THE NEW U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) Commander ADM Scott H. Swift visited the Philippines July 16-19. The trip focused on affirming the U.S.’s long-standing alliance with Philippines and its commitment to security in the Asia-Pacific region.
During the three-day visit, ADM Swift, who assumed command of the Pacific Fleet in May, engaged with both U.S. and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leaders including U.S. Ambassador Phillip Goldberg and AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri. His trip also included a media engagement, observation of a routine P-8 flight, a wreath laying ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial and a plaque exchange with AFP leadership.
At the media engagement, he commended Philippine efforts to hold military readiness exercises with U.S. allies like Japan, which held search and rescue drills for the first time with the Philippine Navy last month. ADM Swift also disclosed that he was “very interested” in expanding annual U.S. Navy-AFP combat exercises into multilateral engagements with other partner-nations.
“It is important that the approach be a multilateral approach, not a bilateral one,” he said. “These problems are common to many countries, not just one.”
The U.S. PACFLT, headquartered in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is regarded as the world’s largest naval headquarters, with about 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,100 aircraft and more than 140,000 sailors and civilians.