The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has renamed key positions and added a new designation for the military chief as part of efforts to make the institution "more responsive to current and future non-conventional threats," a military spokesperson said on Monday, July 13.
The AFP chief of staff is the concurrent Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, according to a June 19 memorandum signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana also directed the renaming of positions in the AFP general headquarters and the major service commands – the Army, Air Force, and Navy. The changes are now in effect.
Lorenzana's memorandum also mentioned a collective body known as the AFP Joint Chiefs composed of the following:
The AFP Joint Chiefs will advise the President as the Commander-in-Chief, and the defense chief on military concerns as well as the strategic direction of the AFP, among others, Lorenzana said in the memo.
Before he retires in August, incumbent AFP chief of staff General Felimon Santos Jr will also function as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
"Basically, the purpose of the designation and the renaming of key positions of the AFP is for effective command, control, and supervision by the chief of staff of the AFP who is also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs," said AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo.
Rappler learned that the memorandum indicated that the military chief's additional designation and the renaming of the AFP positions are part of the Department of National Defense's intention "to instill the culture of jointness within the AFP and strictly implement the 'force provider-force employer' concept between the Major Services and the Unified Commands."
Who are the military's force providers? The Army, Air Force, and Navy are the force providers. They will send battalions, ships, planes, and other military materiel needed to carry out military campaign plans in the field. The service commands are also in charge of modernization, recruitment, and training of soldiers, and carrying out administrative functions.
Who are the military's force employers? The unified commands are the AFP's force employers. Led by the area commanders, they are the ones that put campaign plans together and operationalize them to defeat enemies of the state. The AFP's area commands are the following:
The military's overall campaign plan is supervised and undertaken by the AFP chief of staff.
Arevalo explained the dual roles of the military chief this way:
Chester Cabalza, president of the newly formed think tank International Development and Security Cooperation, said that these new designations are part of the AFP's paradigm shift, responding to the gaps in the joint operation of the different service commands.
"But however and whatever way you call it, the AFP must first fix its cultural organization structure. It's just like the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) where the name was changed but the old issues and practices remain," Cabalza told Rappler. – Rappler.com