Defense Secretary Ash Carter said recent comments by the Philippine President comparing himself positively to Adolf Hitler are “deeply troubling,” however the US will still focus on maintaining a strong partnership with that country. Speaking during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations informal meeting Sept. 30 in Hawaii, Carter said the recent comments by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, including others focused on ending joint exercises with the US, were not discussed at the ASEAN meetings. However, he said he had a “very positive” meeting with Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana were “very good” focused on continuing ongoing operations. Duterte on Sept. 30 said he would be happy to slaughter three million drug addicts in his country, and compared that to Hitler’s genocide in World War II. The alliance between the two countries has “been in existence and served the interests of our nations for many years now,” he said. The US military, especially USAF, has deep ties to the Philippines. Last week, two C-130s and 120 airmen from Yokota AB, Japan, deployed to the country as part of the military’s ongoing air contingent to the Philippines.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.