) With U.S. support, the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) has begun to demonstrate impressive combat
prowess in its ongoing anti-terrorism operation on the
southern island of Jolo. AFP troops -- including soldiers,
Marines, airmen, and sailors -- have remained engaged in
sustained action against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah
terrorists since August 1, 2006. Improved operational
readiness rates for aircraft and vessels, casualty treatment,
night helicopter medical evacuations, and tactical field
skills are directly attributable to U.S. training, advice,
and assistance. During your visit, you will have the
opportunity to watch a shoot-house demonstration by one of
the Light Reaction Companies, the U.S.-trained and -equipped
national-level counterterrorism force, whose combat veterans
have participated in operations on Jolo. Fort Magsaysay is
the planned future home of the Philippine military's National
Training Center, which will closely follow U.S. doctrine.

COMMITMENT TO DEFENSE REFORM
----------------------------

3. (SBU) Much of the success on Jolo can be traced to the
Philippine Defense Reform Program, which is transforming the
Philippine military into a more transparent, accountable, and
effective institution. This U.S.-supported effort aims at a
complete restructuring of the military establishment ranging
from personnel management and logistics to acquisition and
training. With the advice of a 13-member team of U.S.
experts, the AFP and Department of National Defense have
already registered significant improvements in casualty care
and operational readiness rates. The newly begun Battalion
Retraining Program aims to retrain all 78 Army and 11 Marine
battalions. You will visit the new Training and Doctrine
Command at Camp O'Donnell, where the AFP is also establishing
a service-wide Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Academy.

4. (SBU) Your counterpart, Major General Bernardo De Luna,
plans to accompany you with his sergeant major throughout
your entire trip. We take this as a very positive sign of
his willingness to engage you on how to improve his fledgling
command. AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes "Jun" Esperon
has made enlisted and NCO development two of his top
priorities. Your private dinner with General Esperon,
Philippine Army commander Lieutenant General Tolentino, and
Major General De Luna should offer you the opportunity for a
frank and productive exchange among professional soldiers.

TIES THAT BIND
--------------

5. (U) Your trip will conclude with a simple wreath-laying
ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
Dedicated in 1960, the cemetery houses the remains of 16,363
U.S. military and 570 Philippine nationals who served with
U.S. forces in the Southwest Pacific during World War II and
memorializes over 36,000 others whose bodies were never
found. It is the largest World War II cemetery operated by
the American Battle Monuments Commission, and is a quiet
reminder of the ties of blood shed together that bind our two
countries together.

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

MANILA 00000881 002 OF 002


KENNEY

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