United States Gearing Up For Largest-Scale Military Drills On Record

Due to growing tension in China, the United States is gearing up for its largest military drill to date in the Philippines, with a combined total of over 17,000 soldiers participating.

By Brian Scheid | Published

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The United States and the Philippines are set to participate in the largest military drills on record in the month of April. Both countries combined will have 17,600 soldiers that will be completing the military drills during the exercise. This year “Balikatan” also known as shoulder-to-shoulder drills will take place across a few different provinces in the Philippines.

According to Reuters, quoting Col. Michael Logico, director of the Philippine training exercise, “This is officially the largest Balikatan exercise.” Previous to these military drills becoming the largest ever undertaken the prior record was set back in 2015 with more than 11,000 troops participating. With such a large-scale drill being planned other countries are taking notice.

Tensions between the United States and China have increased over the last few months. This is due to a few different issues which include the US discussing TikTok bans, the Chinese supposed errant weather/spy balloon, and Philippean President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s decision last month to expand the United States access to his country’s military bases.  The latter, China has claimed undermines regional stability and poses an imminent risk to their country’s security.

Col. Logico commented on that concern by saying, “We have the absolute, inalienable right to defend our territory. We are here to show that we are combat-ready.” The other major concern China has about the exercises is that one of the provinces that they will be located in is the province of Palawan which is near the South China Sea. These military drills will include the first-ever, “live fire exercises into the water.” Whether this is a show of force by the United States or just simply a military exercise to continue to keep our forces sharp if they see action in the near future remains to be seen.

Australia which recently was in the news cycle for their purchase of five nuclear-powered submarines from the United States is also getting in on the drills. They are sending 111 soldiers from their national defense force to participate as well. Even though they will be limited to smaller land-based military drills. Nonetheless, the announcement this past Monday that the Biden Administration reach an agreement to sell Australia nuclear-powered submarines has added tension to the strained relationship between China and the United States.

Many of us wonder where the breaking point lies before the inevitable confrontation between these two superpowers erupts potentially into a full-scale war. As most of us hope for cooler heads to prevail here and some kind of understanding needs to be reached between the two countries because the other option could be devastating to the existence of mankind.  These military drills are coming on the backdrop of the Philippines’ contention that Chinese actions in the South China Sea have been aggressive and if nothing else comes of this they want China to know they will not lay down to any encouragement of their territory.  

The general consensus of American’s hopes that the military drills go off smoothly and China doesn’t instigate anything while they are occurring. The last thing our country needs right now is for something to provoke the Chinese into an attack which would then result in that dreaded all-out war. We have enough concerns considering the state of the country’s economy, even though wars have always been able to produce solid economic results, but that is certainly not a reason to provoke an enemy into a war.