US military poised to secure new access to key Philippine bases

Lance Cpl. Brienna Tuck/Marine Corps (Fair Use)

The U.S. military is poised to secure expanded access to key bases in the Philippines on the heels of a significant revamp of U.S. force posture in Japan — developments that reflect the allies’ concern with an increasingly fraught security environment in the region and a desire to deepen alliances with the United States, according to U.S. and Philippine officials.

While negotiations are still ongoing, an announcement is expected as soon as this week when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets in Manila with his counterpart, Carlito Galvez, acting secretary of National Defense, and then with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The expansion involves access to Philippine military bases, likely including two on the northern island of Luzon — which, analysts said, could give U.S. forces a strategic position from which to mount operations in the event of a conflict in Taiwan or the South China Sea. They will also facilitate cooperation on a range of security concerns, including more rapid responses to natural disasters and climate-related events.