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NEWS | June 7, 2024

US and Philippine Army Soldiers Establish a Joint Operations Center for the First Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Exportable in the Philippines

By Staff Sgt. Thomas Moeger, 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

U.S. and Philippine Army Soldiers establish a Joint Operations Center (JOC) as part of Exercise Salaknib 2024. The establishment of a JOC marks a pivotal moment in fostering collaboration among multinationals during the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Exportable (JPMRC-X) exercise potion of Salaknib in Fort Magsaysay, located in central Luzon, from June 1 to June 10.

“The Joint Operations Center is really the base level of how we control the exercise,” said U.S. Army Capt. Miguel Menjivar, JPMRC-X lead planner of the 196th Infantry Brigade. “Everything happening in the training area is monitored within the JOC.”

The JOC will facilitate real-time information sharing, joint planning, and execution of military operations among participating nations during the JPMRC-X. Its strategic location in the Philippines underscores the significance of regional partnerships in maintaining a secure and stable region.

“Here in the Philippines, we did something kinda cool,” said Menijivar. “We have all of our Philippine partners alongside us to work on interoperability. It allows us to hone in on what we can provide and do with our allied partners.”

JPMRC marks a milestone for the Philippine Army, offering hands-on experience within a Joint Operations Center to manage and oversee a major bilateral exercise, a first in Salaknib’s history.

“I have not had actual hands-on experience in a Joint Operations Center,” said Philippine Army Maj. Frank Tobias, JPMRC-X Chief of Operations. “This training with the U.S. Army through JPMRC-X is very beneficial for us, especially with interoperability,”

The center will serve as a platform for conducting joint training exercises to improve the readiness and capabilities of participating forces. By simulating various scenarios and contingencies, U.S. and Philippine Soldiers will have the opportunity to hone their skills and enhance their ability to operate seamlessly in diverse environments.

“This is the best experience in my training here as an officer of the Philippine Army,” said Tobias. “Now I can let my subordinates experience this training and provide them with inputs for their professional development.”

Establishing the JOC to conduct the JPMRC-X reflects the collective Philippine and U.S. commitment to enhancing collaboration and interoperability. In an era marked by complex security challenges, joint approaches and solutions are essential to effectively addressing regional concerns.

​“Training with our allied partners really allows us to test our systems and enables us to rely on them in the future,” Menjivar said. “There are certain challenges we are learning now that we don’t want to be learning when we’re in an actual firefight.”