"Shouldering the Load Together"
The United States announced that the purpose of the Balikatan 2002 exercise was to improve the Philippines/US combined planning, combat readiness and interoperability. The exercise would also enhance security relations and demonstrate US resolve to support the Philippines against external aggression and state sponsored terrorism through training in joint/combined operations and conduct of other related activities consistent with the Mutual Defense Treaty. Balikatan 2002-2 was the eighteenth in this series of exercises, which began in 1981. Balikatan 2002-2 was a regularly scheduled exercise that was planned well before 11 September 2001. Its scenario did not directly involve counter-terrorism, and it was unrelated to Balikatan 2002-1 in the southern part of the country. The Balikatan 2002-2 exercise was held on the island of Luzon.
Phase I of Balikatan 2002-2, a Combined Task Force seminar/command post exercise, was to be conducted from 22 April through 6 May 2002. This would exercise a Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters Staff and augmentation personnel on crisis action planning and course of action execution at the operational level with a focus on peace enforcement operations. Phase II included cross training, field training and humanitarian civil assistance exercises from 22 April through 6 May 2002. The cross training and field training portions would enhance the interoperability of US Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP). The humanitarian civil assistance would improve US/AFP military civic action cooperation while training civil military operators to work together in a Combined Joint Task Force structure with a focus on civil assistance. They would conduct multiple medical, dental, veterinary and engineering civil assistance projects during this phase.
There were several humanitarian and civic assistance projects scheduled during Balikatan 2002-2 by both Philippine and American forces. These included veterinary and dental teams providing free clinics, and engineering projects designed to improve the local infrastructure.
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