By Barbara Starr
Jordan has asked the United States to keep a Patriot missile battery there after an upcoming military exercise as part of a U.S.-backed effort to bolster Jordanian military defenses.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Jordan made the request but that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had "not fully reviewed it."
Warren said Hagel would look at it when he returns to Washington from a NATO summit on Wednesday night.
The United States also has decided to deploy F-16s to Jordan, but it's not clear if a similar request will be made to keep those fighter jets in place.
The decision to deploy a Patriot battery and F-16s was made Friday at a meeting of military and civilian Defense Department officials as a means of bolstering U.S. military support for a key Middle East ally with violence from the Syrian civil war spreading, according to a senior U.S. official.
The official declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Hagel has been traveling outside the United States and it could not be learned if he attended via teleconference, although several officials tell CNN that he was aware of the discussions and approved the deployment.
The goal is to demonstrate American military support for an increasingly fragile Jordan, which is bearing the burden of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and a growing potential threat from extremist elements, including an al Qaeda affiliate, operating in Syria.
The weapons systems will be sent as part of a planned multinational military training exercise, Eager Lion, this month, but with an understanding they may stay in the country to bolster security.
But there is clearly a broader message being sent, according to U.S. military officials.
"In order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity of Jordan, some of these assets may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the government of Jordan," Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor, a spokesman at the U.S. Central Command, told CNN.
The Patriot missiles were originally expected to be sent from their base at Fort Bliss, Texas, but the senior official said they may simply be re-deployed from Patriots already in the Middle East.
Jordan does not face a SCUD missile threat from Syria, but it comes at a time when concern is growing that some Syrian missiles are being shipped to Hezbollah and could be used to attack targets across the region.
In recent days, violence has spread to Lebanon and Israel has increased security along its northern border.
The F-16s and air crews will train with Jordanian combat air forces at a time when there is growing pressure from some in Congress for the White House to support a Syrian "no fly" zone.
Separately from the exercise, the United States is sending 200 military planners from the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss to Jordan to assist in long term planning with Jordanian forces if a chemical weapons crisis erupts, or if a wide scale humanitarian relief mission is ordered.