Jordan-US military training programme fosters partnership

By Noor al-Saleh and Mohammed Ghazal in Amman


Jordanian security forces stand guard outside a military court as members of a cell accused of involvement in a shooting attack in 2016 go on trial at the military State Security Court in Amman on November 13th, 2018. [Khalil Mazraawi/AFP]

Jordanian soldiers participating in counter-terrorism training conducted as part of the US military's Jordan Operational Engagement Programme (JOEP) have developed their skills and strengthened the US-Jordanian partnership.

The intensive 10-week training programme helps Jordanian soldiers improve their ability to defend the kingdom against threats from violent extremist organisations and enhance regional security.

It is sponsored by the Counter-terrorism Partnerships Fund, through which the US provides support and assistance to foreign security forces to conduct, support, or facilitate counter-terrorism and crisis response activities.

In addition to providing training to build the professionalism and expertise of the Jordanian armed forces, the JOEP also furnishes them with military equipment.

The military training programme is just one facet of the longstanding and ongoing economic and military partnership between Jordan and the US.

The US considers Jordan a reliable strategic partner, and supports the kingdom on several fronts, particularly in its fight against terrorism and through strengthening regional and local security.

It also supports the kingdom in its efforts to determine its economic future, and has provided humanitarian funding to assist refugees and host communities.

Long history of partnership

The partnership between the two countries has a long history, and is being strengthened via the JOEP, Special Communications Commission director Brig. Gen. Hisham Khreisat told Al-Mashareq.

Since the 1950s, the US has provided more than $20 billion in economic and military assistance to the kingdom, he said.

"With the exception of the armoured weaponry of the [Jordanian] Arab Army, Jordan’s weaponry is all US-made, and this of course includes ammunition, and more importantly maintenance and sustainability," he said.

"In addition, the combat and tactical doctrine of the Jordanian army is a combat doctrine that is rooted in the Western school, led by the US," he said.

US assistance to the Jordanian armed forces "comes in the form of training of officers and personnel of the Jordanian armed forces at US military institutions of ground, naval, air and intelligence forces", he said.

It also includes training on Jordanian soil, he added.

Jordan is a strong, strategic and effective partner in the global fight against terrorism, Khreisat said.

Its armed forces include counter-terrorism units such as the 71st Counter-terrorism Battalion and 101st Special Forces Battalion, he said.

These forces have conducted counter-terrorism operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan alongside the US 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 82nd Airborne Division, Delta Force and Navy SEALs, he noted.

Together, these forces have achieved a resounding success in eliminating numerous leaders of al-Qaeda and the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

Exchange of expertise

"The Jordan Operational Engagement Programme is critical for the co-operation between the US and Jordan in the military field," said Maj. Gen. Adib Sarayrah, who is retired from the Jordanian military.

The programme plays a major role in providing "an opportunity to share experiences and enhance the individual skills of personnel on both sides", he told Al-Mashareq.

The military exercises and training programmes held by the two countries play a key role in enhancing co-operation and maximizing the benefit derived from shared expertise, he said.

"The programme is not only useful to Jordan, but to both countries, as US forces exchange expertise with the Jordanian side and benefit from Jordan's experiences," he said.

Soldiers participating in the programme are able to enhance many of their skills, he said, also stressing "the importance of Jordan-US strategic co-operation in combating terrorism".

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