Sunday, February 19, 2023

CPP/Negros Regional Island Committee-Ang Paghimakas: CPP leading rev movement in Negros

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Feb 18, 2023): CPP leading rev movement in Negros
 


Ang Paghimakas
CPP Negros Island Regional Committee
Communist Party of the Philippines

February 18, 2023

Communist Party of the Philippines’ Negros Island Regional Party Committee (NIRPC or CPP Negros) gave a situationer on the revolutionary movement in Negros in its statement for the 54th anniversary of the CPP released on Wednesday, through its newsletter Ang Paghimakas (The Struggle).

It stressed the need to confront intense and sustained enemy attacks and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to creatively advance the people’s war.

It disclosed its successful ideological, political and organizational work in its guerrilla fronts and white areas “despite relentless military operations.”

According to its statement, “the Party, the New People’s Army (NPA), revolutionary movement and the people of Negros have experienced the worst kind of attacks launched by the coercive apparatus of its class enemy, the AFP and PNP, through its focused military operations and Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) on the island.”

But through the leadership of [CPP Negros], the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the NPA Regional Operational Command (AGC-NPA) and revolutionary masses were widely mobilized to retaliate with organized, scientific and resolute counter-campaigns characterized by various forms of struggle, it stated.

CPP Negros stated that the revolutionary movement in Negros mounted annihilative and attritive military actions, launched different anti-feudal struggles, campaigned against militarization and human rights violations, organized teams for area expansion, and carried out education and organizing campaigns among other revolutionary work in 2022.

Specific to the NPA, CPP Negros said that many attritive military actions and some annihilative tactical offensives were launched last year.

“The guerrilla fronts under the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command have mounted 44 military offensives and punitive actions wherein at least a platoon of enemy troops were killed-in-action and another platoon was wounded,” it stated.
Determined and militant

CPP Negros called on Party cadres and members, Red commanders and fighters, the revolutionary forces, and allies in Negros to be determined and militant “in resisting the evil and counterrevolutionary but futile plan of the lackeys of the reactionary regime to dismantle the NPA in Negros and force the entire revolutionary movement to surrender.”

It anticipated intense and violent massive attacks on guerrilla fronts and guerrilla zones of the NPA by the “current fascist and kleptocratic regime” in the context of destroying the revolutionary forces in Negros in the first two years of Marcos Jr.

CPP Negros also remarked government’s censorship of information on the NPA’s successful tactical offensives to maintain the narrative of “dismantled” and “weakened” revolutionary forces on the island.

It regarded AFP/PNP attacks as “challenges and opportunities for NPA Negros, with the Party at the lead, to seize the initiative and achieve a series of big and small victories against operating troops of the enemy through politico-military resistance.

“We must all persevere and overcome current challenges to achieve greater victories in the people’s democratic revolution,” it said.
Revolutionary honors

CPP Negros offered revolutionary honors to Jose Maria Sison, known as Amado Guerrero when he chaired the CPP. Sison passed away on December 16, 2022, a few days before the founding anniversary of the CPP on December 26.

“Upon his death, we renew our commitment to carry forward to greater heights the Filipino revolution he jump-started 54 years ago along with scores of cadres from mass organizations of workers, peasants and youth,” it stated.

Revolutionary martyrs Romeo Nanta, then spokesperson of AGC-NPA, and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Ericson Acosta, were also honored with all revolutionaries who “served the people in all possible means until reactionary soldiers cowardly murdered them in cold-blood.” ###



Ang Paghimakas was first published in the last quarter of 1972 to condemn Marcos’ Martial Law and show the resistance of the people. Now released in Hiligaynon, with English and Bisaya translations of its editorial, it can be downloaded through its website, http://www.negrosrevportal.wordpress.com, and CPP’s national website, philippinerevolution.nu.###

https://philippinerevolution.nu/statements/cpp-leading-rev-movement-in-negros/

Kalinaw News: 1 NPA killed, war materiel seize in Eastern Samar clash

Posted to Kalinaw News (Feb 19, 2023): 1 NPA killed, war materiel seize in Eastern Samar clash



CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while assorted war material were seized during an encounter in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on February 18, 2023.

The troops of 78th Infantry “Warrior” Battalion (78IB) clashed with more or less 9 Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members after a concerned citizen reported the presence of an armed group in the hinterlands of Barangay San Andres, Borongan City, Eastern Samar, on the afternoon of February 17, 2023. Recovered during the encounter were one M16 rifle and a backpack.

A pursuit operation was then conducted that resulted in another encounter at 11 a.m. on February 18. The clash resulted in the death of one unidentified CTG member and the recovery of one prohibited Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) and assorted ammunition.

In his statement, Lieutenant Colonel Allan Tria, the Commanding Officer of the 78IB appealed to the remaining members of the CTGs to consider laying down their arms and return to the folds of the law as the army will continue its offensive against the CTGs.

“Hindi maipagkakaila na sa bakas ng mga dugo na mayroong mga sugatang NPA sa engkwentro, hinihiling namin sa ating residente na makipag tulungan sa paghahanap sa mga sugatan upang agarang mabigyan ng paunang lunas at mailigtas sila sa tiyak na kapahamakan,” Lt. Col. Tria said.

Meanwhile, Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, the Commander of 8ID commended the troops of 78IB for their efforts of bringing peace in Eastern Samar.

“Once again, the CTG leadership failed to take care of their fallen comrade. They have been deceiving the people of Samar Island to join their futile and ill-motivated armed struggle ever since. I call on the Samar Island people to join us in our efforts and once and for all End the Local Communist Armed Conflict here in Eastern Visayas,” added Maj. Gen. Ligayo

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/1-npa-killed-war-materiel-seize-in-eastern-samar-clash/

Kalinaw News: BIFF Field Commander and his Cohort Killed in Tacurong City

Posted to Kalinaw News (Feb 19, 2023): BIFF Field Commander and his Cohort Killed in Tacurong City



CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao del Norte— The dreaded leader of the Karialan Faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and his companion were neutralized through a joint law enforcement operation by the military and police against the suspects in Brgy. New Isabela, Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat on February 18, 2023.

Brigadier General Pedro Balisi Jr., Commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade, identified the slain suspects as Abdulkarem Lumbatan Hasim, also known as “Boy Jacket,” and his companion as Mahmod Lumbatan, who at times also goes by the name “Mahmod Capunlo.”

Authorities recovered a motorcycle, a Taurus Cal. 45 pistol with live ammunition, a smartphone, and a keypad cellphone from the possession of the suspects.

Hasim was the Field Commander of the BIFF-KF and a notorious criminal in the area. According to Brig. Gen. Balisi, he was involved in various crimes, including double murder and multiple counts of frustrated murder, and was responsible for several recent atrocities in the area. The most prominent crime he committed last year was the ambush of PNP personnel who were just serving a warrant of arrest at Brgy. Kapinpilan, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. This incident on August 29, 2022 has resulted in the deaths of Police Lieutenant Reynaldo Orcine Samson, Chief of Police of Ampatuan MPS, and Police Corporal Salipuden Talipasan Endab while three other PNP personnel were wounded.

“The suspect implicated in multiple harassment incidents resulting in casualties in Maguindanao del Sur has been linked to at least three separate incidents. On October 12, 2022, the suspect was responsible for the harassment of the Butalo Patrol Base, resulting in the death of Corporal Allan R. Balena and the injury of Corporal Catalan. The suspect was also linked to incidents in Brgy. Labu Labu 2, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur, on November 25, 2022, and at the Goco Patrol Base on December 25, 2022, which resulted in injuries to military personnel”, said Brig. Gen. Balisi.

Major General Alex S. Rillera, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division and Joint Task Force Central, stated that the neutralization of alias Boy Jacket and his companion was a significant blow to the BIFF-KF, and a victory for the authorities in maintaining peace and order in the area. He further added that the poor victims of Boy Jacket have finally received justice.

Despite this, the Division Commander continues to call on all members of BIFF to return to the fold of law to pave the way for sustainable peace and progress in South and South Central Mindanao. “Your Army, in collaboration with other government forces, will continue to pursue those accountable for the heinous acts in the area. Rest assured that we shall sustain military operations to finally finish the remaining terrorists in South and South Central Mindanao” Maj. Gen. Rillera said.

Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

https://www.kalinawnews.com/biff-field-commander-and-his-cohort-killed-in-tacurong-city/

BIFF leader, pal killed in South Cotabato City

 From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Feb 19, 2023): BIFF leader, pal killed in South Cotabato City (By: Edwin O. Fernandez)



INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TACURONG CITY — Police killed a subleader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) allegedly behind the murder of a police lieutenant in Maguindanao and the bombings in the provinces of Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat in the previous years.

Lt. Col. Bryan Bernardino, Tacurong City police director, said Abdulkarem Lumbatan Hashim also known as “Commander Boy Jacket ” and his companion were killed in a police shootout inside the bus terminal in Barangay New Isabela here at 6 a.m. after they resisted arrest.

“They refused to undergo inspection at a checkpoint and fired at our law enforcers, triggering a shootout,” Bernardino said.

Three police officers were injured.


Police said Hashim and companions resisted inspection at the terminal checkpoint. Two other companions on board a separate motorbike managed to escape during the shootout.

Police identified Hashim as a sub-commander of BIFF “Kagi Karialan” faction involved in a series of bombing, highway robberies and extortion in the provinces of Maguindanao, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. He was also tagged as the brain behind the murder of Police Lt. Reynaldo Samson, police chief of Ampatuan municipal police station in Maguindanao, and Samson’s driver on August 29 last year.

In October last year, Hashim reportedly led an attack at an Army checkpoint in Barangay Sambolawan, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

His group was also behind the harassment of another Army base in Datu Hofer town in Maguindanao in November last year.

Hashim has several warrants of arrest for murder and frustrated murder issued by local courts in Maguindanao.

Bernardino said the injured police officers were already safe.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1732092/biff-leader-pal-killed-in-south-cotabato-city

Military eyes more troops to Lanao del Sur

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Feb 20, 2023): Military eyes more troops to Lanao del Sur

ILIGAN CITY—Police and military officials considered sending more troops to Lanao del Sur, particularly in the towns of Amai Manabilang and Maguing, where Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. was ambushed on Friday, which wounded the governor and left four persons, including his three police security details, dead.

Col. Billy dela Rosa, deputy commander of the Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade based in Marawi City, said they were willing to extend troops support in Maguing and secure the town from armed groups.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officials, including Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, and the governor’s brother, Lanao del Sur Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong, noted in a press briefing on Sunday in Cagayan de Oro City the absence of government troops in the area where the governor was waylaid, making it easy for armed groups to stage the attack.

The governor’s convoy was traversing the road between Maguing and Amai Manabilang towns on their way to Wao town of Lanao del Sur when armed men opened fire at them at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Zia Alonto said his brother underwent a surgery on Friday night to remove the bullet that pierced through his right lower hip and was already in stable condition as of Saturday.

Those who died in the ambush were three of the governor’s security aides, who were all police officers, and his driver. The fatalities, who were all relatives of the governor, were S/Sgt. Mohamad Jurais Adiong, Cpl. Johaine Sumandar, Pat. Jalil Cosain and Hasanor Pundaodaya.

A soldier, Pfc. Gilbert Mananguite, who is also the governor’s security detail, and another staff at the provincial capitol, Ali Tibao, were injured.

Bangsamoro officials believed it was time to bring back the military troops in the area who were pulled out last year.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1732130/military-eyes-more-troops-to-lanao-del-sur

Spy Balloon Lifts Veil on China’s ‘Near Space’ Military Program

Posted to Voice of America (Feb 18, 2023): Spy Balloon Lifts Veil on China’s ‘Near Space’ Military Program (By Natalie Liu)


FILE - A model of a stratospheric airship, which appears to be part of an aeronautical/aerospace exhibition, was published in state media Global Times in 2015. (Courtesy Rick Fisher, International Assessment and Strategy Center)
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WASHINGTON —The little-noticed program that led to a Chinese spy balloon drifting across the United States this month has been discussed in China’s state-controlled media for more than a decade in articles extolling its potential military applications.

The reports, dating back to at least 2011, focus on how best to exploit what is known as “near space” – that portion of the atmosphere that is too high for traditional aircraft to fly but too low for a satellite to remain in orbit. Those early articles may offer clues to the capabilities of the balloon shot down by a U.S. jet fighter on Feb. 4.

“In recent years, ‘near space’ has been discussed often in foreign media, with many military commentators pointing out that this is a special sphere that had been neglected by militaries but now has risen to hotspot status,” reads a July 5, 2011, article in the People’s Liberation Army Daily titled Near Space - A Strategic Asset That Ought Not to be Neglected.

The article quoted Zhang Dongjiang, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, discussing the potential applications of flying objects designed for near space.

“This is an area sitting in between ‘air’ and ‘space’ where neither the theory of gravity nor Kepler’s Law is independently applicable, thus limiting the freedom of flight for both aircraft that are designed based on the theory of gravity and spacecraft that follow Kepler’s Law,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

He noted that near space lacks the atmospheric disturbances of aeronautical altitudes, such as turbulence, thunder and lightning, yet is cheaper and easier to reach than the altitudes where satellites can remain in orbit.

“At the same time,” he added, near space is “much higher than 'sky,' hence holding superb prospects and potential for intelligence collection, reconnaissance and surveillance, securing communication, as well as air and ground warfare.”

Zhang suggested that near space can be exploited with “high-dynamic” craft that travel faster than the speed of sound, such as hypersonic cruise vehicles and sub-orbital vehicles, which “can arrive at target with high speed, attack with both high speed and precision, [and] can be deployed repeatedly.”


FILE - A model of a flying object which analysts say was part of China’s near space research and development was featured at what appears to be an aeronautical/aerospace exhibition in China in 2015. (Courtesy Rick Fisher, International Assessment and Strategy Center)

But he said near space also can provide an environment for slower vehicles, which he called “low-dynamic” craft, such as stratospheric airships, high-altitude balloons and solar-powered unmanned vehicles.

These, he said, “are capable of carrying payloads capable of capturing light, infrared rays, multispectral, hyper-spectral, radar, and other info, which can then be used to increase battlefield sensory and knowledge capability, support military operations.”

They also “can carry various payloads aimed at electronic counter-battle, fulfilling the aim of electronic magnetic suppression and electronic magnetic attack on the battlefield, damage and destroy an adversary’s information systems.”

Four years after the PLA Daily article, images were published in the military pages of Global Times, a state-controlled outlet, of two small-scale stratospheric vehicles identified as KF13 and KF16.

The vehicles were developed by the Opto-Electronics Engineering Institute of Beijing Aeronautics and Aerospace University, China’s main aeronautical and aerospace research university, according to an explanatory note published alongside the model shown in the Global Times. The institution is now known as Beihang [Beijing-Aero] University.

The explanatory note said a key feature of the vehicles was their unmanned and remote-control dual capability. Work was being done in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Shanxi province, on seeing the vehicles evolve from concept to production, according to the October 2015 article.

Other images of near space objects that surfaced the same month featured variously shaped aircraft whose features and functions included high-functioning surface materials, emergency control mechanisms, precise flight control technology, high-efficiency propeller technology, high-efficiency solar technology and ground operation integration technology.


FILE - An image, possibly a drawing of the Yuan Meng, accompanied by details of its design objectives, surfaced on Chinese internet in 2015. (Courtesy Rick Fisher, International Assessment and Strategy Center)

An image of a blimp-like near space flying object called the Yuan Meng, literally “fulfilling dream,” was also posted to the internet in October 2015. It was described as having a flying altitude of 20-24 kilometers, a flight duration of six months and a payload of 100-300 kilograms.

Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, told VOA that China’s interest in the exploitation of near space actually began long before the PLA Daily article.

“Since the late 1990s, the PLA has been devoting resources for research and development for preparing for combat in ‘near space,’ the zone just below Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that is less expensive to reach than LEO [itself], and offers stealth advantages, especially for hypersonic platforms,” he said in an exchange of emails.

In addition to round balloons such as the one shot down by U.S. aircraft on Feb. 4, he said, “the PLA is also developing much larger blimp or airship stratospheric balloons that have solar powered engines driving large propellers that enable greater maneuverability.”

Fisher said Chinese state-owned conglomerates such as China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) “have full-fledged near space programs like their Tengyun to produce very high-altitude UAV and hypersonic vehicles” for the purpose of waging combat in near space.

Tengyun literally means “riding above clouds.”

In September 2016, Chinese official media reported that Project Tengyun, initiated by CASIC, was expected to be ready for a test flight in 2030. The so-called "air-spacecraft" is designed to serve as a “new-generation, repeat-use roundtrip flying object between air and space,” a deputy general manager of CASIC told the 2nd Commercial Aeronautical Summit Forum held in Wuhan that month.

Another four projects proposed by CASIC also bore the concept of “cloud” in their names: Feiyun, meaning "flying cloud," focuses on communication relay; Xingyun, meaning "cloud on the move," would enable users to send text or audio messages even “at the end of the earth or edge of the sky”; Hongyun, meaning rainbow cloud, would be able to launch 156 satellites in its first stage; and Kuaiyun, meaning “fast cloud,” would be tasked with formulating a near space spheric network.

While China’s openness about its near space ambitions may be debatable, the speed with which it has made advances in related R&D appears to be indisputable.

“Throughout my career that was focused on the PLA, I do not recall anything about the PLA having a balloon program, let alone to have balloons operating over U.S. territory,” U.S. Navy Captain (retired) James Fanell, who retired as director of intelligence for the U.S. Pacific Fleet in 2015, told VOA in a written interview.

U.S. official now say they are aware of at least 40 incidents, however, in which Chinese surveillance balloons have passed over countries on as many as five continents. Those presumably included an incident last December in which a high-altitude airship was photographed near the northern Philippine Island of Luzon bordering the South China Sea.

“The object would look to be a teardrop-shaped airship with four tail fins. It’s not entirely clear from the images whether it might have a translucent exterior or a metallic-like one,” wrote Joseph Trevithick, deputy editor of The War Zone, a specialized website dedicated to developments in military technology and international security.

“Overall, the apparent airship’s general shape has broad similarities to a number of high-altitude, long-endurance types that Chinese companies are known to have been working on,” he wrote, including “at least two uncrewed solar-powered designs, the Tian Hang and Yuan Meng, with external propulsion and other systems intended primarily for operations at stratospheric altitudes, both of which have reportedly been test flown at least once.”

Fisher said the United States would be well advised to emulate China in enhancing its capabilities in near space.

The American aerospace company Lockheed Martin “tested a technology demonstrator in 2011 [but] there has been no further development of operational stratospheric airships for the U.S.” since then, Fisher said.

“The PLA is correct to invest in stratosphere balloons and airships; the U.S. must do more to develop these assets as well.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/spy-balloon-lifts-veil-on-china-s-near-space-military-program-/6969327.html

‘ODA law changes can boost AFP capabilities’

From the Philippine Star (Feb 20. 2023): ‘ODA law changes can boost AFP capabilities’ (Delon Porcalla)



Let’s build our defenses so that countries that have their eyes on the West Philippine Sea don’t feel like they can push us around so easily,” Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the ways and means committee that oversees sources of funding for the government, said over the weekend.  Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — A key leader of the House of Representatives is setting his sights on amending certain provisions in the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Law to improve the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s below par capabilities primarily with its Asian neighbors.

“Let’s build our defenses so that countries that have their eyes on the West Philippine Sea don’t feel like they can push us around so easily,” Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the ways and means committee that oversees sources of funding for the government, said over the weekend.


“Again, countries like us shouldn’t declare that our only option is diplomacy. No one wants war, but defenders don’t decide that. Aggressors decide whether they want war. And defenders have to be ready,” Salceda said.

In a statement, the lawmaker-economist revealed his plans to present amendments to the ODA Law to ensure that the country has the flexibility to acquire top-of-the-line air equipment and naval capabilities.

He stressed that under the current law, the country is “restricted by provisions that put a grant component floor of 40 percent of the total ODA loans, and at least 25 percent of each loan.”


“Other limitations include the lack of provisions for private sector participation in financing, and the public bidding requirement, which may hinder loans for acquisitions such as defense equipment, which typically already have a single eligible supplier,” the statement read.

“That hinders us from acquiring, French submarines although France has already signaled its intent to make loans for these available,” he said, referring to a previous meeting between government officials and the French ambassador over the matter.

Salceda underscored the need to acquire fighter jets like F16s and submarines to improve the AFP’s limited capabilities in defending the West Philippine Sea, which claimants include China and other Asian neighbors.

Loans to remain deeply concessional

On the other hand, the lawmaker gave assurance that the loans for defense capabilities “will remain deeply concessional, especially with Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and other similar military arrangements.”

“ODAs remain the cheapest way to borrow. They are still deeply concessional. The capital markets do not give you a grant component. And certainly, they do not come with technical capabilities and knowledge sharing,” Salceda said.

He explained that the ODA Law amendments would continue to require “that the ODA loans are still concessional compared to borrowing from the market.”

“The ODA Law was written when we were still a country struggling out of political and economic crises. We are now on the cusp of being an upper-middle income country. In the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s definition for ODAs, we’re so close to not being eligible for any ODA,” he said.

The grant component for peer countries is 10 percent grant element, six percent discount rate. The current law requires ODA loans to be 25 percent grant component and at 10 percent discount rate, Salceda said.

“At the rate we’re growing, soon, no ODA will qualify at our stage of development. And that, of course, is bad for our long-term development needs. Especially because ODA loans are very long-term, unlike most capital market instruments,” he said.

As early as 2021, Salceda disclosed that the Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the United States had already cleared the Philippines to acquire F16s.

“We were also cleared to purchase harpoon missiles, which would definitely deter any naval incursion into our waters. The message you want to send to adversarial countries is, well, we will never recourse to war as a first option, but we are ready to defend,” he said.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2023/02/20/2246223/oda-law-changes-can-boost-afp-capabilities

21 Filipino Marines complete BrahMos training in India

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 19, 2023): 21 Filipino Marines complete BrahMos training in India (By Martin Sadongdong)

Twenty-one Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) personnel have recently completed a training in India where they obtained the skills to operate and maintain a shore-based anti-ship missile system (SBASMS) for the integration of the world’s fastest supersonic missile in the world – the BrahMos missile – into its system, the PMC announced on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Photo: Philippine Marine Corps / PMC

Col. Romulo Quemado, commander of the PMC’s Coastal Defense Regiment, lauded his team for finishing the operator training of the BrahMos Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System as he expressed optimism that the trained personnel will be able to utilize the SBASMS to improve the country’s coastal defense.

The PMC personnel were awarded with the interim missile badge and pin by Admiral Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar, chief of naval staff of the Indian Navy. The PMC personnel are set to become the first operators of the BrahMos missile system outside of India.

“The induction of the BrahMos missile into the Philippine Marine Corps will strengthen your maritime capability and will also contribute to our collective maritime security within the region,” Kumar said.

The training which ran from Jan. 23 to Feb. 11 “focused on the operations and maintenance of some of the most important logistics package of the SBASMS that will be delivered to the Philippines.”

In January 2022, the Department of National Defense (DND) signed the contract for the procurement of the Indian-made BrahMos missiles as part of the Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy worth $374,962,800 or around P18.9 billion.


The Department of National Defense, represented by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left, seated), signs the contract for the acquisition of BrahMos supersonic missile system at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo courtesy of DND)

The acquisition was conceptualized as early as 2017 and approved as part of the priority projects under the second horizon of the revised modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The delivery of the BrahMos missiles is expected this year and the Coastal Defense Regiment of the PMC will be the end-user of it.

The acquisition of the BrahMos missiles is deemed crucial by the DND to boost the Philippine Navy’s capability to defend the country’s maritime borders and complement the efforts of the Navy’s surface assets in patrolling the Philippine waters.

According to Indian manufacturer BrahMos Aerospace, the BrahMos missile has a flight range of up to 290 km with supersonic speed all through the flight which leads to a shorter flight time and ensures a lower dispersion of its target, a quicker engagement time, and a capability that cannot be intercepted “by any known weapon system in the world.”

https://mb.com.ph/2023/02/19/21-filipino-marines-complete-brahmos-training-in-india/

Lanao del Sur mayors condemn Gov. Adiong ambush

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Murad orders MILF to help get group behind Adiong ambush

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Bangsamoro police identifies groups responsible for ambush of Lanao del Sur gov

From ABS-CBN (Feb 19, 2023): Bangsamoro police identifies groups responsible for ambush of Lanao del Sur gov


The Special Investigation Task Group of the Bangsamoro Police on Sunday said they have identified groups responsible for the ambush try against Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong. Photo courtesy of PNP BARMM.

MANILA -- The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) formed by the Bangsamoro Police has already identified the groups responsible for the ambush try against Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong.

"May lead na ang ating SITG, ang ating mga investigators at ito ang tinututukan ngayon and we are hoping that something positive will come up. May mga nagvolunteer naman magbigay ng information and right now kinukuha na ang lahat ng affidavits. Ang tinututukan natin na grupo ay dalawa pero pag tiningnan mo rin ang affiliation mahuhulog sa isa pero we are not discounting the (several killing) but by looking at it may dalawang grupo tayo na tinitingnan,“ PNP BARMM Regional Director, Police BGen. Johh Guyguyon said.

Authorities recovered more than 40 fired cartridges at the ambush site. The incident happened in Barangay Bato-bato, Maguing, Lanao del Sur, Friday afternoon, February 17, 2023, just more than 1 kilometer away from an Moro Islamic Liberation Front camp.

"When we were there, may Joint Peace and Security Team tayo doon. Ito ‘yong mga unang nagresponde sa crime scene. ‘Yong presence nang ano doon, hindi kasi talaga nila marinig ‘yong area because of the, however they are also giving their helping hand in the identification and solution of the case. When I talked with our MILF, Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, nag-commit po ang ating BARMM government that the MILF will be helping out in making sure that the culprits should be identified and this case should be solved,” said Guyguyon.

The Bangsamoro Police is also looking into another angle. On the same day, and in the same village where the convoy of Governor Adiong was ambushed, authorities launched an anti-illegal drug operation where 25,000 hills of fully grown marijuana plants with a standard street value of P5 million were discovered, uprooted, and torched.

"Hindi natin madiscount, kasi magkalapit talaga very adjacent to each other, ‘yon ang isa sa mga tinitingnan nating anggulo at hindi natin pwede sabihin na isa lang ang tinututukan natin. There are different angles na tinitingnan natin so that we can come up with our assessment and motive ng mga nag-ambush sa governor and his convoy,” said Guyguyon.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong is now in stable condition after undergoing an operation on Friday night. A bullet hit the governor during the ambush. Also injured were one of his escorts and his driver.

However, his four escorts died in the attack, including three police officers.

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/19/23/bangsamoro-police-identifies-groups-responsible-for-ambush-of-lanao-del-sur-gov

NPA rebel slain in Eastern Samar clash – military

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 19, 2023): NPA rebel slain in Eastern Samar clash – military (By Martin Sadongdong)

An alleged New People’s Army (NPA) rebel died in an encounter with the military in Borongan, Eastern Samar on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Courtesy of 8th Infantry Division

Capt. Jefferson Mariano, chief of the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) public affairs office, said elements of the 78thInfantry Battalion (78IB) were conducting a pursuit operation against the NPA operating in the hinterlands of Barangay San Andres when they were met with gunfire around 11 a.m.

The troops retaliated and the exchange of fire resulted in the death of an unidentified communist rebel, Mariano said.


The operation was a follow-up to the clash between the 78IB and the NPA on Feb. 17 after the troops received a report from the villagers that there were armed men in Barangay San Andres.

During the two encounters, the troops recovered an M16 rifle, anti-personnel mine (APM), and assorted ammunition.

https://mb.com.ph/2023/02/19/npa-rebel-slain-in-eastern-samar-clash-military/

Scout Rangers deployed to hunt NPA in Northern Samar

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 19, 2023): Scout Rangers deployed to hunt NPA in Northern Samar (By Marie Tonette Marticio)

CATBALOGAN CITY – A company of elite Scout Rangers who saw in action in the Battle for Marawi in 2017 was deployed in Eastern Visayas to combat the New People’s Army.

These additional troops from the 4th Scout Ranger “Masigasig” Battalion (4SRBn) were deployed to the 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division (ID) last week.

The 21st Scout Ranger Company (SRC) troopers will be placed under the operational control of the Joint Task Force Storm to help in ending the insurgency in the region.

The 21st SRC, one of the elite forces in the AFP, will be deployed
in Northern Samar, one of the strongholds of the NPA in the region since they are best trained and suited for the task of ending the decades-long insurgency.

Before their transfer, the 21st SRC made significant accomplishments
against the NPA operating in Paquibato District in Davao City.


They also played a significant role in the four-month-long battle against the Islamic State-Maute Group in Marawi City.

Prior to their deployment to Eastern Visayas, the 21st SRC underwent training both locally and abroad to further enhance their capability to counter-insurgency operations.

Major Gen. Camilo Ligayo, 8th Infantry Division commander, said that the deployment of the 21st SRC in the region will be a game changer in the overall campaign of the 8th ID.

“Truly, it is an overwhelming feeling how the higher headquarters manifest their support to the division’s campaign by sending the elite forces to augment our troops deployed on this island.”

“With their vast experiences, I am confident that with these advantages, we will be victorious in this battle,” he added.

Despite the success in combat operations in their previous assignments, Ligayo urged the troops not to be complacent and remain vigilant since they will be confronting the NPA in this last bastion of insurgency.

“I trust that everyone remains mission-oriented and always respects human rights, adhere to the International Humanitarian Law and the rule of law as you proceed to your area of operations,” Ligayo said.

https://mb.com.ph/2023/02/19/scout-rangers-deployed-to-hunt-npa-in-northern-samar/

NPA rebels killed in South Cotabato raid

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Feb 20, 2023): NPA rebels killed in South Cotabato raid



ZAMBOANGA. Troops raid a New People’s Army (NPA) that resulted in the death of an NPA rebel on Saturday, February 18, 2023, in the hinterlands of South Cotabato province. A photo handout shows the remains of the slain NPA rebel, Martic Min Fay, wrapped in a blanket and taken to the town center of T’Boli, South Cotabato for proper disposition. (SunStar Zamboanga)

A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed when troops raided an NPA lair in the hinterlands of South Cotabato, the police reported Sunday, February 19, 2023.

Police Colonel Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, identified the slain NPA rebel as Martic Min Fay, who carries the aliases of Ka Diego and Ka Kidlat of the Guerrilla Front Musa of the NPA’s Far-South Mindanao Region.

Verceles said that Fay was killed when joined military troops raided his lair around 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Purok Alaw in Sitio Lambed, Laconon village, T’Boli, South Cotabato.

He said the raid was launched after Fay’s presence was ascertained in the NPA lair at Sitio Lambed in Laconon village.


Verceles said the troops transported the remains of Fay to the town center of T’Boli for proper disposition.

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1953890/zamboanga/local-news/npa-rebels-killed-in-south-cotabato-raid

Gov’t troops, rebels clash in Dumalag

From Panay News (Feb 20, 2023): Gov’t troops, rebels clash in Dumalag (By Glenda Tayona)


Recoveries at the clash site after an encounter between government troops and rebels in Dumalag, Capiz, on Feb. 17. PHILIPPINE ARMY SPEARHEAD TROOPERS

CAPIZ – Troops of the Philippine Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion (12IB) and the Philippine National Police clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the hinterlands of Barangay Duran, Dumalag, on Friday, Feb. 17.

The government troops received a tip-off from concerned residents about the rebels’ presence. A five-minute encounter transpired until the more or less five fully armed rebels withdrew.

The government troops saw traces of heavy bloodstains on the withdrawal route. Meantime, no casualties were reported on the government side.


Recovered at the clash site were one homemade 12 gauge shotgun, one .45 pistol, two anti-personnel mines with detonator switches, one hand grenade, five M16 rifle magazines, two .45 pistol magazines, assorted live ammunition, personal belongings, assorted medicine and subversive documents.

Lieutenant General Benedic M. Arevalo, Visayas Command and 3rd Infantry Division Commander, commended the troops for preventing the rebels’ alleged extortion activity and the recovery of war materials.

He also acknowledged the civilians’ coordination with the authorities.

“Their fervent desire for a CPP-NPA-free community drives us to employ legitimate military force against these rebels to stop them from threatening our people’s safety and well-being,” Arevalo said./PN

https://www.panaynews.net/govt-troops-rebels-clash-in-dumalag/

15 rebels surrender guns, explosive

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 20, 2023): 15 rebels surrender guns, explosive (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

More self-confessed New People’s Army rebels in central Negros have surrendered to the authorities and turned over guns and an explosive in Negros Oriental, as their former comrades, who earlier abandoned the armed struggle availed of livelihood assistance and opportunities, rejoined mainstream society.

Fifteen more rebels, members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Central Negros 2, under the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, surrendered to the Philippine Army and police on February 18, in Brgy. Tambo, Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

The former rebels also surrendered an M4 automatic assault rifle, two caliber .38 revolvers, a 12-gauge homemade shotgun, and a rifle grenade.


Their surrender resulted from the joint effort of the 94th Infantry Battalion, Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7, PNP Special Action Force, 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office.

The 15 former rebels confessed to the authorities of being tired and hungry, due to focused military operations launched against their group, and that their morale is low.

Their identities have been withheld for security reasons.

Meanwhile, twenty-five of their former comrades who surrendered earlier to the 94th Infantry Battalion in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, received P10,000 each from the Department of Social Welfare Development, through its Assistance to Individual in Crisis Situation.

A total of P250,000 financial assistance was received by former rebels, according to Capt. Eduardo Rarugal Jr., 94IB Civil Military Operations officer.

Eleven other former rebels and 14 Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) members completed their 45-day training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) National Certificate 1, as facilitated by 94IB, in partnership with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the local government of Ayungon in Negros Oriental.

Various local government agencies are working hand-in-hand thru the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) in providing various initiatives to deliver the different programs for the former rebels as they reintegrate into the community and be with their families to start their new normal lives, according to Rarugal.

https://visayandailystar.com/15-rebels-surrender-guns-explosive/

PLA Information Warfare and Military Diplomacy: A Primer on Modernization Trends

Posted to the Small Wars Journal (Feb 19, 2023): PLA Information Warfare and Military Diplomacy: A Primer on Modernization Trends (By Patrick Cunningham)

The opening remarks of the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) highlight the views held by many leaders within the United States on the current security environment: that “we are living in a decisive decade,” that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “remains our most consequential strategic competitor” for the foreseeable future, and that the PRC is the only country with both the intent and capacity to reshape the international order.[1] Underscoring these beliefs is the Department of Defense’s most current version of the “China Military Power Report” which asserts that the PRC seeks to harness all elements of national power to attain a “leading position” in strategic competition, “accelerate the integrated development of… informatization, and intelligentization” of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and cultivate an environment hospitable to the PRC’s strategic goals to create a “community of common destiny.”[2] Comparatively, the PRC’s “2019 Defense White Paper” emphasizes that the PLA is in “urgent need of improving its informationization” and that building a “Community with a Shared Future for Mankind” crucially supports the PRC’s “National Defense Policy in the New Era.”[3] Given these deliberate assessments from both U.S. and PRC perspectives, this paper seeks to examine the mutually reinforcing modernization of PLA information warfare and military diplomacy, the effects of these modernization initiatives on regional and global stability, and key weaknesses that the U.S. and partners can exploit.

PLA Information Warfare Modernization

Although the PLA has experienced various modernization efforts and reforms since its inception and especially from the 1970s onward, perhaps some of the most dramatic reforms to its structure, warfighting, and organizational culture occurred in 2015, when the PLA established the Strategic Support Force (PLASSF).[4] Combining space, cyber, electronic warfare (EW), and psychological operations (PSYOP) forces from across the PLA services and its former General Departments, the PLASSF was established as the PLA’s primary arm for the conduct of information warfare.[5] Although the PLA publicized the growing concept of information warfare in a series of Liberation Army Daily articles by “Senior Colonels” Wang Baocun and Li Fei in June of 1995, the predominant mentality was that forces would shrink due to advanced technology rather than reorganize to maximize information warfare capability.[6]

Prior to the creation of the PLASSF in 2015 and centralization of forces through PLA reform efforts, information warfare efforts were essentially disparate and located under separate organs of former PLA General Staff Departments.[7] In creating the PLASSF, the PLA took a remarkably practical approach towards information warfare by fusing operational elements responsible for airspace surveillance, satellite navigation control, and a variety of navigation, meteorological, and oceanographic space systems that comprised the Survey, Map, and Navigation Bureau from the PLA First Department; a myriad of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) analysts, collection managers from the PLA Second Department; cyber surveillance personnel and systems from the PLA Third Department, and the entirety of the former “Informatization” Department responsible for PRC command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4ISR) as well as some degree of science and technology contracting and development.[8] Members of the former General Political Department, specifically the 311 Base responsible for PLA PSYOP, was also consolidated from the former General Political Department and into the new Political Work Department of the PLASSF in order to unify cyber, EW, and psychological warfare capabilities.[9]

The emergence of the PLASSF in 2015 from an assortment of siloed PLA units and capabilities signaled a broader philosophical evolution of effects-based targeting methodology, as the core strategy behind PLASSF employment is to “paralyze the enemy’s operational system-of-systems,” sabotage adversarial mission command during the initial stages of conflict, and shape public opinion before, during, and after the conflict occurs.[10] Moreover, the founding of the PLASSF also reflected a domain-based shift in Chinese military thinking from seeking to dominate “land-based territorial defense” to instead maintaining “extended power projection” and “[protecting] Chinese interests in the strategic frontiers of space, cyberspace, and the far seas.”[11] Through these reforms, the PLASSF became the PRC’s conduit for joint information warfare and a means by which the PLA could overcome a militarily superior adversary.[12]

Following the consolidation of forces into the PLASSF, two primary departments were formed to serve as the nexus for information warfare: the Space Systems Department and the Network Systems department. Alongside the Staff, Political Work, Logistics, and Equipment Departments, these two primary arms actualize the PLASSF’s enduring mission of “securing information dominance by carrying out strategic, operational, and tactical [space, information, and] cyberspace operations” to “seize access to information, maintain decision making ad­vantage during joint operations, and ensure national network security,” as well as the PLASSF’s wartime mission of seizing and exploiting the “information domain to enable other PLA forces to achieve decision superiority” and coordinating information-related capabilities to capitalize on kinetic strikes.”[13] Together, the PLASSF Space Systems Department and the Network Systems Department enable a variety of operations across space, cyberspace, and within the information environment. Collectively, these two departments enable what the 2015 National Defense University version of the Science of Military Strategy refers to as “integrated reconnaissance, attack, and defense” in the space and cyber domains, marking a distinction in PLA thinking that operations in these domains are “operations in their own right” as opposed to merely supporting efforts to operations across land, air, or maritime domains.[14]

The PLASSF’s two departments also enable the execution of the PLA’s now ubiquitous “Three Warfares” – a PRC warfighting model that encourages the synchronization of psychological warfare, public opinion warfare, and legal warfare to gain an advantage over an adversary.[15] PRC Psychological Warfare “seeks to undermine an enemy’s ability to conduct combat operations” by deterring, shocking, demoralizing, or eliciting specific behaviors from adversary military personnel and supporting target audiences. Public opinion warfare seeks to mold domestic and international public perceptions towards the PRC’s military actions and dissuade adversaries from taking actions contrary to Beijing’s interests. Legal warfare employs international and domestic law to assert legal superiority and backing behind the PRCs operations, activities, and interests, build international consensus, and restrict non-Chinese freedom of movement in multiple domains.[16]

Broadly, the PRC and PLA have employed these three warfare methodologies to pursue and reinforce several key narratives across the Indo-Pacific: Chinese dominance is the historic norm and is inevitable, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s objectives are permanent and unchanging, the CCP and PLA cannot be deterred and will pay any price to achieve Beijing’s objectives, and that the U.S. is an increasingly weak, unpredictable, and unreliable ally.[17] In Singapore, the CCP has sought to influence many Singaporean elites to maintain open trade with China and at the very least remain “unopposed” towards China’s efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – ironically an organization that exists to advance a liberal, rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific.[18] In Thailand, China has endeavored to influence the public opinion of many decision-makers in order to gain opportunities to construct high-speed rail, proliferate Huawei’s 5G network, and sell comparatively cheaper military equipment, such as submarines, to the Thai military.[19] China’s state-media, diplomatic personnel, and business entities operating in the Solomon Islands – and across the South Pacific – employed each of the aforementioned narratives to elicit Belt and Road Initiative participation, diplomatic recognition of China over Taiwan, and encourage the denouncement of western ideals by political officials.[20] China has also launched an international and domestic influence campaign to label human rights violations and Uyghur genocide as “counterterrorism operations” and continues to bombard Taiwan with disinformation and a blend of psychological and public opinion warfare to encourage peaceful reunification with the mainland. Both of these attempts have largely failed, but the PRC’s deep-seated focus on eliminating internal threats and “Taiwanese separatists” continue to breathe life into these ineffective influence campaigns.[21]

PLA Military Diplomacy Modernization

PLA Military Diplomacy serves as another aspect of overarching PRC foreign policy efforts designed to forge a more favorable international image, develop soft power, mold international discourse, shape China’s security environment, and learn from advanced militaries.[22] Several PLA documents reinforce these key goals, stating that military diplomacy encompasses “personnel exchange, military negotiations, arms control negotiations, military aid, military intelligence [and technology] cooperation, international peacekeeping, military alliance activities” and is “an important component of a country’s foreign relations” and a “necessary part of national interest.”[23] PLA academics have also distinguished that the roles of military diplomacy differ in times of peace and war. During peacetime, military diplomacy “maintains and develops bilateral security relations,” assists in “handling international security issues… molds the [PRC’s] strategic environment… provides a platform to enhance international influence of the [PRC] and the [PLA]… and promotes national defense and military construction.”[24] Comparatively, during war the primary focus of military diplomacy is to “strengthen our alliances and weaken those of the enemy… win military aid and material support for combat… win international moral and legal support… provide a channel to end the war… and resolve post war problems.”[25] Interestingly, unlike the United States, the PLA does not view Building Partner Capacity (BPC) as a goal of military diplomacy, but rather an arm of foreign policy and an learning experience – strengthening bilateral relations and observing techniques of other militaries as opposed to improving interoperability between nations.[26]

“Military diplomacy” as “an official policy” first appeared in the 1998 defense white paper, and although some form of PLA military diplomacy had been occurring from 1949, some of the most well documented examples emerge from 2003 onward, coinciding with the first full year of the Hu Jintao era.[27] Despite China’s efforts to reform and “open up” in the late 1970s, the PLA lagged behind most other parts of the Chinese government in engaging other militaries – likely due to fear of revealing military weaknesses or an inability to match the standards of more advanced militaries.[28] Still, China did employ PLA troops in support of military diplomacy through United Nations Peace Keeping Operations (UNPKO) when it sent five military observers to the UN Truce Supervision Organization in 1990. Since then, China’s contributions to UNPKO have increased dramatically, with China having deployed over 27,000 PLA personnel across the globe in support of 23 UNPKOs.[29] From 2005 onward, PRC military diplomacy expanded to include Shanghai Cooperation Organization representatives that participated in exercises alongside Russia that included counterterrorism, air defense, and aerial refueling drills.[30]

Since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, PLA military diplomacy increased dramatically. Starting in 2013, PLA engagements with U.S. treaty allies in Asia skyrocketed and overall military exercises increased roughly 600% from 2013 to 2016. PLA military diplomacy increased most substantially in Army and Navy international military exercises focused on “Combat Support” activities such as engineering, communications, resupply, survival skills, and fleet navigation and maneuvers; “military operations other than war” which include PKO; and military competitions.[31] Since 2014, the PLA Army and Air Force have participated in multilateral military competitions hosted by Russia, which reflects a “growing confidence” that the PLA can “match international [military] standards.”[32] China scholars Kenneth Allen, Phillip Saunders, and John Chen assessed that from 2003-2006, 83 percent of PLA military diplomacy included “senior-level meetings,” or meetings that include Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairmen and CMC member-grade levels, that focused on constructing a “favorable security environment” to the PRC and “promoting common development.”[33] Since 2018, the PLA has continuously emphasized the roles of defense attach├ęs and the professional military education (PME) opportunities offered by China to foreign military officers.[34] An examination of PLA military diplomacy from 2003 onward highlights that these activities – collective training, PKOs, competitions, and education exchanges – reflect a growing PLA confidence in their capabilities and that they will not embarrass themselves and undergird the concept that “almost all military diplomatic activities support China’s overall diplomatic efforts.”[35]

Constraints and Weaknesses of PLA Information Warfare and Military Diplomacy

Taken together, PLA information warfare and military diplomacy are mutually reinforcing and symbiotic activities. Messaging efforts through legal, psychological, and public opinion means highlight historic and inevitable Chinese dominance, the undeterrable dedication of the CCP and PLA, and their respective benefits over the U.S. PLA military diplomacy often reinforces these narratives through physical actions and engagements, with many talking points of senior-level engagements aiming to match scripted word with deed.[36] Yet, despite Beijing’s growing effort to modernize information warfare and military diplomacy capabilities, they are not without weaknesses, constraints, and areas for exploitation.

PLA’s approach to information warfare suffers from several key weaknesses: bureaucratic infighting, cumbersome approval processes, centralized decision-making, and a seeming overconfidence in their own data-sensing capabilities. Together, these factors are a recipe for strategic miscalculation or disaster. The continued refinement and development of the PLASSF underscores the PLA’s increasing focus and prioritization of the space, cyber, and information domains, but Beijing’s increasing faith in the efficacy of their data and collection systems leaves them vulnerable to deception activities and disruption. Clandestinely degrading PLA collection mechanisms, employing deception to prompt misallocation of resources, executing influence activities to expose contradictions in Beijing’s information operations and or elicit PLA infighting, and disrupting PLA command and control are all possible means for the U.S., allies, and partners to exploit weaknesses in the PLA’s information warfare apparatus.

Regarding the PLA’s military diplomacy, several constraints and exploitation opportunities exist. Military diplomacy incurs an opportunity cost, both in terms of personnel time and monetary expenses.[37] The PLA also concentrates its military diplomacy in Asia, with a lesser but growing emphasis in the “global south.” PLA culture tends to prioritize “form over substance” and this manifests itself in terms both rigidity of personal interactions with partner forces and talking points, as well as fairly unmodifiable engagement schedules. All of these factors make it difficult to “build strong personal or institutional ties with foreign counterparts.”[38] U.S. engagement – whether through U.S. embassy diplomats, military attaches, or special operations forces charged with building partner capacity, can take advantage of the PLA’s lower maneuverability, higher opportunity costs, and lackluster interpersonal tact by doubling down on areas of strategic importance and taking every opportunity to build personal ties and deliver superior training or education.

Conclusion

Since the mid 1970’s, the PRC has sought to modernize their information warfare and military diplomacy efforts. Through a deliberate consolidation of forces and refinement of mission sets, the PLA established the PLASSF to serve as a dedicated information warfare force. More than simply a “support force” for the PLA Army, Navy, and Air Force, the PLASSF was purpose built to execute integrated space, cyber, and information operations. From a PLA military diplomacy standpoint, what began as PKO in the early 1990s transformed into a global initiative – although most concentrated in the Indo-Pacific region – to leverage military exercises, PKOs, competitions, and a variety of other engagements to extend Beijing’s foreign policy through military means. While PLA military diplomacy and information warfare serve as mutually reinforcing mechanisms to assist the PLA in winning “informatized,” and “intelligentized” local wars, they are not without weaknesses or constraints. U.S. policymakers would be wise to aggressively modernize their own military’s information warfare capabilities, capacity to operate in a contested space, cyberspace, and information environment, foster interoperable military partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific, and seek to influence and develop partner governments in the “global south.” The PRC may remain the U.S. pacing threat and most significant competitor for decades to come. Understanding and outmaneuvering our chief adversary is key to sustaining U.S. influence in an increasingly multipolar world.

Bibliography

Allen, Kenneth, Phillip C Saunders, and John Chen. Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016: Trends and Implications. Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2017.

Bastian, A. A. “China Is Stepping Up Its Information War on Taiwan.” Foreign Policy (blog). Accessed December 20, 2022. https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/02/china-pelosi-taiwan-information/.

Cai, Penghong. “ASEAN’s Defense Diplomacy and China’s Military Diplomacy.” Asia Policy, no. 22 (2016): 89–95. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24905114.

Campbell, Caitlin. “China’s Military: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” n.d.

“China’s Application of the ‘Three Warfares’ in the South China Sea and Xinjiang.” Orbis 63, no. 2 (2019): 187–208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orbis.2019.02.007.

Costello, John, and Joe McReynolds. China’s Strategic Support Force: A Force for a New Era. China Strategic Perspectives 13. Washington, D.C: National Defense University Press, 2018.

Lee, John. “Chinese Information and Influence Warfare in Asia and the Pacific.” Policy Memo. Washington, DC: Hudson Institute, September 2022.

Martin, Morgan. “China’s Three Information Warfares.” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 147, no. 3 (March 2021): 1417. https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2021/march/chinas-three-information-warfares.

Pollpeter, Kevin, and Ken Allen. PLA as Organization 2.0. Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL: China Aerospace Studies Institute, 2018. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1082742.pdf.

The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. China’s National Defense in the New Era. First Edition 2019. Beijing, China: Foreign Languages Press, 2019.

Jamestown. “The Strategic Support Force: China’s Information Warfare Service.” Accessed December 19, 2022. https://jamestown.org/program/the-strategic-support-force-chinas-information-warfare-service/.

U.S. Department of Defense. “2022 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America,” October 27, 2022. https://media.defense.gov/2022/Oct/27/2003103845/-1/-1/1/2022-NATIONAL-DEFENSE-STRATEGY-NPR-MDR.PDF.

———. “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China: 2022 Annual Report to Congress.” Annual. Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense, November 29, 2022. https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3230516/2022-report-on-military-and-security-developments-involving-the-peoples-republi/.

Wang, Baocun, and Fei Li. “Information Warfare.” Beijing, China: Academy of Military Science, June 13, 1995. https://irp.fas.org/world/china/docs/iw_wang.htm.

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FOOTNOTES

[1] U.S. Department of Defense, “2022 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America,” October 27, 2022, 3.

[2] U.S. Department of Defense, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China: 2022 Annual Report to Congress,” Annual (Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense, November 29, 2022), 1.

[3] The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, China’s National Defense in the New Era, First Edition 2019 (Beijing, China: Foreign Languages Press, 2019), 6–10.

[4] John Costello and Joe McReynolds, China’s Strategic Support Force: A Force for a New Era, China Strategic Perspectives 13 (Washington, D.C: National Defense University Press, 2018), 1.

[5] Costello and McReynolds, 1–5.

[6] Baocun Wang and Fei Li, “Information Warfare” (Beijing, China: Academy of Military Science, June 13, 1995), https://irp.fas.org/world/china/docs/iw_wang.htm.

[7] “The Strategic Support Force: China’s Information Warfare Service,” Jamestown, https://jamestown.org/ program/the-strategic-support-force-chinas-information-warfare-service/.

[8] Kevin Pollpeter and Ken Allen, PLA as Organization 2.0 (Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL: China Aerospace Studies Institute, 2018), 142–51, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1082742.pdf.

[9] Costello and McReynolds, China’s Strategic Support Force: A Force for a New Era, 10.

[10] Costello and McReynolds, 2.

[11] Costello and McReynolds, 1.

[12] Caitlin Campbell, “China’s Military: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” 40.

[13] Joel Wuthnow and National Defense University Press, eds., The PLA Beyond Borders: Chinese Military Operations in Regional and Global Context (Washington, D.C: National Defense University Press, 2021), 154.

[14] Costello and McReynolds, China’s Strategic Support Force: A Force for a New Era, 12.

[15] Costello and McReynolds, 10.

[16] Morgan Martin, “China’s Three Information Warfares,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol 147, no. 3 (March 2021): 1417, https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2021/march/chinas-three-information-warfares.

[17] John Lee, “Chinese Information and Influence Warfare in Asia and the Pacific,” Policy Memo (Washington, DC: Hudson Institute, September 2022), 6.

[18] Lee, 9.

[19] Lee, 9–10.

[20] Lee, 12–13.

[21] A. A. Bastian, “China Is Stepping Up Its Information War on Taiwan,” Foreign Policy, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/08/02/china-pelosi-taiwan-information/; “China’s Application of the ‘Three Warfares’ in the South China Sea and Xinjiang,” Orbis 63, no. 2 (2019): 199–207, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orbis.2019.02.007.

[22] Allen, Kenneth, Phillip C Saunders, and John Chen, Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016: Trends and Implications (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2017), 1.

[23] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 8.

[24] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 8.

[25] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 8.

[26] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 11.

[27] Penghong Cai, “ASEAN’s Defense Diplomacy and China’s Military Diplomacy,” Asia Policy, no. 22 (2016): 91, https://www.jstor.org/stable/24905114; Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016: Trends and Implications, 67.

[28] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016: Trends and Implications, 22.

[29] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 41.

[30] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 11.

[31] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 31–33.

[32] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 3.

[33] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 12.

[34] U.S. Department of Defense, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China: 2022 Annual Report to Congress,” 164.

[35] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003-2016: Trends and Implications, 58.

[36] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 60.

[37] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 13.

[38] Allen, Kenneth, Saunders, and Chen, 4.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/pla-information-warfare-and-military-diplomacy-primer-modernization-trends

Military deploys 2 more battalions to fight NPA in Eastern Samar

From Malaya Business Insight (Feb 20, 2023): Military deploys 2 more battalions to fight NPA in Eastern Samar (By Victor Reyes)

THE military has deployed two Army battalions to Eastern Visayas to augment 12 battalions involved in the fight against the New People’s Army in the region.

Capt. Jefferson Mariano, spokesman of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Samar, said the 74th and 42nd infantry battalions (IB), with around 500 men each, are due to arrive in the province today.

“There are two battalions that are going to be placed under our operational control,” Mariano said of the 74th IB which is coming from Zamboanga City and the 42nd from Bicol.

Last Friday, the elite 4th Scout Ranger Company also arrived in Samar to “help increase the operational tempo” in the military’s bid to end NPA presence in Eastern Visayas. The company was previously assigned in Davao City.

“With the two additional battalions, we will be having 14 infantry battalions under the joint Task Force Storm or 8th Infantry Battalion,” Mariano said, adding they are optimistic the additional personnel will lead to the defeat of the NPA in the region.


“With the (scheduled arrival of the two battalions and the arrival of one Scout Ranger company, hopefully within this year we can finish the insurgency problem in our area,” said Mariano.

He did not say how many NPA rebels are operating in the region. “Out of the five active guerrilla fronts in the country, four are in the Samar provinces,” Mariano said.

Meanwhile, an NPA rebel was killed after two encounters with troops from the 78th IB in Borongan City in Eastern Samar, said Mariano.

Mariano said troops were sent to Barangay San Andres after they received information from a concerned citizen about the presence of NPA rebels in the area.

Soldiers clashed with nine NPA rebels last Friday morning, leading to the recovery of an M16 rifle and a backpack.

Pursuing troops again clashed with the fleeing rebels, resulting in the death of one of the rebels and the recovery of an anti-personnel mine and assorted ammunition.


https://malaya.com.ph/news_news/military-deploys-2-more-battalions-to-fight-npa-in-eastern-samar/

15 ‘rebels’ surrender in Negros Oriental

From the Philippine Star (Feb 20, 2023): 15 ‘rebels’ surrender in Negros Oriental (By Gilbert Bayoran)

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Fifteen alleged New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas surrendered to authorities in Ayungon, Negros Oriental on Saturday.

The surrenderees, who claimed to be members of the NPA’s Sentro de Grabidad Platoon-Negros Front 2, turned over a shotgun, two rifles and two handguns to a joint team of the po-lice and military in Barangay Tambo.


The rebels told officials of the the Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB), provincial police and the Special Action Force that they were fed up living in the mountains due to the intensified operations of the military.

Meanwhile, 25 former rebels who earlier returned to the fold of the law in Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, have received P10,000 each from the Department of Social Welfare and De-velopment, according to Capt. Eduardo Rarugal Jr., chief of the 94IB civil-military operations office.

Rarugal said the amount would be used to start a small business of the surrenderees as they wait for their benefits to be processed under the enhanced comprehensive local integra-tion program.

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2023/02/20/2246179/15-rebels-surrender-negros-oriental-

Opinion: Punto mo//Kapatid ng financier ng ISIS, timbog sa failed bombing try!

Opinion piece posted to the Philippine Star (Feb 20, 2023): Punto mo//Kapatid ng financier ng ISIS, timbog sa failed bombing try! (Your point//ISIS financier's brother, accused of failed bombing attempt!) (DIPUGA - Non Alquitran - Pang-masa) 

NAPURNADA ang plano ng teroristang Abu Sayyaf na magsagawa ng bombing operation sa Zamboanga City matapos masakote ng mga ahensiya ng gobyerno ang isa nilang mi­yembro, na umano’y kapatid ng financier ng ISIS o Al-Qaida.

Ayon kay ret. Maj. Gen. Gilbert Cruz, Executive Director ng Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) ang tropa nii Jomar Mohammad ay nagtangkang magpasabog ng bomba bilang diversion sa plano nilang itakas ang kanilang nakakulong na kasamahan. Sa kasamaang palad, nakatakas si Mohammad subalit nakorner naman ang kasamahan n’yang si Omar Mabanza. Hehehe! Mabuti’t di “nanlaban”, di ba mga kosa?

Personal na pinangasiwaan ni Cruz ang mga tauhan nina PRO12 director Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg at Col. Alexander Lorenzo, ng 74th IB ng Philippine Army para mahuli si Mabanza. Ayon kay Cruz, si Mabanza ay kapatid ni Myrna Ajijul Mabanza na wanted ng UN Security Council at US Department of Treasury dahil sangkot ito sa “financing, planning, facilitating, preparing o perpetrating acts of activities,” ng Islamic State, Levant (ISIL) o Al-Qaida sa Iraq. Abayyyyyy, “big fish” pala itong nadale ng tropa nina Cruz, Macaraeg at Lorenzo, ‘no mga kosa? Hehehe!

Nabawasan na naman ang mga terorista na nagpapasakit ng ulo ng gobyerno ng Pinas, di ba mga kosa? Dipugaaaaa! Kailangan pa bang i-memorize ‘yan?

Hindi masabi ni Cruz kung saan galing ang intelligence report nila sa bombing run ng Abu Sayyaf sa pangambang masira ang follow up operation nila na ang target ay mas malaki pa kay Mabanza. Subalit iginiit niya na na-monitor nila ang tropa ni Mohammad na dumating sa Bgy. Calabasa sa Zamboanga City para magsagawa ng bombing run. Kaya lang, hindi naaktuhan ng tropa ng gobyerno si Mohammad subalit nakorner naman si Mabanza, na malaking isda pala, sa operation na inilunsad sa Sitio Sapa Dulian, Bgy. Calabasa.

Ayon pa kay Cruz, ang bombing run ng teroristang Abu Sayyaf ay diversionary tactics lamang para i-rescue ang kanilang high-profile leaders na sina Abu Sari at Sahid Alip na kasalukuyang nakakulong sa San Ramon Penal Colony. Dipugaaaaa! Hehehe! Imbes na mabawasan ang problema ng militar at pulisya ay madagdagan pa sana kung nagtagumpay ang rescue plan ng tropa ni Mabanza. Mismooooo!

Nakuha sa posisyon ni Mabanza ang mga sangkap ng bomba na time fuse, detonating cord, blasting cap, tin can na naglalaman ng explosive, concrete nail size 4, 14 pieces UT scrap metal, improvised mechanical time fuse, 9 bolt Everyday battery, battery snap color blue, 8 pieces 7.6mm (link), isang container at leather bag.

Pinuri ni Cruz ang 84th at 85th SAC, RDB at 55th SAC, ng Special Action Force; 1st ZCMFC, 2nd ZCFMC, SIU, CIU, CECU9, PCTC, PS2, ZCPO, TFZ at 74th IB, City director ng Zamboanga City, at Zamboanga City Police Office sa matagumpay ng operation na walang nasugatan man lang sa kanila. Eh di wow!

Hehehe! Kapag natulong-tulong talaga ang militar at pulisya may magandang resulta talaga, di ba mga kosa? Abangan!

https://www.philstar.com/pang-masa/punto-mo/2023/02/20/2246211/kapatid-ng-financier-ng-isis-timbog-sa-failed-bombing-try