Rocky or Rock Solid? The U.S.-Philippine Military Relationship

in Program

By Rachel Stohl and Max Estevao:

The June 2016 election of Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines has generated surprising new hostilities between the island nation and its former colonizer-turned-ally, the United States. Between insulting President Obama’s mother and calling for the departure of American troops from Mindanao, Duterte seems to be advocating a radical departure from nearly 70 years of U.S.-Philippines cooperation following the 1947 Military Base Agreement and subsequent Mutual Defense Treaty. Such a departure could hold implications for what have been relatively strong security assistance relations between the United States and the Philippines.

The Philippines has struggled with domestic terrorism for decades and the September 11th attacks against the United States catalyzed further cooperation between the United States and the Philippines not seen since World War II. Insurgent radical groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf motivated former President Bush to sign a $95 million military aid deal with then-Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to combat global terrorism. This cooperation deepened and evolved when Obama became president, as a result of increased tensions in the South China Sea and Washington’s proposed “Pivot to Asia.” Under Philippine President Benigno Aquino, the United States and the Philippines reached new levels of cooperation under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement

Thus, Duterte’s departure from the cooperative motivations of previous administrations is even starker. It is likely that Duterte’s anti-U.S. attitude reflects his domestic priorities, forged in the tumultuous city of Davao where he served as mayor before assuming the presidency. To consolidate authority over an economically and ethnically fractured state, Duterte appears to be looking inward for political support, while demonizing the United States for its colonial legacy of brutality in the 1899 Philippine-American War. Duterte is also conducting a brutal and unapologetic drug war and downplaying territorial tensions with China, thereby undermining U.S. priorities in the region.

Since 2001, the United States has authorized over $570 million in security assistance and more than $2 billion in arms sales to the Philippines. This is in addition to assistance provided in support of joint special operations, including more than $100 million in Section 1206 assistance provided between 2006 and 2012 alone. The graph and table below illustrate United States military assistance to the Philippines from five major military assistance programs – International Military Education and Training (IMET), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), Foreign Military Sales (FMS), and Excess Defense Articles (EDA) – since 2001. The Philippines also receives additional military assistance through other accounts administered by a number of U.S. government agencies, including the Departments of State, Defense, and Combatant Commands.

Though the current friction raises some questions about near-term relations between the United States and the Philippines, it does not necessarily spell the end of the defense cooperation relationship between the two long-standing allies, or even the end of American strategic interest in the Philippines. The country is a major non-NATO ally, and Philippine officials insist the relationship remains “rock solid.” The United States has a long history of providing security assistance to the Philippines and will need to decide if it will react to Duterte’s policies and rhetoric by restricting future assistance. 

United States Military Aid to the Philippines







FY 2001

Agreements: $6,018,000
Deliveries: $18,789,000



Authorizations: $65,936,900


FY 2002

Agreements: $14,083,000
Deliveries: $22,116,000



Authorizations: $22,304,327


FY 2003

Agreements: $36,265,000
Deliveries: $25,317,000



Authorizations: $5,920,844
Categories: I,III,VIII,X,XI,XIII


FY 2004

Agreements: $39,697,000
Deliveries: $28,239,000



Authorizations: $40,158,873


FY 2005

Agreements: $40,468,000
Deliveries: $33,952,000



Authorizations: $45,717,143


FY 2006

Agreements: $30,027,000
Deliveries: $25,620,000



Authorizations: $21,024,883


FY 2007

Agreements: $110,539,000



Authorizations: $20,829,347


FY 2008

Agreements: $50,674,000
Deliveries: $84,658,000



Authorizations: $110,471,646


FY 2009

Agreements: $42,305,000
Deliveries: $69,968,000



Authorizations: $149,207,093
Deliveries: $7,875,675


FY 2010

Agreements: $22,454,000
Deliveries: $37,058,000



Authorizations: $400,611,481
Deliveries: $22,496,997


FY 2011

Agreements: $48,111,000
Deliveries: $27,255,000



Authorizations: $222,408,657
Deliveries: $10,053,452


FY 2012

Agreements: $43,349,000
Deliveries: $25,744,000



Authorizations: $88,300,227
Deliveries: $15,749,734


FY 2013

Agreements: $21,118,000
Deliveries: $22,767,000



Authorizations: $55,372,778
Deliveries: $17,444,320
Categories: I,I(a), I(h),III,IV,VII,VIII,X,XI,XII,XIII


FY 2014

Agreements: $51,820,000
Deliveries: $20,420,000



Authorizations: $67,136,745
Deliveries: $32,662,944
Categories: I,I(a),I(h),II,III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,XI,XII


FY 2015

Agreements: $98,263,000
Deliveries: $76,301,000



Authorizations: $157,775,742
Deliveries: $72,379,554



Agreements: $655,191,000
Deliveries: $537,241,000



Authorizations: $1,473,176,686
Deliveries: $178,662,676


United States Munitions List Categories:

Category I: Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns

Category II: Guns and Armament

Category III: Ammunition/Ordnance

Category IV: Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, Mines

Category V: Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants

Category VI: Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment

Category VII: Tanks and Military Vehicles

Category VIII: Aircraft and Associated Equipment

Category IX: Military Training Equipment and Training

Category X: Protective Personnel Equipment and Shelters

Category XI: Military Electronics

Category XII: Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance and Control Equipment

Category XIII: Auxiliary Military Equipment

Category XIV: Toxicological Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological and Associated Equipment

Category XV: Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment

Category X: Submersible Vessels, Oceanographic and Associated Equipment

Category XXI: Miscellaneous Articles

**EDA by Year

2001-Magazine Cartridges; Rifles; Cargo Aircraft

2003-Uh-1h Helicopter

2004-Cargo Truck; Non-Sme Uh 1h Synthetic Flight Trainer System; Non-Sme Aircraft Bench Stock Items & Consumables

2005-Trailer, Guided Missile; Hawk Guided Missile Loading & Storage Pallet; Helicopter

2006-Medical/Dental Equipment; Clothing/Textiles/Individual Equipment; Office Furniture; Electronic Equipment; Adp Equipment; Office Machines; Tool Kits And Sets

2008-Small Craft and Pontoons

2009-Trucks, 5 Ton All Types; Truck, 2.5t; Clothing, Textiles, And Individual Equipment; Trucks, Van

2011-Adp Equipment, Prefabricated Tanks, Structures And Scaffolding; Medical/Dental Equipment; Electronic Equipment & Components; Furniture; Textiles, Clothing & Individual Equipment; Office Machines & Supplies; Maint/Repair Shop Equip; Materials Handling Equipment & Trailers; Vehicular Equipment And Components; Cgc Hamilton, High Endurance Cutter; Water Purification Equip/Supplies

2012-Tank, M113a2, Armored Personnel Carrier; Uscg High Endurance Cutter, Dallas; Outfit/Equipment For Uscgc Dallas; M113a2 Armored Personnel Carrier

2014-Machine Gun, 7.62, M60; C-23b Sherpa, Airplane, Cargo Transport; Truck Cargo D/S M923; Truck Cargo 5t M923a1;Cargo Truck, 5 Ton; Truck, Tractor, Light Equip

2015-Outfit and Equipment, Uscgc Boutwell; Whec 719, High Endurance Cutter; U.S. Oceanographic Research Vessel Melville


1206 Funding:

Direct Commercial Sales Reports:  

Excess Defense Articles (EDA) 2006-2015 :

EDA 2005:

EDA 2004:

EDA 2003:

EDA 2002:

EDA 2001:

Foreign Military Financing (FMF):

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) DSCA Historical Facts Book 2015:  

International Military Education & Training (IMET)


2008 Actual:

2009 Actual:   

2010 Actual:

2011 Actual:

2012 Actual:   

2013 Actual:

2014 Actual:

2015 Actual:

Photo credit: U.S. Government Work via Flickr

Rachel Stohl is a Senior Associate and Director of the Conventional Defense program. Max Estevao is a research intern for the Managing Across Boundaries initiative.

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