The United States is expanding its maritime cooperation with the Philippines:
- The Philippines remains the largest recipient of maritime security assistance, and will receive a record $79 million in bilateral assistance of the FY 2015 funds allocated for developing Southeast Asian maritime capabilities. This assistance is largely focused on building the training and logistical base for expanding the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Forces’ ability to conduct operations within waters off the Philippines’ coasts. We are assisting with naval maintenance capacity building as well as providing interdiction vessels, naval fleet upgrades, communications equipment, and aircraft procurement.
- We are prioritizing transfer of maritime related Excess Defense Articles (EDA) to rapidly enhance capability within limited budgets. The United States intends to grant the high-endurance U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Boutwell to the Philippine Navy, the third ship of its class that we have provided in the past few years. This will provide the Philippines the ability to maintain greater maritime presence and patrols throughout its EEZ. We are also in the process of transferring the research vessel R/V Melville to support naval research and law enforcement capabilities.
- We will continue to support the National Coast Watch System and assist the Philippines through the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), building capacity in Philippine maritime vessel maintenance, training, law enforcement support, and intelligence assistance to expand the country’s ability to detect, track, and interdict where necessary criminal and terrorist elements involved in the smuggling of sensitive items and illicit goods.
- We will hold increased and more complex exercises and training with U.S. government agencies and U.S. Pacific Command to increase interoperability and professionalization.
- We will continue assisting improvements in security at ports to prevent illegal activity and illegal shipments.
The United States is expanding its maritime assistance to Vietnam by:
- Increasing maritime program assistance to $19.6 million in FY 2015 to support developing Southeast Asian maritime capabilities which we will seek to expand by providing $20.5 million in FY 2016 subject to appropriation. We are helping Vietnam bolster its maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and command and control within Vietnam’s maritime agencies.
- Lifting the ban on sales of maritime-related lethal capabilities to allow development of Vietnam’s maritime capacity and encourage interoperability with other regional forces.
- Expanding bilateral training and exercises, focusing on disaster relief and humanitarian issues.