US Military Forces Return to Philippines In 10-Year Deal

KUALA LUMPUR - The U.S. has reached an agreement with the Philippines for an expanded American military presence, more than 20 years after forces stationed at bases there were pushed out.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes announced the 10-year deal - an Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement - in a briefing with reporters today. He said the arrangement serves the national interest and underscores a "historic commitment to the Pacific."

When it is signed ahead of President Obama's arrival in Manila on Monday, it will broaden U.S. access to bases in the Philippines on a rotational, temporary basis, officials said. The deal will allow the Pentagon to move fighter jets and ships in the area, making the U.S. a more present and capable partner in the region.

The officials would not specify the exact numbers of troops or where or when they will arrive in the Philippines, saying those details are still under discussion.

U.S. service members are broadly expected to conduct joint exercises with the armed forces of the Philippines, ranging from disaster response, maritime security, transnational crime and tracking and containing weapons of mass destruction.