An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | May 30, 2024

U.S., Philippine Armies Build Capacity, Readiness West of International Date Line

By Maj. Matthew Pargett I Corps

Following two months of comprehensive and deliberate exercises designed to build combined joint capacity and readiness during Exercises Balikatan and Salaknib 2024, U.S. Army forces aligned to the Indo-Pacific and elements of the Philippine Army now prepare to conduct the first-ever Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center Exportable (JPMRC-X) exercise west of the International Date Line at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines from June 1-10.

JPMRC-X, the U.S. Army's combat training center capability for the Indo-Pacific, enhances interoperability and fosters collective readiness among participating forces. In this iteration of the exercise, JPMRC-X will challenge U.S. and Philippine Army participants with complex tactical scenarios set in remote, rigorous, and austere conditions.

During the Land Forces Pacific Symposium 2024 (LANPAC) in Honolulu on May 14, the First Corps Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, made clear the importance of conducting exercises like JPMRC-X because of the unique challenges and unexpected opportunities they presented.

"There are certain frictions that don't occur within the National Training Center, that don't occur at Fort Johnson, that don't occur at 21 Palms," said Brunson. "They occur in the region."

Elaborating on the opportunities that JPMRC-X provides, the I Corps Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane highlighted the importance of ensuring that soldiers aligned to the Indo-Pacific have ample opportunities to train with and learn from allies and partners at their bases and training areas.

"We need to understand the challenges our friends, partners, and allies face when training at home. But we also need to understand the unique opportunities that we may not be aware of until we are actively training on the ground, in this environment with them," said McFarlane. "The U.S. Army has a lot of talented soldiers, but we also need to occasionally remind ourselves that we don't always have all the answers, and that is what JPMRC-X is about. We want to know what we don't know about operating in the Indo-Pacific, and who better to show us than our partners who live and train in the region every day."

JPMRC-X stands as a crucial testament to the unwavering dedication of the U.S. to its allies and partners in the region. This milestone marks the inaugural exercise in the series west of the International Date Line, showcasing the depth of commitment. Notably, this training also bolsters the Philippine Army's and the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization efforts. Participating units include the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division, the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division, and the 196th Infantry Brigade.

Speaking on the importance of how the exercise further develops the combined force's ability to operate across all warfighting domains, the 25th Infantry Division's Deputy Commanding General of Operations, Brig. Gen. David Zinn shared that one of the critical advantages of conducting JPMRC-X forward in the Philippines is the ability to better understand human interoperability across procedures, languages, and cultures.

"Relationships are important, but they need time and energy to grow and sustain. What we're going to achieve during this JPMRC-X is the fostering of a relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines that has endured close to 75 years by introducing U.S. and Philippine Army soldiers to some very tough and realistic training that's designed to challenge them tactically, as well as across language and procedural barriers that many of us aren't used to," said Zinn.

"This is how soldiers learn and units get better."

As the first JPMRC-X conducted in the Philippines, this exercise will prepare U.S. Army soldiers to respond as part of a combined joint force to potential future crises, contingencies, and natural disasters.

Calling back to the start of this iteration of Philippine-focused exercises three months ago, the 25th Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Marcus Evans' message from the opening ceremony still carries purpose as JPMRC-X is set to begin.

"Through our shared hardships, we enhance our capability to collaborate effectively, working shoulder-to-shoulder to protect Philippine interests and support local populations," said Evans.

"As we commence this training exercise, we will do so with determination, diligence, and a spirit of cooperation to get one percent better every day."

As JPMRC-X prepares to begin, soldiers forward in the Philippines continue to train, collaborate with partners, and seek to better the profession to achieve just that.